Tag: classroom assessment

Assessment Literacy – Information for Teachers Interested in Issues of Language Assessment

Assessment procedures should be used to achieve three main purposes:

  1. Providing end-of-term grading or certification (summative evaluation)
  2. Providing information on the learner’s strengths and weaknesses (formative evaluation)
  3. Helping the teacher and/or learner to plan further work (integrative evaluation)

When assessing learning outcomes, the teacher should be concerned with four main decisions. These decisions relate to the following broad four questions:

  1. What to assess,
  2. When to assess,
  3. How to assess and
  4. How to use the information provided by the assessment process to support learning and to improve one’s own teaching.

Teachers can use tests and examinations to be aware of:

  • The learner’s competence or performance,
  • The student’s knowledge of culture of the native speaker of the language,
  • The ability to use language in realistic contexts.

When designing tests, teachers need to consider:

  • How valid the test is in terms of the aims and objectives of language learning,
  • How reliable the test is in terms of the grading procedures,
  • How practical the test is in terms of designing and administering it.

Ongoing assessment in the classroom is a must to provide a continuous picture of the learner’s ongoing progress and should be used both by the teacher and the learner. There are some important points the teacher should take into account when designing assessment tasks in the classroom. They are as follows:

  • Assessment procedures should be valid and appropriate to learning aims and objectives.
  • In-class activities should be used to monitor and assess learners’ participation and performance.
  • Assessment tasks should aim mainly at identifying strengths and areas for improvement in the learner’s performance.
  • There should be some assessment procedures to assess the learner’s ability to work independently and collaboratively.
  • The process and results of assessment should give helpful information for planning teaching and learning for individuals and groups.
  • Assessment of the learner’s performance and learning progress should be in the form of descriptive evaluation, which should be transparent and comprehensible to the learner, parents and others.
  • Reports, checklists, grades etc. can be used to chart and monitor the learner’s progress.
  • Assessment scales and a valid institutional/national/international grading system should be used in assessing the learner’s performance. Grades assigned for tests and examinations should use reliable and transparent procedures.

When assessing the learner’s language performance, the teacher should assess the learner’s ability to:

  • produce a spoken text according to criteria such as content, range, accuracy, fluency, appropriateness of usage, etc.
  • produce a written text according to criteria such as content, range, accuracy, cohesion and coherence, etc.
  • understand and interpret a spoken text such as listening for gist, specific or detailed information, implication, etc.
  • understand and interpret a written text such as reading for gist, specific or detailed information, implication, etc.
  • engage in spoken interaction according to criteria such as content, range, accuracy, fluency and conversational strategies.
  • engage in written interaction according to criteria such as content, range, accuracy and appropriateness of response, etc.

When assessing the learner’s awareness of language culture, the teacher should assess the learner’s:

  • knowledge of cultural facts, events etc. of the target language communities.
  • ability to make comparisons between their own and the culture of target language communities.
  • ability to respond and act appropriately in encounters with the target language culture.

When learners make common errors during assessment tasks, the teacher should:

  • analyze these errors and identify the processes that may cause them.
  • provide constructive feedback to learners concerning their errors.
  • deal with errors that occur in class in a way which supports learning processes and communication.
  • deal with errors that occur in spoken and written language in ways which support learning processes and do not undermine confidence and communication.

Consider Six Main Points in your Assessment

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Before writing any examination questions or designing assessment exercises, you should keep in mind the following six points:

  1. Provide your students with the opportunity to show to what extent they have achieved the outcomes of learning of the whole syllabus or the lesson at hand. Accordingly, your assessment should differentiate between those who have already learned and those who need revision or more practice.
  1. Focus only on the most important aspects of the course and the objectives that you set for each lesson or unit, rather than other details.
  1. Provide feedback on performance as soon as possible so that students may improve themselves. Remember that the main aim of assessment is that students are able to learn through the process of assessment and view assessment as part of their learning process.
  1. Provide a means of encouragement by giving students the chance to see and sense their success and progress. It builds and increases their self-confidence as achievers.
  1. Design clear assessment criteria and marking guidance that allow differentiation and make students feel that you are fair.
  1. Meet all of your students’ styles of learning by using different and various assessment means and tools but assess one thing at a time.

14 Decisions Made by Classroom Assessment

assessment decisions

Classroom assessment can help the teacher make decisions concerning his/her lesson teaching. These decisions depend on answering the following questions before, during and after teaching any lesson. They are as follow:

6 Assessment-based decisions made by answering questions before the lesson:
1. What input do students need to learn?
2. What interests of my students do I need to consider as I plan my lesson?
3. What materials are appropriate to use with students?
4. What learning activities do I need my students engage in during the lesson?
5. What objectives do I want my students to achieve as a result of my teaching?
6. How can I organize and arrange the students in the class for the lesson activities?

4 Assessment-based decisions made by answering questions during the lesson:
1. Is my lesson going well? Are students learning?
2. What should I do to make this lesson/activity work better?
3. What feedback should I give individual students about the quality of their learning?
4. Are my students ready to move to the next activity in the learning sequence?

4 Assessment-based decisions made by answering questions after the lesson:
1. How well my students achieved my objectives?
2. What strengths and weaknesses should I report about students’ learning?
3. How effectively did my students learn this lesson?
4. How effective were my materials, activities, class organization and teaching techniques I used?

16 Reasons for Classroom Assessment

class assessment

Classroom assessment is the act of collecting information about students, curricula and methodology with the aim of making decisions concerning to students’ needs and teacher’s objectives.

Classroom assessment should help the teacher in:

1. Determining student strengths and weaknesses.

2. Determining learning styles of his/her students.

3. Learning about student interests in various topics.

4. Classifying students into groups based upon their learning abilities, personal interests, characteristics and achievements.

5. Monitoring and following the progress of individual students.

6. Providing feedback about students’ achievement.

7. Specifying suitable teaching materials and activities.

8. Discovering what students have learned and what they still need to learn.

9. Deciding what to teach next.

10. Determining how to adapt lesson content to student need and learning styles.

11. Evaluating the effectiveness of teaching methods.

12. Assigning grades and feedback to students.

13. Giving feedback to parents.

14. Giving feedback to other teachers in the school and the principal.

15. Communicating with other professionals to provide more effective courses.

16. Recycling and revising previous lesson content.

Suggested aspects to focus on in classroom assessment:

1. Participation in the group work.

2. Ability to express in speech.

3. Ability to express in writing.

4. Listening comprehension.

5. Reading comprehension.

6. Neatness of handwriting.

7. Use of school library.

8. Response that show understanding.

9. Oral activities: discussion and answering questions.

10. Sharing in planning and preparing wall magazines.

11. Co-operation with the teacher and classmates.

12. Bringing books and doing homework.

13. Sharing in class activities.

14. Continuity of progress in learning and of dealing in good behavior.

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