<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
A story about a sixth grade teacher in an urban school, which illustrates some important classroom assessment themes. Then, this module continues by illustrating basic concepts in classroom assessment with a focus on assessment for learning.
The primary author of this module is Dr. Rosemary Sutton.

Kym teaches sixth grade students in an urban school where most of the families in the community live below the poverty line. Each year the majority of the students in her school fail the state-wide tests. Kym follows school district teaching guides and typically uses direct instruction in her Language Arts and Social Studies classes. The classroom assessments are designed to mirror those on the state-wide tests so the students become familiar with the assessment format. When Kym is in a graduate summer course on motivation she reads an article called, “Teaching strategies that honor and motivate inner-city African American students” (Teel, Debrin-Parecki,&Covington, 1998) and she decides to change her instruction and assessment in fall in four ways. First, she stresses an incremental approach to ability focusing on effort and allows students to revise their work several times until the criteria are met. Second, she gives students choices in performance assessments (e.g. oral presentation, art project, creative writing). Third, she encourages responsibility by asking students to assist in classroom tasks such as setting up video equipment, handing out papers etc. Fourth, she validates student’ cultural heritage by encouraging them to read biographies and historical fiction from their own cultural backgrounds. Kym reports that the changes in her students’ effort and demeanor in class are dramatic: students are more enthusiastic, work harder, and produce better products. At the end of the year twice as many of her students pass the State-wide test than the previous year.

Afterward. Kym still teaches sixth grade in the same school district and continues to modify the strategies described above. Even though the performance of the students she taught improved the school was closed because, on average, the students’ performance was poor. Kym gained a Ph.D and teaches Educational Psychology to preservice and inservice teachers in evening classes.

Kym’s story illustrates several themes related to assessment that we explore in this chapter on teacher-made assessment strategies and in the [link] Chapter 12 on standardized testing. First, choosing effective classroom assessments is related to instructional practices, beliefs about motivation, and the presence of state-wide standardized testing. Second, some teacher-made classroom assessments enhance student learning and motivation —some do not. Third, teachers can improve their teaching through action research. This involves identifying a problem (e.g. low motivation and achievement), learning about alternative approaches (e.g. reading the literature), implementing the new approaches, observing the results (e.g. students’ effort and test results), and continuing to modify the strategies based on their observations.

Best practices in assessing student learning have undergone dramatic changes in the last 20 years. When Rosemary was a mathematics teacher in the 1970s, she did not assess students’ learning she tested them on the mathematics knowledge and skills she taught during the previous weeks. The tests varied little format and students always did them individually with pencil and paper. Many teachers, including mathematics teachers, now use a wide variety of methods to determine what their students have learned and also use this assessment information to modify their instruction. In this chapter the focus is on using classroom assessments to improve student learning and we begin with some basic concepts.

Basic concepts

Assessment is an integrated process of gaining information about students’ learning and making value judgments about their progress (Linn&Miller, 2005). Information about students’ progress can be obtained from a variety of sources including projects, portfolios, performances, observations, and tests. The information about students’ learning is often assigned specific numbers or grades and this involves measurement . Measurement answers the question, “How much?” and is used most commonly when the teacher scores a test or product and assigns numbers (e.g. 28 /30 on the biology test; 90/100 on the science project). Evaluation is the process of making judgments about the assessment information (Airasian, 2005). These judgments may be about individual students (e.g. should Jacob’s course grade take into account his significant improvement over the grading period?), the assessment method used (e.g. is the multiple choice test a useful way to obtain information about problem solving), or one’s own teaching (e.g. most of the students this year did much better on the essay assignment than last year so my new teaching methods seem effective).

The primary focus in this chapter is on assessment for learning , where the priority is designing and using assessment strategies to enhance student learning and development. Assessment for learning is often formative assessment , i.e. it takes place during the course of instruction by providing information that teachers can use to revise their teaching and students can use to improve their learning (Black, Harrison, Lee, Marshall&Wiliam, 2004). Formative assessment includes both informal assessment involving spontaneous unsystematic observations of students’ behaviors (e.g. during a question and answer session or while the students are working on an assignment) and formal assessment involving pre-planned, systematic gathering of data. Assessment of learning is formal assessment that involves assessing students in order to certify their competence and fulfill accountability mandates and is the primary focus of the next chapter on standardized tests but is also considered in this chapter. Assessment of learning is typically summative , that is, administered after the instruction is completed (e.g. a final examination in an educational psychology course). Summative assessments provide information about how well students mastered the material, whether students are ready for the next unit, and what grades should be given (Airasian, 2005).

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get Jobilize Job Search Mobile App in your pocket Now!

Get it on Google Play

Source:  OpenStax, Educational psychology. OpenStax CNX. May 11, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11302/1.2
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Educational psychology' conversation and receive update notifications?