How will Ms. Begay know if her lesson plans are effective and her students are learning?
Page 10: Monitoring Student Progress
Linking curriculum standards to instruction and assessment is critical to the achievement of effective learning. As you determine how to develop and use assessments, you should ask yourself three important questions:
- What learning goals and outcomes am I trying to measure?
- What kind of evidence am I looking for that will demonstrate whether my students have achieved the goals I am measuring?
- What type or format of assessment will present that evidence?
A Good Assessment Must:
- Provide relevant evidence
- Measure the skills, knowledge, or abilities the teacher holds important
- Match purpose with the skills assessed:
- For example, if you are trying to test fact recall, a factual test (e.g., multiple choice, matching, or fill-in-the-blank) would be the best option. To measure conceptual understanding and application of a skill, an essay, short-answer, or more in-depth performance assessment would be best.
- Use several ways to determine progress:
- Informal, day-to-day measures of progress include short paper-and-pencil tests and the observation and questioning of students.
- In-depth assessments students include essays, presentations, demonstrations, and problem-solving activities.
- Be “teacher-friendly”:
- A teacher should be able to develop, administer, and mark an assessment within the available time and with available resources. For example, a multiple-choice test will take less time to grade than will an essay test.
Keep in Mind
- Classroom tests are only valuable to students when they are returned promptly and when the feedback from the assessment is understood by the student. In this way, students can benefit from the test-taking process.
- Pre-test the students before a new concept is taught, and post-test them afterwards to mark their growth and ensure that the instruction was effective.
- Allow students to keep track of their own scores through graphing, charting, or by writing in a notebook. This way, they feel more responsible for their learning.
- Remember that some students will perform better on one type of assessment than another. Keep this in mind when planning assessments and use various types to assess different skills.
- Things to avoid:
- Testing only memory or recall
- Including only questions of one level of difficulty
- Using only multiple-choice formats
- Making use of trick questions
- If the purpose of the assessment is to determine how well students have mastered a particular unit, develop the assessment based on the material covered in class.
- The focus of any assessment should be on the most important and meaningful information rather than minute, irrelevant details.