In one of our previous articles we talked about the purpose of testing. That assessment should never be conducted if the purpose of testing is not known or understood, else one is bound to collect a lot of information that s/he does not know what to do with. Classroom assessment is the assessment developed and done by the classroom teacher at school level.
As such, it is a school-based and most of the time formative. That does not discount summative assessment, particularly developed by the classroom teacher, such as end of month test or end of year examinations, to be used as classroom assessment. It is such summative assessment, that should be given considerations towards inclusion in the leaners final grade. Summative tasks do not have to be always high stakes.
The intention of classroom assessment is solely to improve learning. As such, the assessment is intertwined with instruction. If the educator conducts the lesson from the beginning to the end without any assessment, learning is bound to be challenging. It gives just-in time information about the learner and how s/he can be assisted. Learners are the intended primary users of the assessment information and educators are the secondary users, for differentiated learning.
With classroom assessment, all different kinds of achievement can be assessed, ranging from knowledge, to attitudes and skills, something that standardised testing cannot. In the 21st century learning, classroom assessment is regarded as the indispensable educational reform to achieving the required knowledge and skills for one to effectively function in the fast changing world. Maybe some thirty years ago, classroom assessment wasn’t that obligatory, as formal employment was guaranteed once completed a certain level of education, irrespective of skills acquired.
Classroom assessment is conducted using different approaches from traditional tests to authentic performance-based and educative assessments. These include writing tests to observations, surveys, interviews, performances, practicals, portfolios, presentations, among others. A variety of assessments, including self-assessments and peer assessments, provide the teacher with a well-rounded picture, or photo album, of the learners’ skills and learning of the essential outcomes.
It is now a well-known secret that learners learn best when they are actively and intentionally engaged in their own learning. Education is no longer only for learners, but also by learners, and with learners. When learners are active, they make sense of information, relate it to their prior knowledge, and use it to shape and direct their new learning.
But classrooms full of actively engaged learners don’t just happen. They are created when teachers intentionally work to develop self-regulated learners who set their own goals, select effective strategies to reach those goals, and monitor and adjust what they do depending on the demands of the task and their own strengths and needs.
To effectively execute classroom assessment, educators should be equipped with the assessment skills. Assessment-literate educators know how to engage learners in productive self-assessments, choose the appropriate assessment approach, set clear targets, develop test items, develop scoring criteria, conduct a balanced formative and summative assessment and give constructive feedback.
Formative feedback is powerful in that it addresses both cognitive and motivational factors at the same time. The impact of feedback on learner achievement depends greatly on the timing, the type of feedback, and how it is delivered to learners. Quality feedback focuses on the assignment, not the learner’s behaviours, efforts or attitude.
Well, if classroom assessment is embraced and effectively conducted, it should account for 30% of the classroom time. It leads to learning gains and improved performance/achievement with the resultant reduced workload. How teachers assess learner learning can have profound and lasting effects on their willingness, desire, and capacity to learn.
The Author holds PhD in ‘Assessment & Quality Assurance’ and writes in his personal capacity as a Psychometric Researcher. Contact/WhatsApp: 71713446 or email@example.com or facebook page: Trust Mbako Masole