TEACHING SENSE: MEANING AND PURPOSE OF ASSESSMENT
Verification, test, exam, estimation, judgment, measurement, evaluation and assessment are words that are synonyms or having the same meaning in a dictionary. In academic, especially in the field of education some of these words start to have more significant meaning as it relates to teaching and learning and becomes a jargon against layman’s term. As educators, we are less likely to use the words estimation, judgment or verification when we are we are talking about tests, questionnaires, or examinations. We now tend to use more the word assessment as the most accurate words referring to tests and exams, results of instruction, and learning evaluations.
Educational technology will also be dealing with assessment and this topic will eventually lead to the role of ICT in assessment for learning in my future posts, but in this blog I am going to focus discussing and elaborating about the meaning of assessment as it relates to learning. Having deep and broad understanding of this concept provides you a solid ground before attempting to proceed in the creation of processes or designing tools and technologies that will aid or enhance assessment. So, let’s go ahead and look first the exact meaning of assessment using available tools. Searching it in google using the keywords “meaning of assessment” will give you the results below:
Deriving from these definitions, we can also say that assessment is a way for teachers to determine and keep track the learning progress of their students, so they may adopt new changes when it comes to methods and strategies of teaching to further improve the results of the instruction.
Before we can go any further let’s define few more words that relate to assessment, and I am talking about the words “test”, “measurement”, and “evaluation”. These words sometimes are being used interchangeably but by defining them within the context of professional education, we can be more accurate of what we are referring to in a discussion.
Test – is a tool that is designed to measure the learner’s specific skill, ability or knowledge about a certain subject area.
Example: A short or long quiz, created by the teacher designed to test if the students were able to grasp the knowledge and skill recently delivered to them.
Measurement – refers to the process of determining the degree of how well the student learns about a particular subject area.
Example. If a teacher is on the process of counting the scores of each student in the class based on the recent test conducted.
Assessment – is the process of gathering data that determines how well the students learn, and analyzing this data to become the basis for any changes necessary to further improve the outcome of the instruction.
I might have used different words this time to define the word assessment but the idea is still the same. It will also help us distinguished how these three words really mean within the context of teaching when we define them explicitly for the purpose of clarity whenever we use them in a professional discussion.
Example. When the teacher is on the process of finalizing the grades of the students, this includes the scores obtained by the students with their projects, assignments, quizzes and other tests.
Evaluation – this is the process where data gathered during assessment is being interpreted and is being acted upon.
Example. The teacher is devising an intervention plan or remedy for a number of students because based on the result of the assessment he/she found out that there are still struggling students about the lessons that were covered.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF ASSESSMENT?
Purpose of assessment to the TEACHERS/INSTRUCTOR
As facilitators of learning, we always wanna make sure that our students are grasping the contents that we deliver regardless of the method that we use in the instruction. We cannot just jump from one lesson to another without knowing if our students are acquiring the knowledge that we intend for them to learn. Most knowledge and skills require a prerequisite understanding for anybody to understand and digest, so prior to the introduction of these higher level of skills, we need to be certain that our students were able to master first the foundational skills.
So one purpose of assessment is for the teacher to ensure that his/her method of instruction is based on the learning progress of the students.
Purpose of assessment to the STUDENTS
It is also equally important for learners to know how well they are doing in acquiring the knowledge and skill of a certain subject/area. Having this knowledge and becoming aware of their learning progress, will allow them to devise strategies if they need to exert more effort for areas they haven’t mastered yet or they can now confidently proceed to the next lesson. The result of assessment may also serve as a motivating factor to achieving students since they will be able to have closure and sense of fulfillment and success after knowing that they passed the assessment of a particular subject area.
Purpose of assessment to SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS
School administrators are considered to be supportive of teachers, with their administrative power they can implement new processes that will help teachers become more productive in teaching and the result of the assessment is one of the factors that they can use in decision-making.
Purpose of assessment to PARENTS and other STAKEHOLDERS
Parents surely wanna know how their kids are doing in school, grades per subject area are generated because of assessment. This goes the same way with other stakeholders, such as those organizations who provide scholarships to deserving students, usually, they obliged their scholars to maintain a minimum value of their grades that they specify for students to continue enjoying and remain qualified for the scholarship program.