Mr A, a grade 8 Maths teacher, is quite famous in his school for delivering excellent results consistently, year after year. According to him, any teacher who understands the purpose of assessments, can deliver results as good as his!
Let’s look at the purpose of different types of assessments from Mr A’s lens.
Type of Assessment: Baseline and Diagnostic Assessments
Purpose: To inform and plan instruction and to support student learning
Action Plan: Mr A conducts a quick assessment at the beginning of a school year to establish a baseline of learning for his learners. For example, he would prepare a multiple choice quiz on the important Maths concepts taught in grade 7. The results give him the starting point of his learners and help him plan their learning. Then, he conducts diagnostic tests, at regular intervals, to diagnose the kind of problems learners face while learning. For example, he would use tickets called “Exit Tickets”, with questions like– which concept did you find difficult to understand today, or, which concept do you think we should continue discussing in the next class? He uses the assessment data to support and scaffold learning.
Type of Assessment: Formative Assessments
Purpose: To monitor student learning
Action Plan: Mr A conducts regular tests during lessons. These tests are in the form of quizzes, MCQs, assignments, maths projects, group tasks and so on. He loves throwing real-life problems at them that help him check the application of concepts. For example, he would ask them to calculate the area of their classroom by counting the tiles. Through formative assessment, he monitors their learning in two ways– he keeps a check on which learning outcomes have been mastered and which ones need to be worked on; and he creates multiple data points to monitor their progress.
Type of Assessment: Summative Assessments
Purpose: To evaluate and verify student learning in the long term
Action Plan: Mr A keeps a record of his learners’ maths final exam results from previous years. This data helps him verify their learning, progress and development. By analysing these results, he creates customised learning trajectories for all his learners. He also uses summative assessment data to create a bigger picture to plan and meet the learning objectives. It also helps him understand what his learners can and cannot do.
Did you notice the four specific purposes that he uses assessment for?
- Plan student learning
- Monitor student learning
- Support student learning
- Verify student learning
Imagine what you can achieve if you understand the purpose of assessment well and then use it to achieve the desired learning outcomes. If you want to dive deeper into this area of teaching and learning, please feel free to check out our course on Assessment and Evaluation Techniques.