Learning, at any level, doesn’t happen in isolation. Students learnt something in the past, they keep adding new knowledge to it, and then, eventually, learn to use this knowledge when the need arises. Therefore, it is important for teachers to create checkpoints at every step of teaching to ensure that the learners learn effectively. Assessments help us create those checkpoints. The assessment information collected at each checkpoint is valuable because it helps teachers plan, monitor, support and verify student learning. Therefore, it is crucial that these assessment checkpoints are well planned and balanced. There is nothing better than formulating an assessment system to create that balance.
Creating an Assessment System
Ms S is a Grade 7 English teacher. She understands the curricular objectives for her subject well and therefore, makes sure that the learners achieve the desired outcomes to meet the curricular objectives. The figure you are looking at right now is Ms S’s Assessment System to ensure learning outcome achievement.Let’s see what the system is and how it works.
Ms S has identified two areas that she needs to consider for designing her assessment system:
Intervention and remedial teaching
So she creates three assessment checkpoints for both of these areas.
Assessment Checkpoint 1
Before Core Teaching- Before teaching a topic, let’s say, the tenses in grammar, she conducts an assessment to check and activate previous knowledge of her learners. So, she gives them a test on verbs and verb forms. Her learners must have prior knowledge of this concept to learn tenses. If they know the concept well, she proceeds to teaching tenses. If they don’t, she initiates the process of intervention.
Before Intervention and Remedial Teaching- Before planning any intervention, she conducts another test on verbs and verb forms to diagnose the root cause of the problem. So, her test includes a wide range of items that assess both their lower order and higher order thinking skills. The assessment information informs her course of intervention.
Assessment Checkpoint 2
During Core Teaching- During core teaching, Ms S uses a variety of assessment activities to check the understanding of her learners. She conducts quizzes on tenses, gives them application-based exercises, and also projects to explain the concept that they just learnt.
During Intervention and Remedial Teaching- During remedial teaching, she conducts an assessment to monitor the progress of her learners from where they started to where they have reached. For example, let’s say, there were 5 learners in her class who needed support with verb forms. Their score on the test for verb forms indicated that they understood the concept but needed help with forms of irregular verbs. During her remedial class, she teaches them irregular verbs again and then conducts a test to see if they’ve progressed or not.
Assessment Checkpoint 3
After Core Teaching- After teaching the concept of tenses in the class, Ms S conducts an assessment to check achievement and/or adjust her teaching. If they have achieved the desired outcome and can apply the concept of tenses to create grammatically correct sentences, she moves on to the next topic. If not, she plans further remedial action.
After Intervention and Remedial Teaching- Just like after core teaching, Ms S conducts an assessment after remedial teaching or intervention to check achievement and/or adjust her teaching.
To ensure achievement of the desired learning outcomes, Ms S:
Analyses the assessment information before instruction to plan core and remedial teaching
Uses the assessment information gathered during instruction to understand her learners’ needs and adjusts her teaching practices for the next lesson on the same concept
Reflects on the assessment information collected after instruction to check her learners’ mastery on the concept and to adjust her teaching practices for the next concept
Why don’t you try creating your own assessment system using Ms S’s strategies? It will not only help you achieve the desired results but will also enable you to share those results with different stakeholders involved in your learners’ education.