Gone are those days when only a few students reached the learning standards and the rest stayed below the line of merit. Our 21st century educational system recognizes the fact that every student is unique and has a core set of values, perspectives,
concerns and agendas in the learning environment.
Not all the students learn equally, some learn quickly while many others take time: this doesn’t mean that they’re different but the way they learn and the learning style in which they are comfortable may differ from one student to another. Ironically, traditional methods used to provide a single teaching approach for all the students and it caused a great difference in grades among students in a classroom. Teachers need to provide them with personalized instructions and curriculum in order to make them learn uniquely but somehow traditional methods are no longer providing educators as well as students with sufficient time. Individualized instructions and personalized instructions are originated from a strategy called, “assessment”.
Assessment is an integral part of instruction and it determines whether or not the learning standards are being met. It enables educators to know whether or not their teaching strategies are helpful to students. It also affects instructions about learning styles, lesson curriculum, resources, etc. Assessment is of two kinds: Formative assessment and Summative assessment.
Formative assessment: The goal of formative assessment is to monitor student learning and provide ongoing feedback to instructors to improve their teaching and to students to improve their learning.
Summative assessment: The goal of summative assessment is to evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against some standard or benchmark.
The following are some of the best assessment techniques which educators use in their classroom.
Formative Assessment techniques by Paul Black and Chris Harrison:
“Formative assessment is not just a set of tricks for running things better in a classroom, it’s actually revolutionary in changing the way teachers relate to their pupils, and the way pupils see themselves as learners.”- Paul Black.
“I’m passionate about promoting the sort of classrooms where children get learning experiences that take them forward and help them not just with their learning now, but the future ways they learn.”- Dr. Christine Harrison
Paul Black and Christine Harrison, authors of the influential pamphlet, “Working inside the black box”, derived some principles of assessment in secondary education.
“The key feature is that the teacher finds ways of helping the student to be active in the classroom, and helping the student to speak out and express their ideas. Until that happens, the teacher doesn’t know what’s needed.”, said Paul Black.
If the teacher continues to teach things without knowing what students are understanding, he can’t make them learn what they are actually supposed to. Chris Harrison suggests that in formative assessment, there are many different areas that teachers and learners need to work on and feedback is the best tool to drive assessment. Feedback will occur if we allow students to express their ideas. Students should also be encouraged to do self and peer-assessments, this helps them improve themselves individually as well as through group orientations to learn and think better.
At Lord William’s School, Oxfordshire, two educators Karen Vear and Jon Ryder helped Paul and Chris with their initial research. Both educators’ motto is to make students independent learners and they feel that there is a need to make students realize what steps they need to take next to progress in their learning. So, here are the features of Formative assessment as follows:
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