Student assessment forms important aspect of learning. More specifically, assessments are used to give all important feedback to students on their learning, to identify whether students have understood what they have been taught or whether further learning is required, to identify the best teaching strategies that can work for a given group of students.
There are several ways through which student assessment can be conducted. Instructors use different approaches depending on their preferences, set standards and the requirements of the college faculty. This paper seeks to identify the different types of assessments and select three of them to represent effective and ineffective assessment.
Types of assessments
Assessments mainly fall into three categories which include: commercially produced tests, teacher created tests and standardized tests. Standardized tests are tests that can be said to be “norm referenced or criterion referenced and are administered, scored and interpreted in a standard manner” (Cano, 2011 p. 446). Students’ performance in standardized tests can be used to gain comparative data (Vergis, 2010).
Commercially produced assessments include all supplementary materials and text books that are used to teach students in class. These assessments fall in different categories and can be used for “screening, diagnosing learning problems, monitoring progress and assessing learner outcomes that are related to a specific instructional program” (Mok, 2010, p. 252).
Teacher made assessments are assessment tools that are created by the teachers and are intended to ensure that the students learn exactly what they are required to learn. The teacher made tests often come in different forms but commonly revolve around essays, reports and multiple choice tests (Cano, 2011).
The assessments listed above are the common types, however, there are several other forms of student assessment. In a nut shell, assessments are used differently depending on the context. Some of the uses include identifying whether learning objectives have been achieved, determining the student’s prior knowledge on a given issue and testing either memorization or performance (Vergis, 2010).
Identified effective and infective assessments
Teacher created tests
Teacher created tests are tests that mainly written or oral and which are neither commercially produced nor standardized (Mok, 2010). Teacher created tests can be categorized as both effective and ineffective assessments.
They are effective in the sense that they test a specific content that is desired by the teacher or instructor. The teacher created tests can be tailored according to the student abilities. For instance, they can be written according to the students reading abilities (Vergis, 2010).
Teacher made tests can be ineffective when they run the risk of not being appropriate in regard to the content being assessed and the presentation (Vergis, 2010). Thus they can go below the required standards and give an assessment that is at a wrong level of difficulty.
The test can be too easy or too difficult for a given class of students. Previous studies conducted on teacher made tests have always cited the tests insistence on low level thinking (Cano, 2011). In most cases, the tests are found to overlook quality control issues such as identifying the written criteria for performance.
It has also been shown that teacher made tests over emphasize on verbal linguistic intelligence, implying that students who are poor in reading will be at a disadvantage regardless of the content they know.
Rubrics as assessment tools are designed to evaluate the quality of tasks accomplished by students. Rubrics are effective student assessment tools in the sense that they make grading to be more easy and efficient; the scores achieved by students are accurate and can be relied upon by the faculty; they create a standardized process of grading that can be applied across faculties; they give a clear criteria on how the students should respond in the assignments and thus helps them assess themselves prior to the submission of the assignments; finally, they give students a clear way of improving their performance.
Rubrics can be ineffective assessment tools when they require continuous revision to fit a given criteria. They can also be substandard and fail to produce the intended results. Rubrics can additionally be disadvantageous to instructors in the sense that they are time consuming to create and may not have the correct language required to express performance expectation (Vergis, 2010).
A portfolio is a documentation of student’s work over time (Cano, 2011). Usually, the portfolio forms a collection of the student’s important work that is crucial to his or her learning. Portfolios may consist of other forms of process information such as drafts of the learner’s work, self assessments, and even assessments conducted by the parent (Mok, 2010).
Portfolios are crucial in the assessment of the learner’s abilities and identification of areas where improvement can be done.
Student portfolios can be effective tools of assessment if they are able to improve communication between teachers and parents about student’s abilities and if they can help a teacher understand individual student learning styles and abilities (Mok, 2010).
Portfolios can be ineffective assessment tools if they give a false impression of the student, if they are not well organized and if they consist of materials that are not crucial to the learning process. Portfolios are also difficult to create and time consuming (Cano, 2011).
This paper sought to identify different types of assessments and describe three forms that can be used to represent both effective and ineffective assessments. It has been identified that assessments mainly fall under three categories: commercially produced tests, teacher created tests and standardized tests.
Those that have been identified to represent both effective and ineffective assessments include rubrics; teacher created tests and portfolios.
Cano, M. (2011). Students’ Involvement in Continuous Assessment Methodologies: A Case Study for a Distributed Information Systems Course. Education, 54(3) 442-451
Mok, J. (2010). A case study of students’ perceptions of peer assessment in Hong Kong. ELT Journal, 65(3) 250-239.
Vergis, A. (2010). Principles of Assessment: A primer for Medical Educators in the Clinical years. The internet journal of medical, 1(1) 23-30.