At Matoska International School, assessment is one of the key elements of the teaching and learning process. Assessment is concerned with the gathering of valuable feedback from student in term of what the student know, what the students feel and what the students are able to do at various stages of the teaching learning process in response to what they have learned.
The school has multi faceted assessment criteria that aim at evaluating different types of learning such as skills, knowledge and attitudes. It also means that students are an integral part of the assessment process and that the students are encouraged to develop critical thinking as well as a self evaluation mentality.
Assessment at Matoska International School is not only for the purpose of gathering information for the sake of enriching the teaching and learning process but is intended to aid in the development of students’ learning and learned abilities. As such it is an ongoing process that also involves the environment, the community as well as the student’s family members.
The student is continuously informed of the assessment criteria and adequately prepared before any assessment test is administered (Matoska n.d). Assessment is therefore a continuous process of varied activities intended to develop the student and involves various parties such as the parent community, and the family members while the student is the central figure in the entire process.
At Matoska, teaching and learning is multifaceted and as such the assessment criteria is modeled along the Bloom concept of learning domains. It evaluates various aspects of learning such as knowledge skills and attitudes. Knowledge learned is assessed through summative tests at the end of every learning unit. The learner is required to define, describe, knows, lists, or recall knowledge learned.
The learner is also expected to show the ability to analyze knowledge learned. Assessment also tests the learner’s attitudes. This involves testing whether the learner’s skills, concept and beliefs have been affected by what has been learned. As such the learner will be observed to identify how he/she cooperates, influences, questions and internalizes learned values.
Furthermore, assessment is also intended to evaluate the learners ‘doing’ abilities. This includes testing the learner fro creating, constructing, composing designing and such other physical abilities. Assessment involves both qualitative and quantitative evaluation.
Quantitative assessment involves awarding of numerical score or grades while qualitative assessment appeals to a teachers emotion and responses such as good, satisfactory, excellent are involved. Qualitative assessment is used in assessing both written and unwritten tests. Furthermore, assessment also tests a learners psychomotor skills; the ability of the students to do what they have learned in class.
Therefore, the assessment at Matoska involves a variety of methods (Matoska n.d). To begin with the teachers use the paper pencil methods. This involves written response where students will write tests that may either involve multiple choices, short answers or essays. Written assessment is done both as a continuous measurement method of a student learning.
Therefore it is achieved through writing daily class room assignment as well as the end of every learning unit or semesters exams. Non paper and pencil assessment involves unwritten evaluation such oral tests and manual task. A student is required to give oral responses to questions as well as completing manual tasks such as simple laboratory experiments while following simple procedures.
Unwritten assessment is also part of co curricula activities such as debating, group discussions, music, as well as sports and physical education. The teacher will also observe the student developmental needs in communication skills, interpersonal skills and the way the student relates to the environment around them (Gredler1999).
The purpose of assessment
The methods mentioned above are student centered and as such the main purpose of using them is to make the student be part of teaching learning process. Thus the student becomes an active participant in the learning process. Students are encouraged to develop self evaluation mechanism and as such they reflect on what they have learned.
They are therefore become aware of their own personal academic progress and as such the student will make self directed effort to improve their grade (Matsoka, n.d; Badders, 2000). The tools mentioned above are also very useful in gathering information about the teaching learning process. This information is valuable as it will inform the teaching methods applied to the whole class in general as well as for specific learners.
Diagnostic tests help the teacher to understand the student entry level knowledge and learning needs. Assessment is also part of the professional teacher’s duty. At Matoska, teachers are supposed to administer tests and examinations at predetermined times in fulfillment of their professional duties. Such include Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment, administered every spring to students to grades 3 to 5 (Matoska n.d.).
Assessment generates valuable information
As mentioned earlier, the methods of assessment are used to generate valuable information about the entire teaching and learning process. The tools for assessment thus have been able to yield valuable information to the teacher as follows. Over a given period of learning a student takes a series of tests of which an average score is calculated. Continuous tests measures learning abilities on given topics.
These tests are used by the teacher as to gauge the student’s immediate needs per topic which are addressed before progress to the next topic. Therefore the tests help in gathering information about a student’s continuous progress and needs. The averaging of tests scored is very useful in giving an accurate measure of a student’s academic performance over a given period of time, such a school semester.
The series of assessment test a variety of knowledge, skills and talents. This reveals students’ strength, weaknesses and development needs (Marzano 2006). The assessment has also been very valuable in yielding information on teaching methods that will aid a student’s improved learning.
It is through assessment that teachers identify weak areas and thus have to vary teaching methods to address those areas (Matoska n.d.). If students score poorly in communication skills or have poor written skills, the teacher will vary the teaching methods, to incorporate teaching communication, both verbal and written.
Rating assessment methods
The assessment methods applicable at Matoska have been rated very highly and proved satisfactory. The purposes of using these particular methods have had a very significant impact on the curriculum at Matoska International School. These methods are very valid as have allowed students to exhibit what they know and are able to do.
Such assessment includes writing down grammatically correct sentences, ability to identify herbivore from carnivores among other activities. The scores for these assessments are recorded, analyzed and used for future reference as well as improving the learning process at the school. The assessments are reliably useful as they can be applied to all students at all time not only in Matoska but in other schools in the district.
These assessments have been able to produce similar results if applied to various schools and students at different times. They also produce data reliable data that that accurately reflects individual student’s knowledge, attitudes and skills learned.
Assessment methods are also upgraded periodically to reflect the current thinking in classroom assessment. Furthermore, the methods have been structured in such a way that they address the time available. This reflects the efficiency of the methods in use (Badders 2000).
Insight and problems encountered
The assessment process has yielded useful insights. Credible assessment is an interactive process between teaching and the learning process where the student is the central figures in the whole process. It therefore means that communication is valuable in the whole process as goals and intentions have to be clearly communicated to the student.
To facilitate this mean that the relationship between the student and teacher has to be right for any effective communication to occur. Traditional assessment only involved the teacher as the only one who would develop assessment tools. However modern methods are also encouraging the student to do a self evaluation that will help in student directed studying.
There are also some problems encountered in using the assessment methods identified in this essay. Assessment is a much more complicated affair especially when it comes to qualitative assessment. The use of adjective such a s good, excellent and such other words that express the quality of learning do not have a universal application because of their subjective nature.
What is satisfactory performance to one student may be poor performance from another. Therefore qualitative assessment becomes difficult when assessing student with varying abilities using the same criteria (Black & Dylan, 1998).
Teaching, learning and assessment have symbiotic relationship. Teaching and learning are directed towards assessment while assessment is directed towards further learning which may result in further assessment. As such none can exist without the other. Traditional assessment was content oriented but with changes in the education system, a more student approach has been adopted.
This has resulted in better assessment methods being adopted which have lead to improvement of educational standards. Matoska International School values assessment as an integral part of its teaching and learning process. It is also student centered and as such other than assessing knowledge, the student’s attitudes and physical abilities are also part of assessment the intention of which is to produce an all rounded individual.
Badders, W. ( 2000). Methods of assessment. Web.
Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice5 (1). Web.
Gredler, M. (1999). Classroom assessment and learning. New York: Addison Wesley Longman.
Marzano, R. (2006). Classroom assessment and grading that work. Virginia: ASCD.
Matoska International PYP assessment policy. Web.