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School Leaders’ Essentials About Assessment Essay (Book Review)

The Most Appealing Ideas Expressed by the Author

In his book titled Everything School Leaders Need to Know about Assessment, Popham presented a very detailed analysis of the procedures and aspects included in the process of assessment and testing in education. In particular, the author discussed such issues as the reasons for testing, reliability and validity of the assessment, the problem of bias, rubrics, instructional sensitivity, the mechanisms involved in test construction. The matter aspect represents one of the ideas that I found particularly interesting about this book.

To be more precise, the author recommended that, working on a test, an educator should construct it based on three major components such as the development of items, their improvement, and the assembly of the test. In that way, the author found a simplified way to present the structure and organization of a test. One of the main pieces of advice given by the author emphasized the importance of a solid theoretical or evidence-based foundation for a test. In particular, the modern educators are required to research the contemporary assessment strategies whose effectiveness has been confirmed through a lengthy practice instead or using the old-fashioned approaches that may be discredited today.

In addition, I appreciated the points of view on the formative assessment explained by the author. This is where the previous idea about the foundation for assessment is mentioned once again due to the risk of choosing an unsupported by research but a widely and actively promoted method of formative assessment. Moreover, when it comes to this form of assessment in general, Popham pointed out its high level of importance and impact on learners, as well as the capacity to drive instruction and help a teacher adjust the delivery of new knowledge in accordance with the students’ needs.

The Implications of the Ideas in the Book for Me as an Educator

The book by Popham is very helpful in its ability to demonstrate and outline the structure of assessment and its different aspects. Knowing how the parts of assessment are formed and what functions they carry enables me to adjust the assessment strategies I use without having to change the entire mechanism, but simply by re-shaping some of its components.

Also, I enjoyed the explanation of an educators’ bias and its role in an assessment. Using the same detailed manner of decomposition of various structures, the author elaborated on the formation of bias, its different forms, and the potential impact it may produce on the overall quality of the assessment, as well as on its results and their interpretation by an educator.

Moreover, it is critical to mention that in his book, Popham emphasized that in order to stimulate the teachers to participate in the changes and transformations inflicted by the adoption of the principles explained, it is important to demonstrate why they should be interested in adjusting their approach to assessment. In that way, the implication is that operating as a school leader, I should not only consider the interests of my learners when I shape my assessments but view the issues holistically and reflect on the benefits I (or the teachers who may be included in the change besides me) could obtain from embracing the change and pursuing a more sophisticated attitude to assessment practices.

The Ideas that I Challenge

In one of the chapters, Popham expresses a strong opinion that the contemporary educators tend to have a very low level of assessment literacy. I would like to challenge this idea because it is quite unclear what standard is at the basis of this statement. In other words, I do not think there exists a standardized level of literacy or some kind of a general test that could determine how well an educator is familiar with the practices included in the process of assessment.

There may be the lack of theoretical knowledge of this issue that occurs simply because that the body of knowledge concerning assessment has started to evolve fairly recently and as a separate subject or topic; it has been non-existed in the educational facilities that trained the professional currently employed as teachers. At the same time, it is quite possible that most of these teachers have obtained the knowledge of assessment practices through working experience. In that way, the lack of theoretical knowledge about assessment structure and mechanisms may be compensated by the practical skills and abilities of the teachers. In turn, making conclusions about the teachers’ knowledge of assessment based on their inability to explain its structure and components does not seem rational without a thorough evaluation of their practical results of the use of assessment in everyday professional life.

At the same time, I would like to add that even though the practical knowledge and experience may compensate for the lack of the theoretical preparedness in some teachers, it does not mean that the theoretical knowledge of assessment is unimportant. I believe that having a clear idea of the structure, mechanisms, and components of this issue is critical to the quality of the assessment practices used by the contemporary educators.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'School Leaders' Essentials About Assessment'. 10 November.

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