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Assessment is very effective in as far as enhancing learning is concerned. This is especially so when learning is characterized by a cycle of feedback and adjustments. It is very important to understand this concept on assessment because education assessment ought to be applied in the most suitable way as possible to cater for all the needs of the students.
Poor application of assessment method during learning affects the learning process and jeopardizes learners’ achievement. There are various kinds of assessment methods, which if professionally and appropriately implemented, are associated with various benefits.
This paper aims at bringing into light the models behind assessment thereby giving insight on how assessment should be adeptly put in place to enhance effective learning and students’ achievement in the classroom.
The initiative by Christian Alliance College to enhance teaching and learning through assessment is workable. This is because assessment is very useful in identifying gaps present during learning and teaching, and in bridging these gaps. The need to enhance teaching and learning is due to the fact that the students lack the confidence required while reading and making presentations.
In addition, the current learning culture does not allow the students to improve because they are under negative pressure from their peers. They also are unable to improve based on self-assessment. Teachers fail to engage in interesting assessment strategies due to lack of time, and too many responsibilities.
Regardless of this fact, constructive alignment is the initial step where curriculum goals are defined and learning assessed against these goals. The program by Christian Alliance College is cost-effective in that it is flexible enough to avoid redesigning of a new programme in future. This is because the programme’s design can accommodate expansion and upgrading of content (Project details).
The different kind of assessment intended to be put in place are very useful in covering the diversified needs of students/learners. Peer assessment is effective when a predefined assessment criterion is available. It is very important for teachers to ensure that learners are able to effectively use assessment criteria and properly take part in peer-assessment activities.
It is after successfully achieving this that teachers should introduce the self-assessment task. It is the manner in which the two are employed that matters, as well as the definition of the assessment criterion for such methods of assessment. It should be an objective process that does not criticize but, identifies gaps that require filling (Jones, 2005; Popham, 1998).
Lesson planning and analysis is an initiative that is very essential in identifying and determining the most feasible learning /teaching activities that would help achieve curriculum goals and objectives. Before conducting lesson planning, there is need for both the students and teachers to be fully aware and understand the curriculum goals so that all decisions are made with reference to these goals.
Lessons are prepared in accordance with exam syllabus or CDI documents. This helps to teach students that which is relevant to the assessment criterion. During lesson planning, it is very important to examine resource materials that are relevant in achieving the intended learning outcomes (Lecture 1 notes; Lecture 2 notes).
Students have different perceptions for different kinds of assessments and it is these perceptions that greatly influence the effect of the assessment process. Therefore, this further justifies the use of diversified assessment strategies.
The move by Christian Alliance College to employ peer, self and teacher assessments, as well as online discussions is commendable. In addition, the incorporation of technology enhances the assessment process and especially in the current contemporary computerized world (Earl & Katz, 2006; Rudner & Schafer, 2002).
One of the interventions, based on the needs stated above, is a collective process of lesson planning and analysis. Lesson planning and analysis are collective in the sense that they entail the consensus of both the teacher and students. This way, the students’ opinions are heard and ideas incorporated into the learning process.
Teaching should be carried out with the intention of creating change based on cognitive, psychomotor and affective objectives as outlined in Bloom’s educational objectives (Bloom, et al., 1956). It is therefore imperative to ensure that the lesson planning stage factors in the activities or environment necessary to give students opportunities that enable them to exercise higher-order thinking.
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Cognitive are the most critical objectives as they determine learners’ performance. According to Bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive objectives, they encompass knowledge, understanding, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Stiggins on the other hand focuses on different elements of instruction.
Based on Stiggins’ theory, learners should obtain knowledge and understand what this knowledge is all about (Stiggins, 2000; lecture 2 & 3 notes). They should also develop the necessary reasoning skills to facilitate thinking. These two skills are commensurate with cognitive intended outcomes.
Learning/teaching should also enhance performance with regard to the skills that learners are able to perform, and productivity in relation to learners’ ability to produce products as the result of that which is learned in class. These skills help to attain both cognitive and psychomotor objectives.
The affective intended outcome is based on learners’ dispositions and habits of the mind; the attitudes and habits that they ought to develop. These objectives form concrete and relevant grounds for assessment.
This is a very essential process that should include a description of the intended learning outcomes, designing learning/teaching activities that will help achieve these activities to achieve the intended outcomes and the necessary assessment tasks that will be carried out to help determine if the learning/teaching process has achieved the intended outcome.
This makes up the Biggs constructive alignment that entails delineation, alignment and calibration (Biggs, 1996).
Delineation entails identifying the topics to be covered to aid in achieving the intended learning outcomes. Alignment focuses on examining resource materials that are congruent with curriculum goals.
Calibration entails development of learning materials to enhance learning with reference to learning goals, as well as development of appropriate assessment strategies. Diversifies assessment methods should be put into consideration because students are different and react differently to different assessment methods (Lecture 5 notes).
It is important for teachers at the Christian Alliance College to note that time increment on assessment, does not enhance learning. Classroom assessment should be used by teachers as a means to get insight on knowledge, skills and beliefs of their learners and subsequently use this insight to modify instructions to meet all the students needs while applying either the Stiggins’ or Bloom’s models.
In addition, this insight should act as a platform to monitor, change perceptions and promote learning of the students (Lecture 4 notes).
Summative kind of assessment as is the case with this college does not assist in improving teaching/ learning. They only grade students based on their scores at the end of a learning course. The program that is under-way will involve the use of various assessment strategies to make the assessment formative.
The use of electronic is perceived to help with developing more effective and diversified assessment strategies. This is because; internet evolution is associated with online teaching/learning and is able to cover as many students as possible.
The ‘Gain from Online Assessment for Learning Strategies’ (GOALS) program enables students to engage in audio-video record speaking and discussion forums with other students.
The students are able to practice self, peer-group and teacher assessments continuously hence make improvements with each effective feedback given. Immediate feedback that gives suggestions on how to improve is more effective and learners will tend to pay more attention to such kind of feedback (Hibbard, et al., 1996; Airasian, 1994).
The effect of assessment is realized when students are able to utilize feedback given in a positive way. As is the case with the Christian Alliance college, summative/assessment of learning has been the main focus of assessment for a long time. The realization that formative assessment is more effective has brought a new face in the learning world with regard to assessment.
This is because, students place more value with regard to feedback derived from formative assessment when compared with that from summative assessment. Feedback derived from summative assessment frustrates and does not motivate learners as it compares their abilities to that of their peers.
The use of electronic technology promotes formative assessment/assessment for learning and assessment as learning. Formative assessment is a better form of assessment because it motivates and builds confidence among students due to associated progress and achievement compared with failure and defeat associated with summative assessment/assessment of learning as a result of comparison to peers.
In addition, summative assessment is associated with anxiety resulting in cheating and distortion of the curriculum since the exams act as the criteria for performance and excellence (Lecture 3 & 5 notes).
The use of current diversified assessment methods is very imperative for the learning/teaching process. This is because, teachers show that they are not merely interested on carrying on classifying the students based on scores; rather it is their performance and the ability to utilize knowledge gotten in class that matters.
In the case of the college where teachers aim at enhancing the effectiveness of learning with regard to the English language, it is their ability to competently apply the English language outside class that matters.
The students can learn English for exam purposes and pass but they will not be competent in as far as the English is concerned. However, when formative/assessment for learning and assessment as learning are put in place, students learn more than just for the purposes of examination (Black & William, 1998).
Teachers should be very conversant with the various assessment models and methods to effectively and efficiently enhance learning. Assessment for learning remains as the most effective and applicable methods of assessment because it promotes progress, performance and achievement.
Summative assessment on the other hand aims at giving an overall score of students compared with those of others hence, does not focus on improvement of students’ achievement. It is very important that the education process embraces current technology to enhance assessment and make it more interesting since learners have different perceptions for different assessment methods.
Airasian, P. (1994). Classroom Assessment, Second Edition, NY: McGraw-Hill
Biggs, J.B. (1996). Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. Higher Education, 32(3), 347-364.
Black, P., & William, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2), 139-148.
Bloom, B., et al. (eds). (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. New York: David McKay.
Earl, L. & Katz, S. (2006) Rethinking Assessment with Purpose in Mind. Winnipeg, Manitoba: Manitoba Education, Citizenship & Youth.
Hibbard, K. M., et al. (1996). A teacher’s guide to performance-based learning and assessment. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Jones, C. A. (2005). Assessment for Learning. London: Learning and Skills Development Agency
Popham, W. J. (1998). Classroom assessment: What teachers need to know? 2nd ed. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Project details. Project N0: 2009/0055
Rudner, L. M. & Schafer. W. D. (eds). (2002) What teachers need to know about assessment. Washington, DC: National Education Association.
Stiggins, R. J. (2000). Classroom assessment: A history of neglect, a future of immense potential. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association.