Student Views on the Assessment Practices of Instructors during Instruction

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to determine the degree of instructor' assessment practices in the realization of the learning-teaching process in its various stages, in the identification of expected outcomes and various other practices in the same context by taking student views into account. Th e study was undertaken with 243 students attending Abant izzet Baysal University Department of Education in the 2008-2009 academic year. The questionnaire used as data collection tool in the study was developed by the researcher. Th e results collected by means of student views showed that the majority of the instructors did not completely accomplish the tasks that they were supposed to do at the beginning of or during the teaching process in the framework of assessment. Also, in a similar manner, it was determined that the tasks that were expected from the instructors in the framework of performance-based assessment were not fulfilled by the majority of the instructors. The study presents important information to decision makers who create policies related to assessment in educational institutions.

Key Words

Assessment, Instruction, Teaching, Learning, Instructor.

Measurement, evaluation, testing, and assessment are concepts which are used interchangeably in the learning-teaching process but which have comparatively diff erent meanings and connotations from each other (Airasian, 1994; Nitko, 2004). Among these terms, "assessment" which is the focus of this study is defi ned as "the task of collecting and interpreting the information that will be used in the decision-making process" (Airasian, 1994). Assessment is present in every instance in the educational system in general and in the learning-teaching process in particular and it is an important and natural part of this process (Atkin, 2001).

Assessment is critically important since it helps form the foundations that are needed to base the decisions both in learning and teaching to the various stages of the learning-teaching process (the beginning, middle and the end of the process; Carr & Haris, 2001; Popham, 2003). Th erefore, when the fact that the right decisions can only be reached by solid information and solid information can only be obtained through healthy assessment methods is considered, the role of quality assessment in the educational system will be very clear (Stiggins, Conklin & et al, 1992 as cited in Nitko, 2004).

Although assessment serves various purposes in the educational system such as making decisions related to teaching programs, educational policies etc. (Wragg, 2001), it can be argued that its specialized fi eld of use is to increase the quality in teaching and learning (Atkin, 2001; National Research Council, 2003). Quality teaching provides quality learning (Darling-Hammond, 1999) and quality teaching is only possible with the provision of regular and quality assessment (Murtha, Stec, & Wilt, 2006; Tillema, 2009).

We can discuss three types of assessment according to the purpose of use. Assessment that is done to base decisions on at the beginning of the teaching-learning process is categorized as "diagnostic assessment" (http://www.diagnostictestsupport.org/about/whatare.asp "What are the diagnostic assessments," 2009). Assessment that will form the decisions that are needed during the process is categorized as "formative assessment" (Murtha et al., 2006; Özçelik, 1992; Torrance, & Pryor, 1998) and assessment that will be used to base decisions on at the end of the process is categorized as "summative assessment" (Atilgan, Kan, & Dogan, 2007). Th e related literature has ample number of studies that focus on the effi cacy of assessment in the process of teaching (Black, & William, 1998; Crooks, 1988; Fuchs, & Fuchs, 1986).

Modern approaches necessitate undertaking all the three assessment types in the teaching-learning process. Planning of teaching by taking the student competencies into consideration at the beginning of the process, constantly following the developments during the process in order to identify and overcome the shortfalls, making necessary arrangements by testing the effi cacy of the educational services according to the results and fi nally evaluating the students as a whole according to their competencies are only possible by utilizing these three types of assessments together. …