Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Assessment: Asking the Big Questions

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Assessment: Asking the Big Questions

Article excerpt

Assessment lies at the core of education. We assess students, teachers, departments, schools, and states. We use testing to determine whether a school is making yearly progress and how our nation compares to the rest of the world. Assessment permeates the educational system at all levels--from weekly quizzes in chemistry class to national assessments like the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Assessment is often synonymous with measurement. We use

summative assessments to determine if and where a student will go to college, how much funding a state will receive, whether teachers will stay or be fired, and where the United States ranks in the world of education (29th out of 58 countries in science, between Latvia and Lithuania, according to the latest PISA) (OECD 2007).

These are certainly important functions of assessment. Summative assessment is a useful tool for measuring learning and teaching. But a skeptic might ask: Does all this time spent on testing improve learning? Does assessment of learning become our primary focus, when really we want to use assessment for learning?

Assessment for learning can be a powerful paradigm shift. Instead of merely assessing the final outcomes, this method uses day-to-day assessments to probe student understanding and improve instruction. Successful teachers uncover prior understanding with diagnostic pretests and use formative assessments to improve student learning, not just measure it. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.