Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Digital Assessment Literacy-The Core Role of the Teacher in a Digital Environment

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Digital Assessment Literacy-The Core Role of the Teacher in a Digital Environment

Article excerpt

Literacy and assessment literacy

The term "literacy" has diverse interpretations (Wagner & Kozma, 2003). Common to all is a view of the level of literacy as a measure of the quality of human capital of a society or a particular area. Literacy develops in interaction with the environment (Vygotsky, 1987). I will argue that the environment is not only the human environment, but also the digital environment. In recent years, the term "assessment literacy" appears in the literature in two senses: One sense refers to the collection of the teacher's skills in test development, the composition of closed questions, the development of assessment rubrics, and statistical analysis of cumulative data for variety of teaching and learning needs (Donoho, 2000; Popham, 2004). In an article published by Popham (2004), the lack of assessment literacy was presented as "professional suicide". Popham claimed that experts' achievements in various fields are measured based on external measures forced upon them. Teachers are also measured by their students' performances in tests, but surprisingly, they usually ignore this indicator as a measure of the quality of their instruction. This same assessment literacy, discussed by Popham, is the ability of the teacher to significantly delve into and interpret the test results. Alternatively, Stiggins (2002) defined an "assessment literate teacher," as one who knows what assessment methods to use to collect information on the students' achievements, conducts a dialogue about effective assessment results, using the ranking scores, reports, and portfolio, and understands how to use assessment to increase the motivation of learners and include them in the learning process. However, neither definition addresses the abundance of opportunities that the digital environment provides and the variety of skills required of a teacher and of learners to act in such an environment (Eshet-Alkalai, 2004).

In this article I argue that: (a) the teachers need for assessment literacy based on quantitative data measurement is disappearing, partly because it is based on traditional approaches of evaluation and because today's advanced technological tools fully support teacher's work; (b) teachers must have assessment literacy, but for an entirely different kind of assessment--one that incorporates the skills mentioned in the definition given by Stiggins (2002) and tailors them to the digital environment; and (c) as part of the teachers' role as evaluators in the 21st century, they should also know when to relinquish this responsibility to the students, in order to develop self-regulated and reflective learners.

This article seeks to highlight a different aspect of assessment literacy--digital assessment literacy. This term has not yet appeared in the academic literature, and refers to the role of the teacher as an assessor in a technology-rich environment.

Learning Management Systems (LMS) benefits and limitations

Monitoring students' learning progress has always been required as part of any teaching and learning approach. "Assessment" is a term that includes various methods and ways of gathering information on the nature of the learners' performance--the learning process and progress in studies (Birnbaum, 2000; Schank, 2001). Effective assessment includes both systematic and non-systematic collection of any of information that may contribute to understanding the learners' place in terms of knowledge acquisition. The process involves analyzing and interpreting the information, as well as making judgments based on that interpretation.

As analysis, interpretation and judgment are processes that may be affected by external and subjective factors; some suggest the use of measurement. Measurement allows quantitative description of a particular characterization of an individual, expressed in numbers. Some argue that the combination of assessment and measurement provides a thorough and accurate picture, based upon which practical conclusions can be drawn (Wagner, 1997). …

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