Overheads for Unit 2—Chapter 2 (Role of Assessment in
Review of Unit 1
- Assessment (esp. standardized tests) is both a political and professional issue
- Externally-mandated tests are used as both barometers and levers of educational reform
- Test results:
- Are not self-interpreting
- Come in great variety
- Serve a variety of purposes
- Fairness is always a big issue
- There are different definitions, some of which conflict
- Different definitions serve different social goals (e.g., improvement vs. equalization of school achievement)
What is "assessment"?
- It is an evidence-gathering procedure for making a decisions
- The procedure can be formal or informal
- Tests are formal assessments and therefore can provide more systematic
and more objective evidence. They supplement informal
What decisions benefit from systematic assessment (i.e., high quality information)?
- How realistic are my plans for these students?
- How should I group students?
- Are my students ready for the next learning experience?
- How well are my students meeting my learning goals for them?
- How far are my students progressing beyond the minimum?
- When would a review be most useful?
- What learning problems are students having?
- Which students need to be referred for help?
- Which students have poor insight into their performance?
- What grades should I assign?
- What do I tell parents about their children’s progress?
- How effective was my teaching??
Distinction between Assessment, Test, and Measurement
Assessment = Any procedure (formal or informal) used to
obtain information about student performance. Used to make a value
judgment about learning, etc.
Test = A particular type of assessment. It generally fits
- Consists of a set of questions
- Administered during a fixed time period (e.g., 1-2 hours)
- Give under reasonably comparable conditions for all students
Measurement = A process of assigning numbers to
individuals or their characteristics according to specified rules.
This quantifies the value judgment.
NOTE: Each term is successively more limited in scope.
General Principles for Classroom Assessment
- Set clear learning objectives
- Assessments should be appropriate (relevant) for those objectives
- A variety of objectives therefore generally requires a variety of assessment techniques
- Know the limitations of each form of assessment (e.g., sampling error, measurement error)
- Don’t forget that assessments are a means, not an end in themselves. That is, don’t forget their purpose.
Assessment as an Essential Link in the Teaching-Learning Process
- Signals to students what they should learn
- Provides feedback to students about their learning
- Provides feedback to teachers about student learning, appropriateness of instruction, and appropriateness of goals
- Allows both to modify their behavior to be more effective
Maximal vs. typical (content)
Different Kinds of Assessment
- test of the "can do" (e.g., aptitude, ability, and
- right/wrong answers
- assessment of the "will do" (e.g., vocational interest or
- no right or wrong answers
Fixed-choice vs. complex performance (format)
- "selection" item
- cost effective
- cannot measure complex performance
- requires reproduction only, not production
- Complex performance
- "supply" item
- not statistically reliable
- costly in time
- measures complex performance
- requires production, not just reproduction
These two are actually ends of a continuum ranging from questions
requiring simple, fixed responses to those requiring free, complex
Location in instructional process (purpose)
Type of interpretation
- Placement (have entry skills needed for instruction?)
- Formative (how is learning going? What snags?)
- Diagnostic (what are the causes of persistent learning problems?)
- Summative (how much was learned? What grade should be assigned?)
- Scores are compared to other students (e.g., rank, percentile) in a
clearly defined group (e.g., same classroom, all American students of the
same race and age)
- Scores are compared to an external standard (e.g, basic, proficient, advanced) in a clearly defined domain of performance (e.g., reading in 8th grade)
- Informal vs. formal
- Individual vs. group
- Mastery vs. survey
- Supply vs. selection
- Speed vs. power
- Objective vs. subjective
- Formal vs. informal
More Detail on Norm- vs. Criterion-Referenced Test Interpretations
- Require specification of achievement domain to be measured
- Require relevant, representative sample of test items
- Use same types of test items
- Use same rules for item writing (except item difficulty)
- Judged by same technical standards (validity, reliability)
- Useful in educational assessment
- Domain coverage
- Norm: Covers larger domain, meaning fewer items for each specific
- Criterion: Covers narrower domain, with more items per task
- Focus on discrimination vs. description
- Norm: emphasizes discriminating among individuals’ learning levels
- Criterion: emphasizes describing an individual’s level of
- Concern with item difficulty levels
- Norm: favors items that discriminate (that is, favors items of average difficulty and eliminates very easy or very hard items)
- Criterion: matches item difficulty to learning tasks, so may include
many easy items
- Standard for comparison
- Norm: Requires clearly defined group of students
- Criterion: Requires clearly defined achievement
Instruction and assessment are interacting partners in promoting