Basic Issues

Basic Definitions 

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These definitions are quoted directly from the video.

Assessment is the process of observing a sample of a student's behavior and drawing inferences about the student's knowledge and abilities.

Informal assessments are those assessments that result from teachers' spontaneous day-to-day observations of how students behave and perform in class.

Formal assessments are preplanned, systematic attempts by the teacher to ascertain what students have learned.

Paper-pencil assessments are tests where students provide written responses to written items.

Performance assessments are assessments in which students demonstrate their knowledge and skills in a non-written fashion.

Performance Based Assessment

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Product vs process
Individual vs group
Restricted vs extended performance
Static vs dynamic

Guidelines for Performance Assessments

    1.    Tasks should be defined clearly and unambiguously.
    2.    The teacher must specify the scoring criteria in advance.
    3.    The teacher must be sure to standardize administration procedures as much as possible.
    4.    The teacher should encourage students to ask questions when tasks are not clear.

Uses of Assessment

Evaluation as feedback

  • Evaluation provides information to students on their strengths and weaknesses. 
  • The more specific the feedback, the more effective it is likely to be.
  • Evaluation provides feedback to teachers on the effectiveness of their instruction.

Evaluation as information

  • Provides information to parents.
  • Helps select students for classes, opportunities and even careers.
  • Provides accountability data to administration.

Evaluation as incentive

  • Encourages students to do their best.

Other Issues

Formative vs summative assessment

  • Formative: "How well are you doing and what can you do to get better?"
  • Summative: "How well did you do?"

Norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessments

  • Norm-referenced evaluations: focus on comparisons with others., e.g., a student's class rank.
  • Criterion-referenced: How well has a learner mastered a particular skill?

Determining grades

  • Establish criteria for letter grades, e.g., A = Superior or exceptional attainment; F = Serious weakness.
  • Determine if you want to use an absolute or relative standard.
  • Determine the role of performance grading
  • Determine if you will let students retake tests.
  • Determine the role of quizzes and homework.
  • Determine the role of attendance and participation.

Standardized Tests

What they are and how they are used.

  • Standardized tests are those that are given under standardized circumstances equivalent to thousands of learners who are taking the test.
  • Large numbers of test takers enable the production of norms against which individual scores can be compared.
  • Typically undergo extensive review, revision and standardization of norms through careful administration to large numbers of learners from a wide variety of backgrounds.
  • Uses include selection and placement; diagnosis; evaluation; school improvement; school and teacher accountability

Types of standardized tests

  • Aptitude tests
  • Measures of intelligence (IQ)
  • Achievement

Interpretation of standardized tests.

  • Grade-equivalent, e.g., if a child in 5th grade receives a Grade Equivalent of 6 it says that an average sixth grader would receive a 6 if they were taking the test in the fifth grade.
  • Norm-referenced scores

Reliability, validity and bias

  • Validity: The extent to which the test measures what it intends to measure. (One can determine content validity, or criterion-related evidence of validity.)
  • Reliability: The accuracy with which a test actually measures what it is supposed to measure.
  • Bias
    • A test is unfair to a particular group of people, e.g, those living in poverty or from diverse backgrounds.
    • A question is subject to multiple interpretations.
    • A tendency of tests to corrupt the process of teaching and learning by focusing attention on test-taking instead of instruction.