Assessment Step 1: Know the Terms!

Assessment – gathering information on student learning. Assessment informs our teaching and helps students learn. Assessment should match your goals, objectives and criteria.

Evaluation – reviews the evidence and determines whether the students have or haven’t learned the information. Furthermore, evaluation includes placing a value on the work and deciding how well the students learned the information?

Assessment forinvolves checking to see what has been learned and what should come next; students help create and use the criteria; descriptive feedback based on specific criteria; student involvement; students self-assess; students set goals; students collect evidence of learning that relate to standards; students then present this information. Assessment for allows teachers to determine the next learning step.

Feedback – information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc., used as a basis for improvement.

Descriptive feedback – during the learning and comes in many sources. The learner gets information about what they are learning and is able to plan their next step. The more the better, as this feedback increases student learning! Descriptive feedback comes during and after and should be specific. It can be thought of as an ongoing conversation about learning.

Evaluative feedback – reported using grades, numbers, checks, etc. to show the learner how well he or she has performed in comparison to others or a standard. If used too often, student learning can decrease because it shows them that they may need to improve but not how to do so.

Summative evaluation – the teacher sums up the learning

Self-assessment/monitoring – students asses their own work, allowing mistakes to be areas of growth. Through this method, students can more effectively determine what to do to improve. This increases independent, self-directed, lifelong learning.

Criteria – should be specific and constructed with the students through a conversation of their learning.

Goals – should be set with students and it is important to only focus on one or two. When we slow down students have more time to successfully complete the learning cycle!

Goal Setting Conference – a way to get teachers, parents and students to asses their goals, strengths, weaknesses and interests at the start of the year.

Metacognition – awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes.

Scaffolding – support given during the learning process which is tailored to the needs of the student with the intention of helping the student achieve his/her learning goals.

Reliability – the degree to which an assessment tool produces stable  and consistent results. Students produce the same kind of results at different times. Examples: test-retest, parallel forms, inter-rater reliability, internal consistency, etc.

Validity – how well a test measures what it is purported to measure. Evidence from multiple sources matches the quality levels expected by the standards/outcomes. Examples: face, construct, criterion-related, formative, sampling, etc.

Triangulation – evidence collected from three different sources (products, observations, conversations) over time, trends and patterns become apparent

Learning loop – we learn, we assess, and we learn more in a continuous cycle.

Norm-referenced assessment –  an estimate of the position of the tested individual in a predefined population, with respect to the trait being measured.

Criterion-referenced assessment – designed to measure student performance against a fixed set of predetermined criteria or learning standards—i.e., concise, written descriptions of what students are expected to know and be able to do at a specific stage of their education. This relates to the curriculum.

Check-ins – checking with students to see where they are on the learning cycle. Assignments can and should be broken down into steps so that teachers can make sure students are on track. This is also less overwhelming. Furthermore, check-ins can assess how students are feeling and address any areas of concern.

Community of learners – a safe learning environment where mistakes can happen and different learning styles are valued. Every student has a voice. Every student deserves to be included! Every student deserves to feel safe!

Professional Learning Communities – group of people learning together. The group requires respect, specific meeting times, support, a safe environment, attainable goals, organization, shared responsibility, etc. (just like our classrooms and students). Learning communities can often be within subject areas, divisions, etc. but they can also include people of all expertise and interests, from all over the world (thanks to technology).

Co-teaching – two teachers (or other professionals) share instructional responsibility and accountability for a single group of students whom they both have ownership. They share resources and co-teaching is voluntary. Both professionals are equal. This allows differentiated instruction to occur easier, two teaching styles to be present, and reduces the student to teacher ratio. There are many types of co-teaching: one teach, one observe; one teach, one assist; parallel teaching; team teaching; station teaching; alternative teaching.

Large-scale Assessment – needs only to collect a small amount of information from a large number of students to determine what students know, can do, etc.

Classroom Assessment – involves a large amount of evidence over time from multiple sources


2 thoughts on “Assessment Step 1: Know the Terms!

    • All information is from the following text: Davies, A. (2011). Making classroom assessment work. (3rd Ed.). Courtenay, British Columbia: Connections Publishing.

      Very great book. It is straightforward and practical.

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