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Teacher Assessment Techniques

Teacher Assessment Techniques

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Published by: Fred Mednick, Founder on Jul 19, 2009
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Teacher Assessment Techniques
byMichael D. King
After the learning task is determined, the lesson developer should decide whatstudent learning skills will be measured. The decision on the measuring of contentstandards will determine the overall development of the assessment strategy.Methods including: writing samples, portfolios, rubrics, interviews, observations,surveys, and tests should be considered. Lesson developers should remember thatassessment is only as good as the purpose of the learning task, and why it is aneffective assessment of the standards of learning.When assessing student performance, teachers should be cognizant of students’success rates by utilizing fair grading practices. Assessment should be the basis forinstruction, and teachers should design their lessons and units around specificlearning objectives. Periodically throughout the school year, teachers should reviewand give meaningful feedback to students regarding their individual performancethrough various methods of communication including achievement test, individualtest results, benchmark assessments, cumulative grades, and project evaluations.Parents are to be notified of their child’s performance through midterm/nine-weekreports and parent/teacher conferences.Assessment strategies are important factors to planning. Planning a lesson shouldstart with the assessment. This may be contrary to what has been originally thoughtto be the first step—establishing the objective. This section explains why this is so;it also includes information on the purpose of assessment and on how to designassessments that match desired outcomes.Assessment is a process that notifies the students and the teacher of the level of learning that the students have achieved. Teachers are responsible for designingassessment tools that evaluate student learning. The most commonly used methodof assessment is the pretest. This method allows the teacher to assess eachstudent’s level of learning on a particular learning objective before the lessonbegins. Consequently, the teacher can set the learning objective at an appropriate
 
level for the students, adjusting whenever necessary for the students’ individuallearning needs The second part of the assessment of students occurs when the teacher reviewsindividual student folders to determine the skill level of each student. This is simplyaccomplished by the teacher reviewing a student’s accumulative folder andrecording any deficiencies that the student may have experienced in past learning. This type of individual review allows the teacher to plan for additional supportstructures for students identified as needing them. These support structures couldinclude special classes, additional help before or after school, or special attentiongiven to a student whenever content is introduced. This approach is commonlytermed the
diagnostic approach
to student assessment.In most traditional settings, teachers do not assess student abilities at thebeginning of a school term. This omission results from the erroneous idea thatteachers should not judge a student at the beginning of a school term but shouldinstead wait to discover the student’s level of skill attainment. Using this approach,teachers often do not discover a student’s deficiencies until the middle of the schoolyear, when the introduction of new skills is at its highest level. To be effective in thediagnostic approach to assessment, the teacher needs to know
before
the schoolyear starts what students’ performance levels are so that timely and necessaryadjustments in content selection and activity design can be made.Designing assessment strategies is one of the most complex tasks for teachers toachieve. Recently, new strategies for student assessment have emerged that gobeyond traditional assessments. These include alternative assessment strategies(also called authentic assessment and performance-based assessment), which allowstudents to demonstrate their learning in a real-life application. These types of assessments, which require the teacher and the students to go beyond thetraditional paper/pencil technique, can bring about some of the most powerfullearning in the classroom.In any case, when reviewing a teacher’s methods of assessment, theseconsiderations should be made. First of all, the assessment should include a directcorrelation to the desired learning; in other words, an assessment is fair because itmeasures only what was actually taught and does not attempt to trick or mislead.Another variable is the percentage of students who are succeeding at the learning.
 
Assessment and instruction are an ongoing process, and effective teacherscontinually monitor the success rate for every student in the class, reteachingwhenever necessary and providing individual attention when the concepts are notmastered by certain students. In the traditional classroom setting, teachers assigngrades or grade averages to determine the student success rate. It is theevaluator’s responsibility to ensure that teachers are assessing studentperformance correctly and that they are using a variety of approaches toassessment design.
REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS FOR TEACHER ASSESSMENT
 There are a number of different ways by which the cognitive coach can guideteacher performance in this area. These include student success rates as reflectedin their grades (
 A
,
B
,
C
, etc.); the teacher’s utilization of alternative assessmentstrategies; and the teacher’s utilization of diagnostic information to assess whole-class competencies and individual student skill development. One method of guiding the teacher’s ability to implement assessment strategies is to have theteacher reflect on methods of assessment through the reflective questionsrepresented (Exhibit 2-1) Reflective Questions for Teacher Assessment.
Exhibit 2-1Reflective Questions for Teacher Assessment
How do you use assessment strategies to plan for instruction?
How often do you share diagnostic/evaluative information with individualstudents? What methods do you use to share this information with yourstudents?
What methods do you use to evaluate daily student performance in yourclassroom?
Discuss the process you use to determine student grades.
What methods do you use to encourage quality work from your students?
Discuss how you use each of the following to assess and increase studentperformance:
o
standardized tests
o
criterion-referenced tests
o
teacher-made tests
o
performance-based projects and activities

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