Teacher Assessment Techniques

by Michael D. King
After the learning task is determined, the lesson developer should decide what student learning skills will be measured. The decision on the measuring of content standards 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 that assessment is only as good as the purpose of the learning task, and why it is an effective 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 for instruction, and teachers should design their lessons and units around specific learning objectives. Periodically throughout the school year, teachers should review and give meaningful feedback to students regarding their individual performance through various methods of communication including achievement test, individual test results, benchmark assessments, cumulative grades, and project evaluations. Parents are to be notified of their child’s performance through midterm/nine-week reports and parent/teacher conferences.

Assessment strategies are important factors to planning. Planning a lesson should start with the assessment. This may be contrary to what has been originally thought to 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 design assessments 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 designing assessment tools that evaluate student learning. The most commonly used method of assessment is the pretest. This method allows the teacher to assess each student’s level of learning on a particular learning objective before the lesson begins. Consequently, the teacher can set the learning objective at an appropriate

level for the students, adjusting whenever necessary for the students’ individual learning needs The second part of the assessment of students occurs when the teacher reviews individual student folders to determine the skill level of each student. This is simply accomplished by the teacher reviewing a student’s accumulative folder and recording any deficiencies that the student may have experienced in past learning. This type of individual review allows the teacher to plan for additional support structures for students identified as needing them. These support structures could include special classes, additional help before or after school, or special attention given to a student whenever content is introduced. This approach is commonly termed the diagnostic approach to student assessment. In most traditional settings, teachers do not assess student abilities at the beginning of a school term. This omission results from the erroneous idea that teachers should not judge a student at the beginning of a school term but should instead 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 school year, when the introduction of new skills is at its highest level. To be effective in the diagnostic approach to assessment, the teacher needs to know before the school year starts what students’ performance levels are so that timely and necessary adjustments in content selection and activity design can be made. Designing assessment strategies is one of the most complex tasks for teachers to achieve. Recently, new strategies for student assessment have emerged that go beyond traditional assessments. These include alternative assessment strategies (also called authentic assessment and performance-based assessment), which allow students to demonstrate their learning in a real-life application. These types of assessments, which require the teacher and the students to go beyond the traditional paper/pencil technique, can bring about some of the most powerful learning in the classroom. In any case, when reviewing a teacher’s methods of assessment, these

considerations should be made. First of all, the assessment should include a direct correlation to the desired learning; in other words, an assessment is fair because it measures 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 teachers continually monitor the success rate for every student in the class, reteaching whenever necessary and providing individual attention when the concepts are not mastered by certain students. In the traditional classroom setting, teachers assign grades or grade averages to determine the student success rate. It is the evaluator’s responsibility to ensure that teachers are assessing student performance correctly and that they are using a variety of approaches to assessment design. REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS FOR TEACHER ASSESSMENT There are a number of different ways by which the cognitive coach can guide teacher performance in this area. These include student success rates as reflected in their grades (A, B, C, etc.); the teacher’s utilization of alternative assessment strategies; and the teacher’s utilization of diagnostic information to assess wholeclass competencies and individual student skill development. One method of guiding the teacher’s ability to implement assessment strategies is to have the teacher reflect on methods of assessment through the reflective questions represented (Exhibit 2-1) Reflective Questions for Teacher Assessment. Exhibit 2-1 Reflective Questions for Teacher Assessment How do you use assessment strategies to plan for instruction? How often do you share diagnostic/evaluative information with individual students? What methods do you use to share this information with your students? What methods do you use to evaluate daily student performance in your classroom? 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 student performance: o o o o standardized tests criterion-referenced tests teacher-made tests performance-based projects and activities

How many grades do you take weekly? Are tests weighted differently than daily grades? How do you prepare students to take tests? How do you determine that your instruction was effective? What do you do when your assessments show that most of your students did not master

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