Assessment is the way that teachers measure how their students are doing or, more precisely, how far their students have progressed in achieving the course’s learning goals. Creating assessments is not any easy task and requires a lot of focus on detail. It also can be a very political task, both within and outside the classroom, as students, parents and other stakeholders seek a fair and accurate evaluation of students’ work. Moreover, it can have a large effect on how a class is taught, as teachers seek to ensure that their students are prepared for their assessments, whether they are exams, quizzes, essays, projects or other types of assessment.
For all these reasons and many more, it is important for all teachers to have a basic understanding of assessment, even if most of their ‘tests’ are written by others. All teachers must have the tools to measure how they’re students are progressing in their course as well as how to most effectively give their students feedback, both formative (maximizing performance) and summative (judging performance).
This course focuses on “Educative Assessment” (also known as Alternative Assessment). The following notes the principles that guide educative assessment and differentiate it from other types of assessment, particularly traditional assessment.
1) Write assessments that are designed to measure as well as promote student progress towards “significant learning goals” (see DIUC materials).
2) Construct prompts/questions that require the test-taker to apply the knowledge they have learned.
3) Make test tasks as authentic as possible.
4) Make the test-writing process as transparent as possible to the test-takers.
5) Construct clear criteria and standards that are linked to learning goals.
6) Share work with other teachers to create better tests, to ensure fairer grading and to increase validity and reliability through systematic revision.
7) Provide clear and specific formative feedback for the test-taker.
In this course, participants will learn about general principles of assessment and concepts behind educative assessment. They will also write an assessment, pilot it, and make changes to improve the assessment. Following the course each participant will make a presentation and submit a written assignment that provides an educative assessment based on a course and materials of their own choosing and an explanation of how this assessment follows the principles noted above.