Presentor: Elodia Ellis

What Are Assessments?

Assessments are a form or method used to collect and track data and information over student’s progress. Assessments consist of two components:

  • Measurement
  • Evaluation

Types of Assessments

The following are some of the types of assessments that exist and are implemented in school settings in order to measure, evaluate, and analyze student knowledge.

  1. Diagnostic Assessments
  2. Formative Assessments
  3. Summative Assessments
  4. Selected-Response Test
  5. Constructed-Response Test

Diagnostic Assessments

The purpose of diagnostic assessments is to determine student's strengths and weaknesses. This type of assessment is helpful for teachers because depending on the information gathered, it will give them an idea of where to begin their unity of study. This type of assessment can be implemented at the beginning of the school year to see where the students stand.

For example, a 5th grade math teacher can give her students a basic diagnostic assessment to see what they know and what they did not retain from their previous school year. The assessment can be something simple like working out basic math facts like seen on the picture above.

Formative Assessments

Formative assessments occur when there is teacher and student engagement, and its purpose is to monitor the learning progress during instruction. A good teacher often uses this form of assessment during instruction to reinforce the material or unity of study being taught.

For example, a 5th grade science teacher can conduct a group participation activity while reading a unity chapter by asking the chapter questions as they go along, and allowing the students to openly answer them to see it they are understanding and retaining the information. An example would be reading a unity chapter over the food web. As the teacher goes along with the unity of study, she could be asking questions like, "What is a prey?" or "What is a decomposer and what is its purpose?" These types of questions will give the teacher and idea of the comprehension of the material.

The two pictures above show the actively engagement of the teacher with the students during their course of instruction. The positive aspect of these types of assessments is that they help the teacher carry out the three following activities:

  1. Evaluate learning activities
  2. Check your pacing
  3. Help students prioritize learning

Summative Assessments

A summative assessment is an exam given at the end of an instructional unit, and its purpose is to measure how many students met the learning objectives for the unit by reflecting it on their own individualized grade.

An example of this type of assessment would be a 3rd grade teacher finishing up a unit of study over capitalization, and then giving a test to her students with ten questions to test their knowledge. The question format would read as follows: "last year in march i went to california for Spring Break." The students would have to know that the word Last, March, I, and California go capitalized. Again, as shown in the above picture, this type of assessment measures individual progress after a unity of study.

Selected-Response Tests

A selected-response test is an exam from which students can choose the correct answer from a set of answers. Multiple choice and true or false tests are examples of selected-response tests. This type of testing has both strengths and weaknesses.

The following are some strengths:

  • The are a fast and efficient means of collecting information.
  • They are easy to score.
  • They are reliable.

The following are drawbacks or weaknesses:

  • Test-taking savvy can sometimes substitute for knowledge of content.
  • Too often, the focus is on recalling information rather than using higher-level thinking.
  • It is difficult to write or come up with good mulitiple-choice questions.

An example of good implementation of this type of test could be used by a 5th grade Reading teacher who gives a selected-response test over vocabulary words from a unity story they are reading.

An example of what a selected-response test looks like is displayed on the above picture.

Constructed-Response Tests

A constructed-response test is an exam which requires for the students to formulate their own responses. Short-answer and essay tests are examples of constructed-response tests. This type of testing has both strengths and weaknesses.

The following are some strengths:

  • They can be used to assess learning at all levels of complexity.
  • They are often easier to create and write then selected-response tests.
  • They assess students abilities to organize information and present it in an effective and relevant form.
The following are drawbacks and weaknesses:

  • They require a considerable time to grade.
  • Scoring can be unreliable.
  • Quality of handwriting or expression can alter how the teacher grades it.

A good example of this type of testing could be used by a 5th grade science teacher to test students over the food chain. The teacher could create a constructed-response exam by providing a picture of a habitat with animals, and then asking questions like, "What will happen to the grasshopper population if the birds are killed by humans or eaten by other prey?"

An example of what a constructed-response test looks like is shown in the above picture.

The Importance of Assessments

The above mentioned types of assessments are crucial in a teaching and learning environment, and are amazing tools that teacher have within their reach to measure and evaluate student learning, and also their teaching methods. Its like the picture above states, "If you're teaching without assessment, you're just shooting in the dark..."