It is so important to use assessment to guide instruction. Without it, instruction is significantly less effective. I gained further understanding as Sammons explains the difference between assessment and evaluation. The way she always explains it, assessment is performed when "evidence of student learning is used to develop teaching practices and enhance student learning" (p. 228). Evaluation, in contrast, is "judging or placing a value on student achievement" (p. 228). Planning lessons, delivering instruction, and performing assessment are all intertwined as instruction is altered in response to assessment.
It is important for teachers to present assessment and evaluation criteria to students at the beginning, making sure to provide the students with plenty of information concerning what each degree of mastery looks like (student examples, explanations, etc.). This will also make student self-assessment easier. Davies suggests that teachers do the following to explain expectations to students:
- Describe what students need to learn in a language that students and parents will understand.
- Share the description with students and explain how it relates to success in life outside of school.
- Use the description to guide instruction, assessment, and evaluation.
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Checklists-Sammons acknowledges that checklists are often easier to create than rubrics, but cautions that they can be less effective due to their general nature. Not only do they lack specificity, but they fail to make a distinction between various levels of mastery in an all or nothing approach. After a student's work is assessed using a checklist, he should have the opportunity to improve his work.
Rubrics- The advantage to rubrics instead of checklists is that rubrics "set forth precise levels of quality for each criterion" (p. 235). Developing them with student input increases their effectiveness. Teachers should show students how rubrics will be used to assess student work by thinking aloud while evaluating a sample.
Sammons also uses the assessment chapter to discuss feedback. I think this is the perfect place for it, because feedback is at the heart of the true value of assessment. Marzano, Pickering, and Pollock (2001) say the following about feedback:
- Feedback should be "corrective" in nature.
- Feedback should be timely.
- Feedback should be specific to criterion.
- Students can effectively provide some of their own feedback.