Assessment Systems for Everyone

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Assessment Systems for Everyone

Assessment is a process. It involves gathering information on what students know, understand, and can do. It then requires an analysis of the evidence in order to make accurate inferences and informed decisions about students, instruction, and policy.

Assessment systems are built on policies that define learning outcomes, prescribe assessment methods, and regulate reporting, and decisions. Assessment systems are complex in that they incorporate the content, timing and focus; the strategies, breadth, and purpose; accountability and response to an array of assessments.

It takes a whole village to build an effective system that integrates:
1. Mission, purpose, and values
2. Complex learning with practicable assessments
3. Relevance, objectivity, and fairness

Some questions all educators need to be asking about emerging assessment systems are:

  • What are we measuring and why?
  • Who are the assessments serving and benefiting?
  • How are we measuring?
  • What are the effects of accompanying incentives and consequences?

These are our children who are pushed to achieve, our teachers who bear the responsibility, and our communities that deserve graduates prepared to contribute to our complex world. Let’s make sure the assessment systems are the ones we need, not the ones our policy makes think we deserve.

1 Comment

Kimberly Mazzone

June 25, 2015at 9:19 am

I really like the idea of assessment as a process. Its so true! Quality assessment of students involves a multitude of things. A teacher uses the assessment process to create a quality assessment that can accurately depict what students do and do not know, collect data, and then use that data to guide instruction. It involves way more than just passing out a test at the end of a unit and slapping a percent on the top!

I also agree with the questions posed that educators need to keep in mine when creating assessments. As teachers, we must know what the point of the assessment is when we create one. What are we assessing? What skills or knowledge am I looking to measure? Teachers also need to questions if the assessment is appropriate for measuring the skills and knowledge they are looking for in their students. Asking these questions beforehand is another way to ensure the assessment is a high quality one that will actually provide valuable information regarding one’s students.

-Kimberly Mazzone

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