The overall goal of assessment is to improve student learning. Assessment provides students, parents/guardians, and teachers with valid information concerning student progress and their attainment of the exptected curriculum/IEP. Assessment should always be viewed as information to improve student achievement. Assessments are based on the levels of achievement and standards developed for those curricular goals appropriate for the grade or those listed in the IEP. Assessment and evaluation measure whether or not learning and/or learning objectives are being met. One could look at assessment and evaluation as the journey (assessment) versus the snapshot (evaluation). Assessment requires the gathering of evidence of student performance over a period of time to measure learning and understanding. Evidence of learning could take the form of dialogue, journals, written work, portfolios, tests along with many other learning tasks. Evaluation on the other hand occurs when a mark is assigned after the completion of a task, test, quiz, lesson or learning activity. A mark on a spelling test will determine if the child can spell the given words and would be seen as an evaluation. Assessment would be a review of journal entries, written work, presentation, research papers, essays, story writing, tests, exams etc. and will demonstrate a sense of more permanent learning and clearer picture of a student's ability. Although a child may receive high marks in spelling test, if he/she can't apply correct spelling in every day work, the high spelling test marks (evaluations) matter little.
Effective teachers will use both assessment and evaluation techniques regularly and on a daily basis to improve student learning and to guide instruction.
Assessment, Evaluation, and Report Card Marks or Final Grades
Ongoing assessment and certain evaluations will make up final marks and/or report card grades. For instance, let's say I am ready to give a final/report card mark for language/English. Here is one example on how I would come up with that mark:
- 15% for notes done in class
- 10% for participation in group work
- 5% for homework completion
- 20% for a book report which was marked for content, conventions, grammar, process, understanding and spelling
- 20% which reflects the mean average of 3 quizzes given
- 20% for an oral presentation for which I was evaluating reasoning, oral communication and organization
- 10% Weekly spelling and grammar quizzes
The most important element of assessment and evaluation is to provide information for improved student performance. When one looks at a mark of 65% or a C in Language/English, it is important to know how the student can improve to receive a 75% or a B next time. Look at the evidence and work with the teacher to determine the areas of strength and the areas of weakness to improve overall learning.