Educational assessment refers to the systematic and continuous process through which data on the level of knowledge, skills, and attitudes of students is documented to improve the existing programs and make learning easier.
There are the following types of educational assessment tools currently in use in various countries:
- Initial assessment tools – include tests that are conducted for admission to measure individual skill and eventually to place the student in a given class
- Formative assessment tools – used throughout the course and include assignments, quizzes, drafts and oral questions in class which assesses the understanding of the student.
- Summative assessment tools – take the form of exams and projects handed out at the end of a course and which are graded to summarize what the student has been able to learn.
- Diagnostic assessment tools – this are specifically designed for students with difficulties during the learning process
- Formal assessment tools – are all those where answers are written down, and a grade is given
- Informal assessment tools – are more casual in nature and include participation, peer evaluation, self-evaluation, and discussions and so on.
- Internal assessment tools – are made up of those assessments that are set and marked by the school a student is in
- External assessment tools – used by a governing body and marked by personnel who are not biased
In most countries, education is based on a standard-based system. Such a system is one where the government sets the standard for uniform student attainment including a definition of the skills to be attained at each level. A curriculum uses these standards to plan the objectives of education and consequently, student assessment is geared towards attaining the set standards, for example when assessing custom research papers and other assignments.
While this is an effective strategy, the existing assessment tools can be made more effective in some ways. The first strategy would for there to be standardized tests which can be used across different student populations while still giving sensible results that can be used in policy making. Other possible strategies to improve assessment tools include:
- To improve the capacity of teachers to assess student skill and knowledge against the set governmental standards by providing a detailed guide on how assessments should be carried out and marked.
- To strengthen the moderation process that takes place between teachers and between schools. There should be some uniformity across the platform.
- Regulating the use of summative assessment. While summative tools are intended to measure learning outcomes, the amount of pressure they come with is counterproductive to the learning process.
- Balancing the scales between external assessment and internal assessment. Each of these types has their advantages but at the same time, become disadvantageous when used as the sole assessment tool.
- Integrating formative assessment tools into the assessment framework. Such tools would ensure that there is a frequent and interactive assessment of each student in a continuous manner throughout the learning process.
With the above recommendations, education assessment tools are going to become better and more inclusive for all schools as well as for individual students.
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