Aspects of assessment

A key to improved learning is through the intentional use of assessment in the classroom. Assessment includes 3 approaches that together contribute to student learning: assessment for learning, assessment as learning and assessment of learning.

A group of five teachers comprising beginning teachers and their supervisors or in school mentors are engaged in a round table discussion together in the school library  They have a number of samples of students work open in front of them which they are reviewing and analysing.
Image: When teachers are assessing for learning, they are gathering evidence to determine what students know, what they can do and where they need to go next.

Assessment in the classroom

As described by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), classroom-based assessment:

  • provides opportunities for teachers to gather evidence about student achievement in relation to syllabus outcomes
  • enables students to demonstrate what they know and can do
  • clarifies student understanding of concepts and promotes deeper understanding
  • provides evidence that current understanding is a suitable basis for future learning.

Classroom-based assessment practices need to align to relevant school and system policies and procedures, and focus on improving student learning - the main purpose of classroom-based assessment.

There is considerable evidence that assessment is a powerful process for enhancing learning.

Black and Wiliam (1998) synthesised over 250 studies linking assessment and learning, and found that the intentional use of assessment in the classroom to promote learning improved student achievement.

They also assert that the research indicates that improving learning through assessment depends on 5 deceptively simple key factors:

  1. the provision of effective feedback to pupils
  2. the active involvement of pupils in their own learning
  3. adjusting teaching to take account of the results of assessment
  4. recognition of the profound influence assessment has on the motivation and self-esteem of pupils, both of which are crucial influences on learning
  5. the need for pupils to be able to assess themselves and understand how to improve.

References

  • NESA (NSW Education Standards Authority): Assessment for, as and of Learning.
  • Black, P. & Wiliam, D. (1998). Inside the Black Box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. London: King's College.
  • Black, P. & Wiliam, D. (1999). Assessment for Learning: Beyond the Black Box. Cambridge: University of Cambridge.
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