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Lesson 5.8: Assessing Progress and Performance
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9. Assessing Progress and Performance
- Summative assessment looks back and makes a judgment on what has already been learnt. It is often conducted in the form of tests that are graded, telling students their attainment on the questions in that test. This also helps in reporting outcomes.
- Formative assessment (or assessment for learning) is quite different, being more informal and diagnostic in nature. Teachers use it as part of the learning process, for example questioning to check whether students have understood something. The outcomes of this assessment are then used to change the next learning experience. Monitoring and feedback are part of formative assessment.
- Understand what they are expected to learn
- Know where they are now with that learning
- Understand how they can make progress (that is, what to study and how to study) and know when they have reached the goals and expected outcomes.
- Before: Assessing before the teaching begins can help you identify what the students know and can do prior to instruction. It determines the baseline and gives you a starting point for planning your teaching. Enhancing your understanding of what your students know reduces the chance of reteaching the students something they have already mastered or omitting something they possibly should (but do not yet) know or understand.
- During: Assessing during classroom teaching involves checking if students are learning and improving. This will help you make adjustments in your teaching methodology, resources and activities. It will help you understand how the student is progressing towards the desired objective and how successful your teaching is.
- After: Assessment that occurs after teaching confirms what students have learnt and shows you who has learnt and who still needs support. This will allow you to assess the effectiveness of your teaching goal.
Before: being clear about what your students will learn
Before: knowing where students are in their learning
- Ask the students to work in pairs to make a mind map or list of what they already know about that topic, giving them enough time to complete it but not too long for those with few ideas. You should then review the mind maps or lists.
- Write the important vocabulary on the board and ask for volunteers to say what they know about each word. Then ask the rest of the class to put their thumbs up if they understand the word, thumbs down if they know very little or nothing, and thumbs horizontal if they know something.
During: ensuring students’ progress in learning
- helping students know their strengths and how they might further improve
- being clear about what needs further development
- being positive about how they might develop their learning, checking that they understand and feel able to use the advice.
- go back over some work that you thought they knew already
- group students according to needs, giving them differentiated tasks
- encourage students to decide for themselves which of several resources they need to study so that they can ‘fill their own gap’
- use ‘low entry, high ceiling’ tasks so that all students can make progress – these are designed so that all students can start the task but the more able ones are not restricted and can progress to extend their learning.
After: collecting and interpreting evidence, and planning ahead
- find out how well your students are doing
- use this to inform your planning for the next lesson
- feed it back to students
Collecting information or evidence
- Collect information from a variety of sources – from your own experience, the student, other students, other teachers, parents and community members.
- Assess students individually, in pairs and in groups, and promote self-assessment. Using different methods is important, as no single method can provide all the information you need. Different ways of collecting information about the students’ learning and progress include observing, listening, discussing topics and themes, and reviewing written class and homework.
- noting down what you observe while teaching–learning is going on in a diary/notebook/register
- keeping samples of students’ work (written, art, craft, projects, poems, etc.) in a portfolio
- preparing every student’s profile
- noting down any unusual incidents, changes, problems, strengths and learning evidences of students