Techniques for Guaranteeing Quality Classroom Assessments
Classroom assessment is a major responsibility of any and all teachers. However, as weighty as the term actually is, it’s also a very broad and potentially vague one. Do you know what classroom assessment really entails? Are you on top of all your duties with respect to it? In this article, we cover what every teacher must know about classroom assessments and how educators can guarantee that their evaluations remain top-quality.
One responsibility of a classroom teacher is guaranteeing quality in teaching and assessment methods. Classroom assessment is an approach designed to assist teachers in discovering what students are learning and how well they have acquired the content and skills that were taught. This approach is based on observing learning situations and trying to improve them. Because quality assessment is focused on learning, it demands student involvement. Student commitment will result in a mutually beneficial teacher–student relationship: by participating, students will share their knowledge with the teacher, who will in turn analyze the best ways to approach learning situations for the group. As a result of this two-way collaboration, teachers will gain new insights and help students achieve classroom goals.
Quality assessment must link these interrelated aspects: what students bring to the classroom, their learning styles, and a classroom focus on integration of knowledge instead of breadth of coverage. This implies analyzing a student’s entire conceptual network when planning. Textbook authors often design the material used in class, offering assessment material such as worksheets, activities, and quizzes based on the topics presented in the book. Remember that course materials are not the only devices at your disposal. It’s essential to be flexible enough to decipher student needs and act accordingly. You’ll need to develop both formal and informal assessment skills to make the most of the learning experience. Well-prepared teachers tend to construct their own assessment material in relation to the area they plan to explore with students.
Teachers face several challenges when designing assessment material. For starters, teacher-designed testing materials should guarantee that the aims of assessment (focus, level of achievement) are followed as defined during planning. Testing activities should also be designed after considering what students already know and what they should know or need to learn. The answers to these questions will help teachers ensure they’re on the right track. Assessment material should never exceed the students’ grasp, because it will obviously affect the students’ performance, and potentially their confidence.
Quality assessment methods are also based on a persistent use of informal or formative assessment, where the amount depends on what the teacher wants to assess, the size of the class, and the age and preferences of the students. This type of assessment is followed by feedback to the students on their strengths and weaknesses, and suggestions on how to improve, as well as an adjustment of lesson and or unit plans.
Two of the aims of quality teaching and learning are generating student motivation and strengthening their self-esteem. These are achieved by creating a mistake-friendly environment, where errors are seen as part of the learning process and teachers avoid a dynamic where students are constantly being corrected. This is the rule to achieve a higher rate of collaborative work and better performance. But you must abide by the correction criteria, and make those clear for students, so they can pick up on mistakes.
Are you putting best practices to work when it comes to the evaluations you’re using in your classroom? Are you really using the most effective method? If you need more than a brush-up on the basics, check out our other articles on the topic: