As a great sequel to the previous chapter which deals with clear assessment targets, this chapter covers the different types of assessment methods and how to create a blueprint for an assessment.
Four assessment methods are highlighted in this chapter. These are the most commonly used methods:
1. Selected Response: This method is in the format of multiple choice, true/false question, matching, and fill-in-the-blank questions.
2. Written Response: This method is when a student is required to create a short or longer answer (e.g. an essay) as a response.
3. Performance Assessment: This assessment is based on observation and judgment. This is when a student is to demonstrate their understanding through ‘doing.’ This not only includes some sort of ‘performance’ but also products such as term papers or creating a piece of art.
4. Personal Communication: The last method mentioned is by interaction – both in a structured and a non-structure way. This could happen by oral conversations or written conversations such as journaling. Another example would be teacher-observation of the students.
To create a successful assessment plan, it is vital to match up the right method with the appropriate learning target. Below are the learning targets discussed in the previous chapter with the most appropriate assessment method. Each assessment method will be categorized into one of the following when thinking about the best method for the target : Strong, Good, Partial, Poor
1. Assessing Knowledge Targets:
Selected Response – Good match. Especially if there is a huge content to be assessed.
Written Response – Strong match. The only downside to this the time limit. Written response takes longer to process, so if time is limited, selected response may be a more efficient way to assess.
Performance Assessment – Partial match. This is only a partial match because it is effective only if the student performs well. Poor performance may not be the result of lack of knowledge which means the assessment will not always be accurate.
Personal Communication – Strong match. This is especially effective for a formative assessment.
2. Assessing Reasoning Targets:
Selected Response – Good match. It is only effective for some but not all.
Written Response – Strong match. If the question posed is an effective question, this could be a strong tool for assessment.
Performance Assessment – Partial match. This is only partial because reasoning can be demonstrated by performance but poor performance doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a lack of reasoning. It could be due to several other factors like lack of knowledge or skill.
Personal Communication – Strong match. This is a strong match. The only downside is the time limit.
3. Assessing Skill Targets:
Selected Response – Partial match. This method can only be used under certain conditions. For example, a student can show his understanding of a skill by choosing the correct description. But if a student needs to demonstrate whether he can play clarinet or not is not assessable with this method.
Written Response – Poor match. Many skills cannot be demonstrated merely through writing.
Performance Assessment – Strong match.
Personal Communication – Partial match. Again, this will only be possible with certain conditions. If the skill is to demonstrate how to dribble or shoot a basketball, personal communication method will not be sufficient.
4. Assessing Product Targets:
Selected Response – Poor match. It is difficult to show a product target through selected response.
Written Response – Poor match.
Performance Assessment – Strong match.
Personal Communication – Poor match.
After matching the learning targets with appropriate assessment methods, the planning comes next. The book provides a guideline for this part of the planning called “Assessment Development Cycle.” The below shows the different stages of the cycle: (Page 103)
- Determine who will use the assessment results and how they will use them.
- Identify the learning targets to be assessed.
- Select the appropriate assessment method or methods.
- Determine sample size. (E.g. how many questions will be used for which target)
- Develop or select items, exercises, tasks, and scoring procedures.
- Review and critique the overall assessment for quality before use
- Conduct and score the assessment
- Revise as needed for future use
There’s a great point made on page 98 that I’d like to quote:
“Good assessment means clearly knowing what it is you want to assess and then choosing the best method to get the job done, which depends foremost on the kinds of learning targets being assessed.”
Often times we get trapped in the idea that we must use a variety of assessment to meet differing needs of the students. But the question that we must ask before catering to the students’ needs is whether the method is appropriate to assess the learning target.