The first chapter is an introduction to what quality assessment should look like. The chapter presents five key qualities of an effective assessment practice:
1. The assessment should be designed to serve a purpose for the users.
Both summative and formative assessment should have a purpose. Formative assessment should inform me of what I need to focus on my teaching for the students to master the learning targets and the summative should inform me of what has been achieved. The trick or the fun part of this is that the ‘users’ don’t always just mean the teacher. Students are included, which means the tests should make sense to the students and should inform them of how they are doing and what they are learning.
I was thinking about marking their own work in class. I do this a lot and my purpose for doing this is for the students to know how they did. But now I’m thinking I should make this more explicit and tell them why I’m getting them to mark their own work and write the correct answers and the process.
2. They are based on clear achievement targets.
Learning targets should be just as clear to the students as it is to the teacher. I’m guilty of laying out what the learning objective is for the lesson. I’m getting into the habit of writing it on the board (as my interactive board is still not working) and explicitly telling the students what the learning objective is and the students are slowly getting into the habit of it.
3. They measure student achievement.
Assessment should accurately reflect where the students are in their mastery level. In math, I find this quite easy to do as the answer is very clear and when they show their work, I know exactly what they’re having trouble with. I make it habit to look at their work everyday after class so that I know which problems the students are having trouble with.
4. The results of the assessment are effectively communicated to intended users of the results.
This should be done in a timely way so that the assessments – both summative and formative – can be used to support student learning.
5. They invite students to participate in the process.
One of the ‘users’ of assessment is the students. The assessment should allow the students to be aware of where they are. The ideal situation is for each student to know exactly where they are struggling and where they are succeeding.