Purposes of Assessment
In my previous experiences as a learner, as far as I remember, I was normally assessed using Assessment of Learning. Like what I said on my previous blog, I never knew how important and broad “Assessment” is, until I started studying our modules in this course. All I thought was as long as my work and performance was graded at the end of the semester, I was assessed. Assessment of learning was always used to me during my time as a student – it was always summative. Tests, quizzes and essays were given to examine my performance and way of understanding.
So, while being continuously provided of more information and knowledge about assessment, I realize every single day that it is even wider than I think it was every previous day. I have changed my views and became enlightened that there is no sense in teaching and learning unless the objectives are met.
The three purposes in learning are all equally significant in education. Let me quote their definitions provided by the book Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting in Ontario Schools:
- “Assessment FOR learning is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there.”
- “Assessment AS learning focuses on the explicit fostering of students’ capacity over time to be their own best assessor, but teachers need to start by presenting and modeling external, structured opportunities for students to assess themselves.”
- “Assessment OF learning is the assessment that becomes public and results in statements of symbols about how well students are learning. It often contributes to pivotal discussion that will affect students’ futures”
This purposes of learning differ from each other but all aims for the same goal: to meet the learning objective, to make both teacher and student involved and exert more effort in progressing, developing and equipping themselves – before, during and after the learning process.
Based on my experience, most of my previous teachers, professors and instructors have done their best to purposely align assessment with the learning goals – although some of them failed to do so. I must say that most of them were successful in aligning assessment because objectives were met – I was able to comprehend the lesson, apply the learning, correct my mistakes, adjust to changes and I graduated in college, found a job and now longing to learn more. However, I must say that without my own personal initiative to improve, my learning process will not be a success because of wrong alignment by some professors. There were times that at the end of the semester, lessons were not clear to me. I was not properly guided or given opportunity to check my performance and improvement in the middle of the process. I was just being graded in the end without having performance or progress check. The consequence is that I passed but I failed.
Why am I saying this? When alignment of assessment does not match its purpose or objective in learning, a student can pass but fail. Pass in a sense of getting passing grades, but fail in the sense of failing to understand the essence of the lesson, failing to apply learning, do adjustments or changes and failing to improve and develop more.
To the next instructional designers, educators/teachers, trainers and learner just like me, I am leaving some challenge questions to ponder to selves before the start of every class: “Why do I have to teach / learn such lesson? What benefits will I get if objectives are met?” When enlightened by own answers, motivation and keenness to teach or to learn will be acquired from, during and after the studying process.