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5 Key Ideas About Quality Assessment

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Quality assessment allows our teaching to be informed and provide information needed by teachers to make effective decisions and in identifying specific areas of difficulty. The importance of this is highlighted by Billups & Rauth, (1987; Jackson, 1990, p.5) who indicate a teacher may have as many as 1500 interactions with students every day, these interactions and decisions occur with inaccurate or incomplete information. McMillan, 2009 agrees that accurate and appropriate student assessment provides the information to help teachers make better decisions.

McMillan (2007, p. 6) breaks assessment down into three major types, preassessment, formative assessment and summative assessment. Chapman and King (2009, p.6) agree that preassessment is used as a starting point for designing instruction. McMillan states formative assessment information is used to monitor learning, check for progress, diagnose learning problems and specify instructional adjustments. Summarative assessment at the end of the instructional unit provides information for grading students, evaluating teaching and evaluating curriculum and school programs.

Brookhart (2008, p. 14) suggests that by constantly assessing students and providing feedback that is informative increases motivation. By providing specific and meaningful feedback to students and encouraging them to regulate their own learning, teachers encourage students to enhance their sense of self-efficiency and self-confidence important determinants of motivation.

Scherer (2009) gives her opinion that there is an over emphasis on test scores and that multiple measures need to be used more effectively to achieve quality assessment. This view is supported by McMillan (2007, p. 5) who states that assessment 'is much more than simply testing" This view is also shared by Stiggins (1995) who states ' different purposes, require different kinds of information and thus different kinds of assessments.'

Scherer's (2009) article supports assessment as a teaching tool taking into consideration both cognitive and constructivist theories which look to both engage and motivate students in their own learning experiences. Scherer encourages student involvement in all areas of assessment design and implementation with the theory students who participate will have a clearer understanding of learning goals and instructional processes. This is supported by Stiggins (2002 p761) who when commenting on promoting student engagement in the assessment process states 'This is best accomplished when there is a continuous flow of information about student achievement...to advance, not merely check on student learning. That is assessment for learning becomes as important as assessment of learning' and goes on to identify 8 ways assessment for learning can be facilitated (2002, pp.761-762)

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