Education assessment is currently a huge topic of discussion and debate, especially in the United States, where the number of standardized tests students take is increasing.
There’s always been a conflict on the exact definition of ‘educational assessment’.
However, in broad terms, educational assessment is the process of measuring and documenting what students have learned. In a traditional classroom setting, the educational assessment focuses on identifying the knowledge, skills, and attitudes students have acquired via a lesson, a course, a grade level, and so on.
Many people confuse educational assessment with testing when actually, standardized testing is only one small part of an assessment. It is something that takes place in some form in every course, whether it be high school math or a professional training seminar.
How is Assessment Defined?
The definition of assessment varies across industries but the general definition remains to be “the action of assessing someone or something” as given by Google.
However, to explain the term ‘assessment’, one would require a wider perspective and various other factors like industry specifications, purposes, and tools used.
What is an Assessment in Education?
In the sphere of education, the term ‘assessment’ refers to the process of making a judgment by the educators to evaluate, measure, and document the academic readiness, learning progress, and educational needs of the students.
It focuses on individual learners, the learning community, the institution or the education industry as a whole.
Read More:- What is Educational Assessment and Why is it Necessary
Assessments in education broadly cover:
- The ways in which teachers assess learning, monitor progress and identify the course of action.
- Sending reports to parents about their wards in writing to help them understand their ward’s progress whilst suggesting ways in which they could help.
Basically, the assessment in education measures a learner’s present knowledge and skills. Based on the data collected, a suitable program of learning is developed to enhance the capabilities of the learners.
Let’s Look at the Different Types of Assessment Education Definition as Given by Other Sources
1. Wikipedia -“Educational assessment is the process of documenting, usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes, and beliefs.”
That’s a very simple definition which tells us what an educational assessment is. Here’s another definition that gives a better idea:
2. Assessment Essentials: Planning, Implementing, and Improving Assessment in Higher Education -“Assessment is the systematic collection, review, and use of information about educational programs undertaken for the purpose of improving learning and development.”
This definition is better because it explains the overall goal of educational assessment: “improving learning and development” But we are still left wondering how assessment is done and what tools are used to perform it. Here is one more educational assessment definition:
3. Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses: Shifting the Focus from Teaching to Learning -“Assessment is the process of gathering and discussing information from multiple and diverse sources in order to develop a deep understanding of what students know, understand, and can do with their knowledge as a result of their educational experiences; the process culminates when assessment results are used to improve subsequent learning.”
This is a much more comprehensive definition. It tells us exactly what assessment entails (“gathering and discussing information from multiple and diverse sources”) as well as both the immediate goal (“develop[ing] a deep understanding of what students know, understand, and can do”) and the broader goal (“improve[ing] subsequent learning”).
What Does Assessment Mean in Education?
It has already been stated that assessments in education involve much more than just the administration of standardized tests.
In an educational frame, an assessment is a process of collecting, describing, recording and interpreting information about learners.
Read More:- What Is Student Assessment
In fact, the term ‘assessment’ can refer to many different activities, including not only formal tests, but also performance-based activities, digital portfolios, and aptitude tests.
And, as the definition suggests, the assessment doesn’t rely on just one of these activities, but rather on “information from multiple and diverse sources.”
Difference Between Tests, Evaluation, and Assessments
Testing, evaluation, and assessment- these are three different terms for referring to the process of figuring out how much you know about a given topic and that each term has a different meaning.
Here are a few definitions for further clarification:
- A test is conducted to examine someone’s knowledge of something. The concept of test in education basically covers the measurement of the level of skill or knowledge.
- An evaluation is a process of making judgments based on predefined criteria.
- An assessment involves documenting knowledge, skills, abilities in measurable terms and then applying methods to improve upon them.
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It is important to remember that the meaning of assessment in education is different from the meaning of evaluation. Often, people get confused between these two terms.
However, there is a thin line of difference between ‘assessment’ and ‘evaluation’. Citing one example here will reveal the difference between these two frequently used terms:
For Example, you gift a flower to a friend. He makes two statements one after the other.
✓ First Statement:
“The color of the flower is red but of a rare shade. The dried leaves on the flower show that it has been unplucked a couple of days back.”
This statement is an example of an evaluation. The receiver is judging the quality of the gift. Hence, ‘evaluation’ is ‘judgemental’.
✓ Second Statement:
“The flower needs water as it is dying.”
This statement is an example of an assessment. Here, the receiver is assessing the condition of the flower and identifying a proper solution to address the issue. Therefore, ‘assessment’ is enhancing quality.
The above example and the differences have established the fact that assessment and evaluation in education cannot be used synonymously.
Finally, to Add One Last Piece to Our Educational Assessment Definition, Let’s Look at Some Types of It
Assessments in education can be categorized into many different types, but one of the most common is to divide them into formative and summative types:
1. Formative Assessments- Formative assessments are used to gather information about what students are learning in order to improve that learning.
For example, pop quizzes, unit tests, and daily writing assignments are all formative assessments. Teachers can use the information provided by these assessments to adjust their teaching going forward.
2. Summative Assessments- Summative assessments are measurements of what students have learned at the conclusion of a set of activities. Final exams and grade-level standardized tests are examples of summative assessments.
So now that you know exactly what an educational assessment is, how it is done and all about its benefits, you will understand its importance in today’s education system.
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