Assessment is an integral part of the teaching process that evaluates students’ understanding of a topic. It enhances the learning process and identifies aspects that should be revised both by teachers and students. There are three main types of assessments in schools that are the assessment for learning or formative assessment, of learning or summative, and assessment as learning.
This essay first discusses traditional and modern views on assessment and believes that assessment as learning and enhanced formative assessment can significantly improve the learning process as opposed to traditional assessment.
Types of Assessment
To begin with, it is critical to understand how the assessment for learning, of learning, and as learning distinguish from each other and help during the teaching-learning process. The assessment for learning is an ongoing assessment that allows teachers to monitor students’ performance daily. This also helps teachers to make changes in their teaching so by adjusting to the needs of students (Farrell & Rushby, 2016). Students receive timely feedback regarding their results from the assessment, allowing them to work on mistakes.
The second type of assessment, which is learning or summative assessment, is the snapshot in time that provides information on how well each student has done the learning tasks and exercises. Due to this, teachers, students, and their parents can analyze students’ achievements in their studies. The summative assessment reports on the academic performance of students and has fewer effects on the learning process as opposed to other types of assessment. It provides information about the theoretical knowledge of students and how they understand the basics. The third kind of assessment is the assessment as learning that is designed to develop students’ metacognitive skills.
Compared to the other types of assessment, it directly facilitates the learning process, helping them to become life-long learners and apply what they learned in the real world (Farrell & Rushby, 2016). Assessments as learning, such as peer and self-assessment, teach students how to learn to understand the information correctly and apply prior knowledge to the new learning.
Each type of assessment has its advantages over others and is used for different purposes. Teachers should understand how to apply those assessment strategies in the right way to provide fruitful learning and increase students’ interest in what they study. Indeed, there is a need for careful examination of learners by teachers and testing what methods work best for students. Aside from the students, a teacher may communicate with other academic workers and parents to find the correct way of assessing the class.
After the evaluation of the main types of assessment, it is evident that assessment as learning is the most effective assessment method to apply within the school context. Ndoye (2017) examined students’ perceptions of peers and self-assessments during the learning process. Many students reported that such assessments contribute to their learning through effective feedback, a supportive learning environment, and due to cooperative work of learners. Moreover, using assessment as a learning method can be helpful in identifying learning gaps among students themselves. While assessing the work of their peers, students can look at the task from a different perspective and improve their understanding.
In contrast to the traditional methods of assessment, it not only reports on the academic performance of students but also enhances students’ learning process and allows teachers to analyze what are common mistakes. Engaging with students in their assessment also increases critical thinking and demonstrates the academic needs and preferences of students. Furthermore, it makes the learning process more convenient for students, as they are not judged by their teacher but by their peers who have similar problems.
However, a traditional assessment that includes conventional methods of testing and often produces written work, such as quizzes, exams, or test, does not ineffective at all. Grion et al. (2018), though critical analysis of existing literature, find that there is a positive impact of technology on traditional assessment methods. Digital technology allows for changing the way how assessment proceeds and how teachers and students interact with each other. This makes a more friendly environment and not stressful experience for students that improve the learning process.
On the other hand, there are still assessment methods that are ineffective in the teaching and learning process, and most of them are traditional ones. For many students, the assessment process is often a negative experience.
This is because adults around a student constantly repeat the importance of standardized tests for their future, placing them in stress and fear. Such an approach should be fixed by altering the assessment methods. Rather than assessing how students memorize information, it is crucial to make them think and apply critical reasoning. How well the student used prior knowledge to solve the given problems can be assessed in order to improve the learning process. Due to such assessment, students will not only memorize information but also link it to the real world and think beyond the curriculum.
Implementation in Classroom
Developing critical thinking is key to success in the education of school students. As such, it is extremely important to choose proper assessment methods in the classroom. It also can improve not only the learning process but the educational institution itself. For the better implementation of assessment, a teacher should create a friendly atmosphere in the class to ensure that students do not fear the assessing process.
A study of the GCSE exam in the United Kingdom reported that school students’ well-being significantly correlated with the exam (Roome & Soan, 2019). Preparation, exam days, and results were stressful for most of Britain students and also accompanied by physical health problems due to not enough sleep, stress, and anxiety. As such, it is vital to make the assessment experience more positive for students. Moreover, the chosen assessment method should motivate students to reflect on their learning process and increase their interest in education.
To do this, teachers can apply various assessment techniques than sticking only to the traditional ones. For example, a teacher may use formative assessment methods frequently, as they are ongoing and not so formal. There can be assessments, such as participating in dialogues or spontaneous conversations, real role-playing cases, writing short prompts, and interpreting texts. Through these tasks and activities, teachers create a friendly environment in the classroom, allowing students to develop critical thinking and abstract learning. They also link assessment with engagement and communication, providing a less stressful assessment experience.
There was a study on how enhancing the formative assessment can encourage middle school students to learn mathematics (Beesley et al., 2018). It illustrates that teachers’ understanding of high-quality formative assessment and ability to successfully implement it in the classroom improves students’ engagement with mathematics. Teachers should specifically recognize what assessment methods work best for the learners by applying various approaches. Therefore, it is vital for teachers to implement the effective formative assessment.
Referring to assessment as learning, particularly peer assessment in the classroom, should be managed and instructed by a teacher as it may lead to conflicts between students. Some students may not like being criticized and assessed by their peers, so creating disputes about how well they completed the assignment. As such, teachers should explain how to assess peers according to criteria and how to communicate complaints and recommendations. Teachers ensure that students are aware of class policies regarding assessments and that each individual feels comfortable with the assessment type. Moreover, teachers should communicate with parents in order to help students to be polite and respectful during the assessment.
To conclude, assessment is a crucial part of the teaching as well as learning processes. It records the academic performance of students and encourages them to learn more new things. By assessment, students know their mistakes and have an opportunity to revise their learning methods. Moreover, teachers would also understand students’ capacities and find appropriate assessment strategies for the class.
There are three major assessment types that are assessment for learning, of learning, and as learning. Each assessment type help to facilitate learning through various aspects. After careful analysis, assessment as learning and enhanced formative learning is considered to be the most effective assessment strategies to improve studies. However, in order to implement them in the classroom setting, teachers should ensure instructions and explain policies to the students.
Beesley, A. D., Clark, T. F., Dempsey, K., & Tweed, A. (2018). Enhancing formative assessment practice and encouraging middle school mathematics engagement and persistence. School Science and Mathematics, 118(1-2), 4-16.
Grion, V., Serbati, A., & Nicol, D. (2018). Technology as a support to traditional assessment practices. Italian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(3), 3-5.
Farrell, T., & Rushby, N. (2016). Assessment and learning technologies: an overview. British Journal of Educational Technology, 47(1), 106-120.
Ndoye, A. (2017). Peer/Self Assessment and student learning. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 29(2), 255-269.
Roome, T., & Soan, C. A. (2019). GCSE exam stress: student perceptions of the effects on wellbeing and performance. Pastoral Care in Education, 37(4), 297-315.