formative assessment

"Assessment needs to provide answers for two questions:ƒ How is the student evolving as a learner? ƒ What can I do to facilitate that learning? With the encouragement of a supportive principal, I re-worked the model for formative assessment..."

For part 1 of the article, click here.

Though as a teacher I wanted to use assessment to improve overall learning, it is taking me time to learn how to assess without inducing stress and fear. With CCE becoming mandatory, I resolved not to reduce the activity to mere tallying and book-keeping but to deeply integrate assessment with everyday classroom activities and to use it to plan my next steps. 
There is enough body of research evidences across the world to show that continuous assessment leads to drastic improvement in students’ learning levels.

This is the Editorial of Issue XX (August 2013) of the Learning Curve on the theme of ‘Assessment in School Education’. Editor Prema Raghunath gives an overview of the kinds of articles the Issue carries.

There has been a paradigm shift in the way we look at assessments today. The older system (traditional examination system) of assessment and evaluation was mainly based on paperpencil tests and a lot of importance was given to rote learning and memorization. It focused only on measuring the knowledge and understanding level of the child. Marks and ranks which were awarded, pointed out the learning level reached by the child at the end of a semester and his / her position with respect to other peers in his / her class. There was no scope for remediation.
In recent years there has been a growing concern in improving the quality of education and there is a shift towards considering assessment as a means of improving learning. Assessment is an effective tool for a teacher to know about her/his children. Properly developed and interpreted, assessment brings clarity on several aspects of the course such as: help in giving correct feedback about a child’s learning or achievement.
Assessment plays the very vital role in school life of a child. It is the process for determining whether a child has a disability and needs special education and related services. It’s the first step in developing an educational program that will help the child learn. A full and individual initial assessment must be done before the initial provision of any special education or related services to a child with a disability, and students must be reevaluated at least once every three years.
There has been so much said and written about assessments that anything more written about it will be superfluous. Nevertheless an attempt shall be made at giving the topic a different perspective. Needless to say that assessment is part of the 25% that most teachers detest about teaching. But it happens to be an integral part of the teaching learning process and any educational system or process. I found Dr Bob Kizlik’s article in ADPRIMA very interesting-he starts by quoting ‘anything that is not understood in more than one way is not understood at all’.
Traditionally, assessment at the school level has been rote-based, with very little focus on understanding or application of concepts. We find this to be true, especially in India, based on our analysis of school papers. Questions such as ‘What is photosynthesis? Explain with the help of a neat and labelled diagram.’ are commonly found in school papers, and do not distinguish between a student who has understood the concept and a student who has simply memorized facts.
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