If you’re an educator or trainer, what kind of questions would you ask before administering an assessment? Here are ten questions to get you thinking about assessment.
- What’s the purpose of the assessment? How will the results be used and by whom? Is it for diagnostic purposes or to evaluate performance?
- How can students use the assessment as a learning tool and teachers use it as a support for learning?
- What role will students play in the design of the assessment or the assessment process?
- How valid will the assessment be?
- What kinds of questions will provide information on what students know and don’t know, and where they need to go next? Are we teaching what we think we are teaching?
- Are students learning what they are supposed to be learning? Do curriculum changes have to be made as a result of assessment scores?
- Is there a way to improve instruction or teach more effectively thereby promoting better learning? Have you considered whether student learning outcomes have been achieved? If not, how does this inform future instruction?
- Will multiple measures be used? Will you provide multiple assessment formats from which students may choose? Will assessment be formative or summative? Have you thought about how often assessment will take place and what will be most beneficial to students?
- How will students use the assessment to verify their self-assessment and monitor their progress toward the targets/goals/objectives? What standards have been set?
- Does the investment of time in preparing and administering the assessment pay off for both students and teachers?
Assessment data can help to answer all kinds of questions and inform a variety of different decisions which include determining whether proficiency and/or understanding has been achieved, whether credit should be given, and whether there has been overall growth. It is also important to think about the data and what it can and cannot tell you so be mindful as you create assessments keeping the above questions in mind. And finally, remember that assessment motivates student performance and improves teaching.