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Assessment of Student Learning

Michael J. Rowley

Assessment of Student Learning

An important aspect of teaching students is how we assess their learning. Just because a

teacher has taught a subject does not guarantee the students learned and understood. In order to

learn whether a subject should be discussed more it’s important that teachers use different

methods to assess what students are understanding. There are many ways that teachers assess

their students the goal of this paper is to describe the different ways of assessing students

including formal, informal, formative, and summative assessments as well I will also describe

my personal philosophy of how I will assess students.

Among the most widely used form of assessments is formal assessments. This type of

assessment will examine all students with the same information to determine if they have learned

a subject. (Kuachak & Eggen, 2017) Formal assessment includes standardized tests, will often

have environments changed or designed for test taking, it will also use scores as a means of

seeing how well students are doing individually and comparatively as a class. (Miller) Types of

formal assessments can include quizzes, homework, and state mandated tests. Each of these will

ask students the same question’s and based on their answers assess how well they are

understanding or learning a concept.

Informal Assessment’s are also important this type of assessment comes from gathering

information of students understanding through observation of their actions and replies in class.

(Kuachak & Eggen, 2017) Unlike formal assessment Informal is based on observation of

individual students and does not take into account scores or use any special environment outside

the established normal classroom. Kauchak and Eggen share the example of Shirley in their book

Introduction to Teaching Becoming a Professional describing how Shirley asked her student

Claire a question, observing Claire’s inability to answer the question she changed the wording to

help Claire understand the concept that she was asking about. (2017) Shirley did not ask Claire

any established questions expected of all students she asked an individual question to learn

Claire’s individual understanding. Learning from Claire’s lack of a reply she was able to

recognize the need to reinforce the subject she was teaching by changing how she asked the

question. This is just one way that teachers can learn about students understandings informally

other options can include observing and talking with students. Personal contact allows a teacher

to learn one on one where a student is at and put together a personal plan designed to help that

students. In observing ways of assessing students learning could include noticing them drifting

off or being distracted and calling on them to answer a question to pull them back into the lesson.

(Kuachak & Eggen, 2017) It may also include approaching their desk to ask if they need help.

Regardless of what form it takes its important that teachers observe their students to recognize

how they can better help them learn.

Formative assessments are ways that teachers can assess student learning during

instruction. (Miller) This includes assignments, quizzes, and other activities that students will

perform while learning a subject this allows a teacher to assess as they teach how well students

are learning the material and make changes as necessary to either extend the time given to teach

a subject or to provide more material as they observe how well students are learning. Teachers

will examine these material to look for places where students are struggling or exceling to see

where material requires further depth or does not require as much time to go over.

Summative assessments are assessments that determine what students know or don’t

know at a certain point in time. (Miller) This includes tests, state assessments, exams, or other

forms of testing given at a prescribed time to see if students have learned the expected material

for that time. (Miller) These Assessments are often the last form of test taken on a subject that

allows the examination of whether a teacher succeeded through out the given time frame to teach

their students all required material. Theses assessments will look for where students as a whole

struggled in hopes of the teachers being able to provide better coverage in future classes.

Regarding my personal philosophy I believe it is important to maintain a consistent

examination of students learning. To do this I will issue daily homework as well as weekly

quizzes on the subject students have currently learned as well as include past subjects and in

preparation for future subjects provide challenge questions to see how prepared students are for

new material. Using what I learn I will seek to go over those areas where students consistently

make mistakes, or most of the class seems to have missed. I will also make sure to examine

material in any stated or other mandated test the students will need to take and make sure that my

teaching aligns with what students are expected to learn.

It is my responsibly to maintain awareness of my class’s participation so will make sure

to set up an environment that encourages students listen and participate in class. I will make sure

to invite students to participate in answering questions to help them maintain awareness of the

things that are being taught.

No matter how a teacher teaches it is important that they take the necessary time to learn

if students are truly understanding the material. As teachers take the opportunity to assess and

examine students learning they will be able to learn where they can improve their teaching to

better help students learn and grow. Assessments provide an opportunity to help both teachers

and students better learn and grow in their knowledge.



Kuachak, D., & Eggen, P. (2017). Introduction to Teaching Becoming a Proffesional Sixth

Edition. New Jersey: Pearson Edu Inc...

Miller, D. Chapter 11: Becoming an Effective Teacher [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from