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Educational Assessment

1. Introducing the concepts

1.1 Test
A method to determine a student's ability to complete certain tasks or demonstrate mastery of a skill or
knowledge of content. Some types would be multiple choice tests, or a weekly spelling test. While it is
commonly used interchangeably with assessment, or even evaluation, it can be distinguished by the fact
that a test is one form of an assessment.

According to educational experts

Test is an instrument or systematic procedure for measuring a sample of behavior. (Answer the
question “How well does the individual perform).”

Norman E. Gronlund (1985) :

“A test is a set of questions, each of which has a correct answer, that examine usually answer orally or
inn writing.”

Ebel&Frisbie (1991):
Simply put, a test refers to a tool, technique or a method that is intended to measure students’ knowledge
or their ability to complete a particular task. In this sense, testing can be considered as a form of
assessment. Tests should meet some basic requirements, such as validity and reliability.

Types of tests

Diagnostic Tests
These tests are used o diagnose how much you know and what you know. They can help a teacher know
what needs to be reviewed or reinforced in class. They also enable the student to identify areas of

Placement Tests
These tests are used to place students in the appropriate class or level. For example, in language schools,
placement tests are used to check a student’s language level through grammar, vocabulary, reading
comprehension, writing, and speaking questions. After establishing the student level, the student is
placed in the appropriate class to suit his/her needs.

Progress or Achievement Tests

Achievement or progress tests measure the student’s improvement in relation to their syllabus. These
tests only contain items which the students have been taught in class. There are two types of progress
tests: short-term and long-term.
Short-term progress tests check how well students have understood or learned material covered in
specific units or chapters. They enable the teacher to decide if remedial or consolidation work is
Long-term progress tests are also called Course Tests because they check the learners progress over the
entire course. They enable the students to judge how well they have progressed. Administratively, they
are often the sole basis of decisions to promote to a higher level.

Proficiency Tests
These tests check learner levels in relation to general standards. They provide a broad picture of
knowledge and ability. In English language learning, examples are the TOEFL and IELTS exams, which are
mandatory for foreign-language speakers seeking admission to English-speaking universities. In
addition, the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) checks students’ knowledge of
Business English, as a prerequisite for employment.

Internal Tests
Internal tests are those given by the institution where the learner is taking the course. They are often
given at the end of a course in the form of a final exam.

External Tests
External tests are those given by an outside body. Examples are the TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS, SAT, ACT,
LSAT, GRE and GMAT. The exams themselves are the basis for admission to university, job
recruitment, or promotion.

Objective Tests
Objective tests are those that have clear right or wrong answers. Multiple-choice tests fall into this
group. Students have to select a pre-determined correct answer from three or four possibilities.

Subjective Tests
Subjective tests require the marker or examiner to make a subjective judgment regarding the marks
deserved. Examples are essay questions and oral interviews. For such tests, it is especially important that
both examiner and student are aware of the grading criteria in order to increase their validity.

Combination Tests
Many tests are a combination of objective and subjective styles. For example, on the TOEFL iBT, the
Test of English as a Foreign Language, the reading and listening sections are objective, and the writing
and speaking sections are subjective.

1.1.2 Measurement
According to educational experts

James M. Bradfield:
Measurement is the process of assigning symbols to dimensions of phenomenon in order to characterise
the status of a phenomenon as precisely as possible.

Measurement means assignment of numbers to objects or events according to rules.

Anything that exists at all exists in some quantity and anything that exists in some quantity is capable of
being measured.
The word measurement, as it applies to education, is not substantially‫ کافی‬different from when it is used
in any other field. It simply means determining the attributes or dimensions of an object, skill or
knowledge. We use common objects in the physical world to measure, such as tape measures, scales and
meters. These measurement tools are held to standards and can be used to obtain reliable results. When
used properly, they accurately gather data for educators and administrators.
The term “Educational Measurement” refers to any device for the general study and practice of testing,
scaling, and appraising the outcomes of educational process. It includes administration and scoring or
tests, scale construction, validation and standardization, and application of statistical techniques in the
interpretation of obtained measures or test results. Some standard measurements in education are raw
scores, percentile ranks and standard scores.
1.1.3 Assessment:
Assessment is the systematic process of documenting and using empirical data to measure knowledge,
skills, attitudes and beliefs. By taking the assessment, teachers try to improve the student's path towards
The process of gathering information to monitor progress and make educational decisions if necessary.
As noted in my definition of test, an assessment may include a test, but also includes methods such as
observations, interviews, behavior monitoring, etc.
Assessment can be focused on the individual learner or all individuals together, like the whole class, an
institution or specific program. Formative assessment will give you an overview of your students in the
beginning of your instruction. It gives you the opportunity to still have the chance to improve your
instruction. Summative will give you the outcome of the whole instruction.

Purposes of Assessment
Assessment is central to successful teaching and learning. To determine the effectiveness of a sequence
of instruction, teachers need to gauge pupils’ progress in understanding what they want them to learn.
Assessment is the link between teaching and learning. It is important because without it there is no way
to anticipate what pupils will actually take from their classroom experiences and this might be quite
different from what was intended. Assessment helps teachers find out what has actually taken place in
pupils’ developing understanding during a sequence of teaching and learning.
Teachers may use a range of strategies that can provide information about pupils’ progress, including:
 teacher observation of pupils engaging in classroom activities;
 teacher observation of pupils’ performances;
 teacher checking of pupil work;
 pupils checking each other’s work and similar forms of peer assessment;
 questioning to check for understanding;
 end of topic tests;
 exams; and
 other tasks, projects and assignments.

1.1.4 Evaluation:
James M. Bradfield:
Evaluation is the assignment of symbols to phenomenon, in order to characterize the worth or value of a
phenomenon, usually with reference to some cultural or scientific standards.

Thorndike and Hegan:

The term evaluation is closely related to measurement. It is in some respect, inclusive‫ شامل‬including
informal and intuitive judgment of pupil’s progress. Evaluation is describing something in term of
selected attributes and judging the degree of acceptability or suitability of that which has been described.

Norman E. Gronlund and Robert L. Linn:

Evaluation is a systematic process of collecting, analysing and interpreting information to determine the
extent to which pupils are achievement instructional objectives.
So, evaluation is a systematic process of determining ‫ کا تعین کرنے‬to what extent instructional objectives
has been achieved. Therefore evaluation process must be carried out with effective techniques.
Assessment Evaluation
Is ongoing Provides closure
Improves learning quality Judges learning level
Individualized Applied against standards
Ungraded Graded
Provides feedback Shows shortfalls
Process-oriented Product-oriented

1.2 Instructional process and role of assessment

Beginning of instruction

Pre-assessment is a test students can take before a new unit to find out what the students need more
instruction on and what they may already know. Pre-assessment is a way to save teachers time within
the classroom while teaching new material. It is a great way to find out more about the students, what
they are interested in and how they learn best.
There are many types of best teaching practices. One of them is pre-assessment, which helps teachers
better understand their students when preparing lessons and activities to better fit the students in the
class. Pre-assessment is a test that can be administered at the beginning of the school year and before
new units. The same test may also be used for the post-assessment. Pre-assessment also helps the teacher
learn student's interests and individual learning styles of each student. There are many ways to
differentiate instruction for students that will help students take in information in multiple ways. All this
information can be organized in a way to help the students and teachers have an easier school year. It
can take place at the beginning of the school year and also before each unit.

During instruction
During the instructional process the main concern of a classroom teacher is to monitor the learning
progress of the students. Teacher should assess whether students achieved the intended learning
outcomes set for a particular lesson. Based on recent researches it shows that providing feedback to
students is the most significant strategy to move students forward in their learning stressed in their paper
"Formative & Summative Assessment in the Classroom."

Formative assessment
To provide immediate feedback to both student teachers regarding the success failures of learning, to
identify the learning errors that is in need of correction, to provide teachers information on how to
modify instruction, &also to improve learning instruction.

Diagnostic assessment
It aims to identify the strengths & weaknesses of the students regarding the topics to be discussed the
purposes of diagnostic assessment are to determine the level of competence of the students; to identify
the students who already have knowledge about the lesson: to determine the causes of learning problems
that cannot be revealed by formative assessment & to formulate a plan for remedial action.

End of instruction
"Teaching and Learning are reciprocal ‫ باہمی‬processes that depend on and affect one another. Assessment
enhances learning in the instructional processes if the result provides feedbacks to both students &
teachers. The information obtained from the assessment is used to evaluate the teaching methodologies
& strategies of the teacher. It is also used to make teaching decisions. When planning assessment, it
should start when teacher plans his instruction. Teachers made decisions from the beginning of the
instruction up to the end of instruction.

Summative assessment
To determine the extent to which the instructional objectives have been met; to certify student mastery
of the intended learning outcomes as well as use it for assigning grades; to provide info for judging
appropriateness of the instructional objectives: to determine the effectiveness of instruction.

1.2.1 Role of Assessment

Assessment plays a major role in how students learn, their motivation to learn, and how teachers teach.

Assessment is used for various purposes.

Assessment for learning: where assessment helps teachers gain insight into what students understand in
order to plan and guide instruction, and provide helpful feedback to students.
Assessment as learning: where students develop an awareness of how they learn and use that
awareness to adjust and advance their learning, taking an increased responsibility for their learning.
Assessment of learning: where assessment informs students, teachers and parents, as well as the
broader educational community, of achievement at a certain point in time in order to celebrate success,
plan interventions and support continued progress.
Assessment must be planned with its purpose in mind. Assessment for, as and of learning all have a role
to play in supporting and improving student learning, and must be appropriately balanced. The most
important part of assessment is the interpretation and use of the information that is gleaned for its
intended purpose.
Successful student learning is most effective with an aligned system of standards, curriculum,
instruction, and assessment. When assessment is aligned with instruction, both students and
teachers benefit. Students are more likely to learn because instruction is focused and because
they are assessed on what they are taught. Teachers are also able to focus, making the best use
of their time.

1.4 Principles of Assessment

Principle 1 - Assessment should be valid

Validity ensures that assessment tasks and associated criteria effectively measure
student attainment of the intended learning outcomes at the appropriate level.

Principle 2 - Assessment should be reliable and consistent

There is a need for assessment to be reliable and this requires clear and consistent
processes for the setting, marking, grading and moderation of assignments.
Principle 3 - Information about assessment should be explicit, accessible and

Clear, accurate, consistent and timely information on assessment tasks and

procedures should be made available to students, staff and other external assessors
or examiners.

Principle 4 - Assessment should be inclusive and equitable

As far as is possible without compromising academic standards, inclusive and

equitable assessment should ensure that tasks and procedures do not disadvantage
any group or individual.

Principle 5 - Assessment should be an integral part of programme design and

should relate directly to the programme aims and learning outcomes

Assessment tasks should primarily reflect the nature of the discipline or subject but
should also ensure that students have the opportunity to develop a range of generic
skills and capabilities.

Principle 6 - The amount of assessed work should be manageable

The scheduling of assignments and the amount of assessed work required should
provide a reliable and valid profile of achievement without overloading staff or

Principle 7 - Formative and summative assessment should be included in each


Formative and summative assessment should be incorporated into programmes to

ensure that the purposes of assessment are adequately addressed. Many
programmes may also wish to include diagnostic assessment.

Principle 8 - Timely feedback that promotes learning and facilitates

improvement should be an integral part of the assessment process

Students are entitled to feedback on submitted formative assessment tasks, and on

summative tasks, where appropriate. The nature, extent and timing of feedback for
each assessment task should be made clear to students in advance.
Principle 9 - Give learners choice in assessment – content and processes.

To what extent do students have choice in the topics, methods, criteria, weighting and/or timing of
learning and assessment tasks in your course?

Principle 10- Encourage interaction and dialogue around learning (peer and teacher-

What opportunities are there for feedback dialogue (peer and/or tutor-student) around assessment tasks
in your course?

1.5 Classification of assessment on the bases of

1.5.1 Nature of Assessment
Assessment is tightly linked with the learning process. Similarly, it unites with the course of study and
teaching. For keeping a check on students’ progress and achievement course of study play a constant
role. Also, the teacher and students work to achieve the outcomes of the course of study.
Classroom review helps teachers to continuously detect students learning. It gives students a calculation
of their improvement as a pupil. Provides close examination chance to students in the learning process.
They help in the collection of regular response to students’ learning. Also, how they respond to specific
teaching approaches. It uses a variety of plans. The opinion has a deep impact on the self-respect of
students. Also, it is dangerous for learning. Thus; the evaluation includes all those activities by teachers
which help in reviewing students. Furthermore, this information used as a review and modifies teaching

1.5.2 Purposes of assessment

Assessment is a key part of today’s educational system. Assessment serves as an individual evaluation
system, and as a way to compare performance across a spectrum and across populations. However, with
so many different kinds of assessments for so many different organizations available (and often
required) these days, it can sometimes be hard to keep the real purpose of assessing in view. So, what’s
really at the heart of all these assessments?
The purpose of assessment is to gather relevant information about student performance or progress, or to
determine student interests to make judgments about their learning process. After receiving this
information, teachers can reflect on each student’s level of achievement, as well as on specific
inclinations of the group, to customize their teaching plans.
Continuous assessment provides day-to-day feedback about the learning and teaching process.
Assessment can reinforce the efficacy of teaching and learning. It also encourages the understanding of
teaching as a formative process that evolves over time with feedback and input from students. This
creates good classroom rapport. Student assessments are necessary because:
Throughout a lesson or unit, the teacher might want to check for understanding by using a formative
Students who are experiencing difficulties in learning may benefit from the administration of a
diagnostic test, which will be able to detect learning issues such as reading comprehension problems, an
inability to remember written or spoken words, hearing or speech difficulties, and problems with hand–
eye coordination.
Students generally complete a summative assessment after completing the study of a topic. The teacher
can determine their level of achievement and provide them with feedback on their strengths and
weaknesses. For students who didn’t master the topic or skill, teachers can use data from the assessment
to create a plan for remediation.
Teachers may also want to use informal assessment techniques. Using self-assessment, students express
what they think about their learning process and what they should work on. Using peer assessment,
students get information from their classmates about what areas they should revise and what areas
they’re good at.

1.5.3 Forms of assessment

Formative assessment and summative assessment are two overlapping, complementary ways
of assessing pupil progress in schools. While the common goal is to establish the
development, strengths and weaknesses of each student, each assessment type provides different insights
and actions for educators. The key to holistic assessment practice is to understand what each method
contributes to the end goals — improving school attainment levels and individual pupils’ learning —
and to maximise the effectiveness of each.
Both terms are ubiquitous, yet teachers sometimes lack clarity around the most effective types of
summative assessment and more creative methods of formative assessment. In our
latest State of Technology in Education report, we learnt that more educators are using
online tools to track summative assessment than formative, for example. Yet this needn’t be the case. In
this post we will explain the difference between these two types of assessment, outline some methods of
evaluation, and assess why both are essential to student development. Summative assessment

Summative assessment aims to evaluate student learning and academic
achievement at the end of a term, year or semester by comparing it against a universal standard or
school benchmark. Summative assessments often have a high point value, take place under controlled
conditions, and therefore have more visibility.

Summative assessment examples:

 End-of-term exams
 Cumulative work over an extended period such as a final project or creative portfolio

 End-of-unit or chapter tests

 End of the topic

 End of the task

 End of the period

 Standardised tests that demonstrate school accountability are used for pupil admissions;
Why is summative assessment important for learning?
In the current education system, standard-driven instruction plays a significant role.
Summative assessment, therefore, provides an essential benchmark to check the
progress of students, institutions and the educational program of the country as a
Summative assessment contributes largely towards improving the British curriculum
and overall curriculum planning. When summative assessment data indicates gaps
across the board between student knowledge and learning targets, schools may
turn to improved curriculum planning and new learning criteria to assess and
improve their school attainment levels.

Formative assessment explained

Formative assessment is more diagnostic than evaluative. It is used to monitor pupil

learning style and ability, to provide ongoing feedback and allow educators to
improve and adjust their teaching methods and for students to improve their
Most formative assessment strategies are quick to use and fit seamlessly into the
instruction process. The information gathered is rarely marked or graded.
Descriptive feedback may accompany formative assessment to let students know
whether they have mastered an outcome or whether they require more practice.
Formative assessment examples:

 Impromptu quizzes or anonymous voting

 Short comparative assessments to see how pupils are performing against their peers

 One-minute papers on a specific subject matter

 Lesson exit tickets to summarise what pupils have learnt

 Silent classroom polls

 Ask students to create a visualisation or doodle map of what they learnt

Why is formative assessment important for learning?
Formative assessment is a flexible and informal way of assessing a pupil’s progress and their
understanding of a certain subject matter. It may be recorded in a variety of ways, or may not be
recorded at all, except perhaps in lesson planning to address the next steps.
Formative assessment helps students identify their strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need
work. It also helps educators and governors recognise where students are struggling and address
problems immediately. At a school level, SMT and school leaders use this information to identify areas
of strength and weakness across the institution, and to develop strategies for improvement.
As the learning journey progresses, further formative assessments indicate whether teaching plans need
to be revised to reinforce or extend learning.

How do formative and summative assessment fit together?

The distinction between some types of summative assessment and formative assessment can be hard to
identify. For example, schools may use benchmark testing to monitor the academic progress of pupils
and determine whether they are on track to mastering the material that will be evaluated on end-of-
course tests.
Some educators consider these interim tests to be formative; they are diagnostic and help modify
learning techniques, but others may consider them to be summative.

In our current education system, the purposes of both formative and summative assessment are not
always mutually supportive.
Traditional assessment — evaluation used for summative purposes — contains key diagnostic data for
teachers, but this information is perhaps too infrequent, or comes too late for appropriate action.
Selected response and formative written assessments, homework, meanwhile, and ongoing class
feedback all serve as valuable activities as part of a teacher’s evaluation toolkit, if used appropriately.
Official standard results like grades A-C may symbolise pupil achievement, yet they rarely incorporate
related learning factors such as readiness to learn or motivation. What’s more, grades are not
explicit to student progress, nor do they provide teachers with information that might further their
teaching methods.
Schools, then, should consider cutting the time teachers spend conducting summative assessments so
that they can focus on conducting diagnostic, formative assessments.

Interim Assessment
This takes place occasionally throughout a larger time period. Feedback to the learner is still quick, but
may not be immediate. Interim Assessments tend to be more formal, using tools such as projects, written
assignments, and tests. The learner should be given the opportunity to re-demonstrate his/her
understanding once the feedback has been digested and acted upon. Interim Assessments can help
teachers identify gaps in student understanding and instruction, and ideally teachers address these before
moving on or by weaving remedies into upcoming instruction and activities.
Examples: Chapter test; extended essay; a project scored with a rubric.

Norm-referenced assessment
This compares a student’s performance against an average norm. This could be the average national
norm for the subject History, for example. Other example is when the teacher compares the average
grade of his or her students against the average grade of the entire school.

Criterion-referenced assessment
It measures student’s performances against a fixed set of predetermined criteria or learning standards. It
checks what students are expected to know and be able to do at a specific stage of their education.
Criterion-referenced tests are used to evaluate a specific body of knowledge or skill set, it’s a test to
evaluate the curriculum taught in a course.

Diagnostic Assessment
Another type of assessment, which is given at the beginning of the course or the beginning of the
unit/topic, is known as diagnostic assessment. This assessment is used to collect data on what students
already know about the topic. Diagnostic assessments are sets of written questions (multiple choice or
short answer) that assess a learner’s current knowledge base or current views on a topic/issue to be
studied in the course.

Components of Diagnostic Assessments

 Happen at the beginning of a unit, lesson, quarter, or period of time.
 Goal of understanding student’s current position to inform effective instruction
 Identify strengths and areas of improvement for the student
 Low-stakes assessments (Usually do not count as a grade)