Assessment is a measure or reflection of learning that has occurred. Assessments may be quantitative, such as a test that is scored, or qualitative, such as performance rubric that reflects expected criteria for performance. For example, a writing assessment rubric might include criteria such as organization, sentence structure, and grammar and punctuation. It is important for teachers to use a range of assessments in order to get a broad and comprehensive picture of student learning. Classroom assessments may involve tests, inventories, rubrics, observations, or checklists.

Assessments also indicate to the student what needs to be done next. For example, when the teacher evaluates the student’s writing portfolio, she may provide comments regarding strengths and weaknesses as well as ideas for what might be done next. Even graded assessments such as tests serve to indicate to the child that perhaps more studying is called for or, ideally, that the studying that has occurred has been effective.

It is important that assessments of learning are linked to the task. For example, it would not be worthwhile to measure objective learning such as naming the state capitals in an essay test. Assessments also need to reflect the developmental and skill levels of the learners. An essay test or timed spelling test may be inappropriate for a child who is struggling with penmanship.

Understanding learning and development helps teachers to design a range of effective assessments geared to promote both group and individual learning. The Individualized Education Plan, a learning intervention designed for specific learners, is based on a range of assessments including test scores, performance indicators and checklists, and teacher and parent observations. Both individual and group assessments reflect not only mastery of content but also learning processes. For example, a portfolio assessment involving writing might show how it was that students acquired writing strategies by including examples of outlining and drafting as well as of the final paper or essay. Thus assessments reflect both mastery of content and development of strategies and skills. As measures of student learning, assessments also reflect teaching efficacy. Familiarity with the range and function of assessments helps teachers make effective instructional decisions. It is through careful and comprehensive assessment that teachers determine if objectives have been met.


Additional Resources

STANDARD 2 - Human Development and Learning
The competent teacher understands how individuals grow, develop, and learn and provides learning opportunities that support the intellectual, social, and personal development of all students.   Standard 2 Indicators

Writing and organizing objectives.

What developmental adaptations/ modifications have you seen teachers make?

Engaged Learning Indicators