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Running head: ISSUE OF ASSESSMENT

Issue of Assessment
Nicholas Hanna
Piedmont College

ISSUE OF ASSESSMENT

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Abstract

When do we test? How do we test? Are the tests really needed? These are all questions
teachers and administrators have regularly asked. The true answers to these questions are
strongly discussed and widely debated. This paper is focused on the topic of assessments and
their true place in the classroom. This topic has been so problematic with education that the
Georgia Partnership on Excellence in Education added it to their 2016 Top Ten issues of the
year. To many educators, the idea of assessments is over emphasized and is a constantly
changing aspect of their classroom. The lack of useful data makes many teachers not want to
update and improve the assessments they use. Once the teachers improve their assessments, the
next year there is a new idea that is introduced to provide better results. Though teachers are
hesitant to make changes in assessment, if there are positive results, the teachers will grab on to
the change with much more enthusiasm.
Keywords: assessment, GPEE, teacher education

ISSUE OF ASSESSMENT

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Issue of Assessment

Assessment use and testing is a hot topic as it relates to student achievement and teacher
performance. If you speak to any administrator, teacher, parent or student assessment is often
one of the first topics of discussion and the opinions and feelings towards assessment have a
wide range from supportive to negative. No matter how you go about it, assessment is an issue
amongst education that must be addressed. How much testing is too much, what is accomplished
by all this testing, testing and the administrator and how they are connected are all key
components to this assessment issue?
Assessment is an important issue that must continue to be evaluated, researched, and
discussed. Rickman & Olivarez (2016) discussed assessment in regards to how much assessment
is happening in schools and how valuable is the actual testing itself. The GPEE article describes
the amount of testing occurring between K-12. Students are often subjected to over 100 tests
over the course of their education. Most people will agree the amount of testing and the benefits
of the testing need to correlate with regards to student achievement. Little research indicates
how much testing is too much and what could be done to make testing more efficient in
providing results to be used to evaluate teacher effectiveness and student achievement. Georgia
reports the actual number of tests required to be taken has declined in recent years, but the
amount of actual testing in classrooms seems to have increased. One explanation is the increase
in formal and informal formative assessments provided by teachers and districts. Rickman &
Olivarez (2016) state two important things must drive assessments: standardized assessments
must be quality and classroom assessments must provide a clear purpose and support teaching
and learning. This level of quality must be able to measure students ability to think critically,
synthesize material from multiple sources, analyze problems and explain responses (Rickman &

ISSUE OF ASSESSMENT

Olivarez, 2016, p. 8). This creates a multitude of issues regarding how to assess this quality and
level of learning through a given assessment.
Assessments are inevitable in the realm of education and how educators are trained to
utilize assessments is important. How educators are taught about assessment and teaching
strategies is just as important as when they use them in their classrooms. According to Wilson,
Rieg, and Brewer (2013), teachers may not have experienced assessment and teaching methods
that are deemed to be valuable during their teacher education courses. Teacher educators at the
college level evaluated many assessment strategies and pedagogy beliefs deemed important and
valuable, but when questioned if they themselves use these methods, the actual implementation
by those teacher educators was minimal. So how is it that these evaluation methods and
assessment methods are deemed to be so important and invaluable but not demonstrated in their
own classrooms? Those who are preparing teacher educators must be provided with the
necessary professional development to allow them to model best practice for future teachers; the
young learners of today deserve no less (Wilson, Rieg, & Brewer, 2013, p. 13). Teacher
educators are people that must show and put value and emphasis on effective teaching strategies
and assessment uses. How can schools expect new teachers to understand and desire to
implement effective assessment strategies and pedagogy skills when they have not been exposed
to them through their own education and learning? Far too often teachers do not feel prepared
for the classroom when exiting college. This should be the first line of change and defense when
it comes to teacher effectiveness in the classroom.
Leadership and assessment are always the first to be associated together, but together they
can either impact for the better or worse when it comes to teacher implementation, and student
achievement. The days of administration not being directly involved in assessment strategies

ISSUE OF ASSESSMENT
used within their schools are long gone. Schools need leaders who will be relentless when
addressing student achievement issues, skilled communicators when mediating the challenges
and opportunities in the accountability culture, and courageous decision makers when people
attempt to use their position to undermine the rights of students to learn (Aitken, 2009, p. 163).
Recent studies show there is a direct link between administrator involvement and student
achievement. Changes in the classroom and overall assessment utilization cannot be
implemented without the knowledge and support of administration. Administration is the first
line of change within a school. The tone and expectations set forth by administration can either
make or break the attitude of staff that are actually implementing the changes. Specifically,
principals are expected to set clear expectations regarding the implementation of acknowledged
assessment practices that are paramount in school improvement initiatives (Aitken, 2009, p.
155). When administration sets up an environment that allows teachers to experiment and
implement different assessment strategies without fear of punitive consequences, teachers
become more open to new strategies.
When it comes to assessment strategies, the constant changing of what is best practice
often becomes unclear how to implement assessments appropriately in the classroom. Teachers
are often tired of constant changes and expectations when it comes to assessment and teaching
strategies. Often teachers will continue to outwait the new and continue implementing what
they know works best. Most people in education agree changes need to be made, but those
changes need to be given time to work and show results. We cannot continue to change every
year or every few years expecting new results. Assessments must be streamlined and used
effectively not just given to provide data or information that doesnt directly impact student
learning. When it comes to a teachers classroom, the assessments that provide information on

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how students are doing are the ones that matter. If a student is learning and showing growth, that
is truly what a teacher cares about. If a teacher is provided the criteria expected for students
growth and essentially left to teach without constant assessment interruption the growth and
learning will occur. When given the opportunity to practice and implement best practices,
teachers will often rise to the occasion. We must prepare new teachers to be advocates for their
students and instruct them using those best practices in order to expect them to implement them
into their own classrooms.

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References
Aitken, E. N. (2009). Effective Leadership and Assessment Working Together for School
Improvement: Hitching the Horse to the Cart. International Journal Of Learning, 16(3),
151-165.
Rickman, D., & Olivarez, E. (2016). Issue 2: Assessments: What is their rightful place? Top 10
issues to watch in 2016. Retrieved from Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education
website: http://www.flipdocs.com /showbook. aspx ?ID=10012639_678460, 6-9.
Wilson, B. A., Rieg, S. A., & Brewer, H. J. (2013). Are Teacher Educators Practicing What They
Teach?. National Teacher Education Journal, 6(3), 5-15.