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University of Calgary

EDUC 456 - S07 - Assessment


Dr. Kim Koh

Genevive Dale, Jennifer Elmore, Victoria Hamil, Hajnal Kiss, Kihyun Rah

Winter 2017

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

WORKING TOWARDS A Assessment FOR Learning ...... 2


Assessment OF Learning ........ 2

BALANCED ASSESSMENT Balanced System ..................... 3


Creating Balance ..................... 4
SYSTEM FOR 21st CENTURY Types of Assessment ............... 4

LEARNERS & EDUCATORS Table: Assessment FOR Learn-


ing ............................................ 5
Table: Assessment OF Learning
................................................. 6
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
Table: Assessment Combined
BALANCED ASSESSMENT FOR and OF Learning ............. 7

The importance of a balanced assessment system has recently become a popular topic Table: Assessment AS Learning
................................................. 8
amongst educators as schools attempt to update their belief systems on this topic. In
many ways, assessment techniques have changed dramatically and as a parent, navigating Table: Assessment Combined
this new world of assessment in schools can be challenging. In order to have a complete OF and AS Learning ................ 9
understanding of balanced assessment, one must first understand the many types of as- Concept Map: Assessment FOR
sessment in school and how they work together. Learning.10
References.11
"Assessment for learning occurs
throughout the learning pro-
cess. It is designed to make each ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING
students understanding visible,
so that teachers can decide Assessment for learning, or formative assessment is conducted in the classroom by the
what they can do to help stu-
dents progress. Students learn teacher or educational staff, and can be done at any time. Teachers use formative assess-
in individual and idiosyncratic ment as a way to "make each student's learning visible, so that teachers can decide what
ways, yet, at the same time, they can do to help students progress" (Manitoba Education, p. 29). Formative assess-
there are predictable patterns ment can be done by the teacher and learning team at any time. Because it can take the
of connections and preconcep-
tions that some students may form of anything from an informal interview to a specially-designed worksheet, it is very
experience as they move along flexible. Formative assessment can be low-cost, reactive, and instantaneous and can also
the continuum from emergent serve to adapt the lesson plan to optimize learning for students.
to proficient. In assessment for
learning, teachers use assess- However, formative assessment alone does have some disadvantages. Due to the variabil-
ment as an investigative tool to ity, it is sometimes difficult to track and record. Much of what is gleaned from formative
find out as much as they can
about what their students know assessment is qualitative, not quantitative, and is therefore not easy to sum up in a few
and can do, and what confu- words or figures. It also requires a lot of time and work on the part of the teacher and
sions, preconceptions, or gaps learning team to plan, implement, conduct, and record. It is therefore typically used as an
they might have. (Manitoba investigative tool, rather than a way to sum up a student's learning.
Education, 2006, p. 29)

The power of assessment as a school improvement tool can be tapped


only by achieving a synergy between assessment quality and effective
use. (Stiggins, 2006, p. 2)

ASSESSMENT OF LEARNING
Assessment of learning, or summative assessment, is what is
typically thought of when one thinks of the term assessment. It
"refers to strategies designed to confirm what students know,
demonstrate whether or not they have met curriculum outcomes
or the goal of their individualized programs, or to certify profi-
ciency and make decisions about students' future programs of
placements" (Manitoba Education, p. 55). Summative assessment
can be conducted by the teacher in the classroom, but might also
take place as a provincial or state evaluation or examination.
Summative assessment is, as you may have already assumed, a
summary. It aims to capture a snapshot of students overall learn-
ing in a single instance of assessment. Summative Assessment is
easy to quickly understand and record. Summative assessment is
usually tied to one task, and generally provides one piece of data.
A good example is a final exam: a student receives a score for the
test taken. These scores can be easily looked at in large groups to
detect patterns, compile averages, and determine the highest and
lowest scores. Because summative assessment is final, it easily communicates an evalua-
tion of a student's work in a specific moment. Summative assessment is widely used in
provincial testing because it is easy to aggregate and turn into data.

However, the major disadvantage of this type of assessment is that the learning process
ends with the grade given. Students are not invited to revisit their work and learn from
their mistakes. Summative assessment also captures learning in a very limited specific
moment. It often doesn't take into account the more complex pieces of knowledge some-
one may have gained throughout their schooling. It is therefore a useful tool when used
alongside formative assessment, but when used alone can not only be misleading but
destructive to a student's self esteem.

2
"Assessment as learning
focusses on students and
emphasizes assessment
as a process of metacog-
nition (knowledge of
ones own thought pro-
cesses) for students. As-
sessment as learning
emerges from the idea
that learning is not just a
matter of transferring
ideas from someone who
is knowledgeable to
someone who is not, but
is an active process of
cognitive restructuring
that occurs when individ-
uals interact with new
ideas. Within this view of
learning, students are the
critical connectors be-
tween assessment and
learning. For students to
be actively engaged in
CREATING A BALANCED ASSESSMENT creating their own un-
derstanding, they must
SYSTEM learn to be critical asses-
sors who make sense of
It is clear that all types of assessment are not nearly as useful when used alone. Therefore, information, relate it to
schools are now trying to find a balance between them. The notion of balanced assess- prior knowledge, and use
ment emerged from the understanding that a variety of different assessment types are
it for new learning. This
needed in order for students to achieve a variety of goals.
is the regulatory process
This is to say that balanced assessment uses both formative and summative assessment in metacognition; that is,
strategies to get a student to the learning outcomes successfully. Having a balanced as- students become adept at
sessment system is incredibly important in today's schools. Though both types of assess- personally monitoring
ment have their own advantages, they work much better when supplemented with the what they are learning,
other. and use what they dis-
cover from the monitor-
As summative assessment is really meant to provide a concrete number to measure a ing to make adjustments,
students' learning, it is unlikely to provide a comprehensive understanding of that partic- adaptations, and even
ular student's accumulated knowledge. Therefore, we must support any summative as- major changes in their
sessments with formative assessments. These can happen at any time, and can provide thinking. (Manitoba Ed-
information about how a student is learning and where improvements can be made. ucation, 2006, p. 41)
Formative assessment allows for a more multimodal approach to learning that can be
inclusive of various learning needs. However, formative assessment alone cannot provide
everything needed for provincial standards of education.

Collectively, the schools that we observed are doing an excellent job of creating a bal-
anced assessment system. This successful balance is being implemented by providing
students with multiple opportunities for feedback before the final summative assessment,
as well as allowing for multiple entry points for learning. This shift has ultimately created
a more inclusive environment in our schools and a more positive experience for our stu-
dents.

Many of the schools not only provided multiple points of entries for learning but also
supported multiple opportunities to demonstrate learned skills and competencies. Stu-
dents had many opportunities to participate in group discussions, to showcase their work
and most importantly to share their understanding not only with teachers but also their
peers. Some examples of this display of true assessment balance have been captured in
the tables found on pages 5-9. While this balance was not always at its best in all class-
rooms, a significant commitment to this by teachers and school administration was evi-
dent overall.
3
HOW TO MAKE ASSESSMENT IN SCHOOLS
MORE BALANCED
A student's learning community can make promote a sense of discovery and excite-
a massive difference in their education. ment in the classroom.
Parents, teachers, staff, fellow students,
and administration all play a part in en-
suring that a learning community is
healthy. In order to help create balanced
assessments in schools, everyone must be
Regular, systematic assessment, informed and ready to support many
along with periodic celebrations of kinds of assessment. Clear and frequent
success, encourage students to do communication will mean that assess-
their best, to be involved in their ments will better serve students, and lead
learning and to focus their atten- to an environment more conducive to
tion on the knowledge they are learning.
acquiring and the skills they are
developing. (Alberta Education, It is also important to take emphasis off
2009, p. 126) numbers and final grades. While these do
have their place and will still be important
in a student's career, becoming too grades
-focused can take attention away from the
process of learning. Assessment as Learn-
ing and Assessment for Learning can both

TYPES OF ASSESSMENT (SUMMARY)


Assessment for Learning (AfL): Assessment as Learning (AaL): Assess-
The intent of assessment for ment as learning includes students reflect-
learning is to enhance student ing on their own learning and making
learning. It is formative assess- adjustments so they can achieve deeper
ment where feedback is given and understanding. The goal of this type of
used to improve the student's assessment is to guide students in devel-
performance. In this type of as- oping internal feedback and self monitor-
sessment a teacher can learn ing mechanisms. An example would be
more about the students prior students helping to create the rubric
knowledge, preconceptions, gaps where students can better understand
and learning styles. An example what is expected and how they will be
of this would be a showcase, assessed.
where students can learn from
their own project and from their
peers, and where teachers can
understand what students know
and don't know.

Assessment of Learning (AoL):


Assessment of learning uses strat-
egies to confirm what students
know and demonstrate whether
they have met curricular goals. This type
of summative assessment gives results in
statements or symbols based on how well
students are learning. An example of this
would be an exam, where students are
taking a test to determine if they learned
what was taught in class.

4
EXAMPLES: ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING

Name of Assess- Description Stakeholders Who creates it? How is the assess- Is it AfL, AaL,
ment type most affected ment used? AoL?
Group discussions Students engage in a S, T Students drive the As students are dis- AfL
discussion, facilitated discussion. The cussing a topic, the
by a teacher teacher or students teacher can observe
may choose the topic their areas of inter-
est, and if they have
any misconceptions.
This information can
be used to modify
subsequent lessons.
Participation Student attendance S, T Students, by attend- A percentage of AfL
and/or engagement ing class and/or par- grades may be
in class ticipating in the awarded for attend-
classroom communi- ing class and making
ty. positive contributions
to the class environ-
ment.
Roleplay reading Students read pas- S, T The students are the Teachers can hear if AfL
sages out loud to readers, and provide students are under-
demonstrate literacy their interpretations standing what they
and comprehension of a text (often from are reading, and how
of content. the curriculum). creatively they are
interpreting the ma-
terials. Other stu-
dents may benefit
from hearing the
words read along-
side reading them.
Showcases Students work is S, P, T The students work is Parents can see a AfL
celebrated in a peer- given a platform to tangible product of
sharing environment. be shared, facilitated learning, students
by teachers. feel pride in sharing,
and teachers can
facilitate peer-to-peer
learning.

Stakeholder legend:

S - Students
B - School Board
P - Parents
T - Teachers
G - Government/State 5
EXAMPLES: ASSESSMENT OF LEARNING

Name of Assess- Description Stakeholders Who creates it? How is the assess- Is it AfL, AaL,
ment type most affected ment used? AoL?
Essay Student produces S, T The essay assign- Teachers can ob- AoL
written work as out- ment is designed by serve a students
lined by the teacher. the teacher. grasp of class con-
tent, as well as their
writing abilities.
Spelling and gram-
mar can also be
monitored.
Unit test A test of material S, T The teacher creates Teachers can get an AoL
covered in a cohe- the test, and the stu- at a glance over-
sive unit of the curric- dents take it. Stu- view of students
ulum. dents may or may grasp of the material.
not have input on
what is covered in

Student Learning Digital tests of litera- G, B, T The provincial gov- To see if Alberta Ed- AoL
Assessments cy and numeracy ernment creates the ucation programs are
(SLAs) taken at the begin- SLAs. meeting targets, and
ning of the year by to help teachers
grade 3 students. meet needs of stu-
dents.
Provincial Achieve- Students in grades 6 G, B, T The provincial gov- To report how well AoL
ment Tests (PATs) and 9 write tests on ernment creates the students have
specific subjects. PATs. achieved provincial
These tests help to standards, and to
quantify student help teachers meet
learning in these needs of students.

Diploma Exams Tests taken at the G, B, T The provincial gov- To certify the level of AoL
end of grade 12 level ernment creates the individual student
subjects to demon- diploma exams. achievement in se-
strate knowledge of lected Grade 12
curriculum materials courses, and to see
presented in class. if province-wide
standards of
achievement are
maintained.

6
EXAMPLES: ASSESSMENT FOR & OF LEARNING (CAN BE BOTH)

Name of Assess- Description Stakeholders Who creates it? How is the assess- Is it AfL, AaL,
ment type most affected ment used? AoL?
Quizzes Small tests of com- T The teacher creates A teacher can check Primarily AoL,
prehension of recent- the quizzes. in on how students can be used as
ly-covered materials are grasping con- AfL
or concepts. The cepts from class
format of a quiz can work.
vary (ex. Short an-
swer, bingo game,
Jeopardy, pop quiz,
etc.).
Self-assessment A student reflects on S, T Teachers can pro- Primarily, students Primarily AfL,
their own learning, vide a rubric, check- can learn from their but can inform
guided by the teach- list, or other frame- successes and mis- AoL
er. work for student takes while reflecting
grading. The student on their experience
generates feedback as a whole. Teach-
for themselves. ers can learn about
their students inse-
curities, confidences,
and internal learning
process.
Language diagnos- A student takes a T, P Many diagnostic These assessments Primarily AfL,
tic test supervised assess- texts are created by provide both teach- but can inform
ment of their literacy third parties, usually ers and parents with AoL
skills to determine publishers. Teachers a clearer idea of
proficiencies and and learning profes- where the student is
areas of improve- sionals can adminis- at in their literacy
ment. ter these assess- learning. From there,
ments. appropriate supports
and materials can be
determined.

7
EXAMPLES: ASSESSMENT AS LEARNING

Name of Assess- Description Stakeholders Who creates it? How is the assess- Is it AfL, AaL,
ment type most affected ment used? AoL?
Presentations Student produces S, T The essay assign- Teachers can ob- AoL
written work as out- ment is designed by serve a students
lined by the teacher. the teacher. grasp of class con-
tent, as well as their
writing abilities.
Spelling and gram-
mar can also be
monitored.
Student-generated A test of material S, T The teacher creates Teachers can get an AoL
rubrics covered in a cohe- the test, and the stu- at a glance over-
sive unit of the curric- dents take it. Stu- view of students
ulum. dents may or may grasp of the material.
not have input on
what is covered in

Peer-grading work- Digital tests of litera- G, B, T The provincial gov- To see if Alberta Ed- AoL
shops cy and numeracy ernment creates the ucation programs are
taken at the begin- SLAs. meeting targets, and
ning of the year by to help teachers
grade 3 students. meet needs of stu-
dents.

8
EXAMPLES: ASSESSMENT OF & AS LEARNING (CAN BE BOTH)

Name of Assess- Description Stakeholders Who creates it? How is the assess- Is it AfL, AaL,
ment type most affected ment used? AoL?
Creative journals Students fill out daily/ S, T, P Students complete Teachers can see Can be applied
and sketchbooks weekly assignments. creative assign- what students are or as AoL and AfL.
These are usually in ments, with the are not understand-
the form of creative teacher acting as a ing. They can also
visual media (ex. guide. use the journals to
drawings, collage, provide more imme-
illustrated stories, diate feedback to
etc.) students.
Learning Journal/ Students fill out daily/ S, T, P Students complete Teachers can see Can be applied
class log weekly assignments. written assignments, what students are or as AoL and AfL.
These are usually in with the teacher act- are not understand-
the form of a report, ing as a guide. ing. They can also
brief narrative, or use the journals to
reflection. provide more imme-
diate feedback to
students.
Worksheets Students fill out a S, T Students answer the Students have many Can be applied
series of questions questions, with the opportunities to prac- as AoL and AfL.
chosen by the teach- teachers choosing tice their skills and
er. the facilitating ques- think about their sub-
tions. The questions ject.
may be created by
the teacher or from
textbook resources.

9
ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING
We must initiate a program of
professional development specifi-
cally designed to give teachers the REFERENCES
expertise they need to assess for
learning. (Stiggins, 2002, p. 765) Alberta Education (2009). Classroom assessment. FSL Guide to Implementation Grade
10 to Grade 12 (Nine-year). 119-142. Retrieved from
https://education.alberta.ca/media/1626359/gr10-12_guidetoimplementation_9y.pdf

Brain image. [online image] (2012). Retrieved from


https://www.flickr.com/photos/healthblog/8384110298

Kiss, H. (Photographer). (2016). Collection of practicum photographs [photograph]. Calgary.

Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth (2006). Assessment for learning. Rethinking
classroom assessment with purpose in mind. 29-40. Retrieved from
http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/assess/wncp/full_doc.pdf

Stiggins, R. J. (2002). Assessment crisis: The absence of assessment for learning. Phi Delta
Kappan, 83(10), 758-765. Retrieved from
http://beta.edtechpolicy.org/CourseInfo/edhd485/AssessmentCrisis.pdf

Stiggins, R. J. (2006). Balanced assessment systems: Redefining excellence in assess-


ment. Portland, OR: Educational Testing Service. Retrieved from
http://media.ride.ri.gov/PD/FA/Formative_Assessment_Module_1_Lesson_4/
story_content/external_files/Stiggins_Balanced_Assessment_Systems%202006.pdf

University of Calgary This project was an interesting and creative approach to learning about
2500 University Drive NW assessments currently in use in Alberta schools. It was also a unique experience
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4 for all of us involved. It gave us a the opportunity to dig deeper into a topic that
CANADA
will be of great value to us in our future careers as teachers..

Our group collaborated mostly though the use of online resources, such as e-mail,
Google Docs, and Word Online. We enjoyed working as a group, especially having
some time in class to work in-person. It was great to hear other perspectives, and
to learn from one another. We spent time talking to one-another and working in
real-time.
Genevive: began the layout and sorting of the tabular representation, wrote
some descriptions on the table, wrote the descriptions of each type of assessment,
and wrote some parts of the action plan.
Jennifer: Wrote action plan paragraphs, contributed to tabular representation
list, elaborated on action plan ideas, contributed to descriptions of each type of
assessment, and edited written work based on feedback.
Hajnal: Created the concept map (including layout, descriptions, and colour
coding), colour coded tabular representation, contributed to tabular
representation list, adjusted table for newsletter, created layout for newsletter,
and provided photos for newsletter.
Victoria: Contributed to discussions of assessment observed in classrooms,
helped with descriptions of observed assessment.
Kihyun: Created reference list, contributed to discussions of assessment observed
in classrooms, and added descriptions to the assessment table.