"One of the things that I really find valuable...
with assessment is having the kids... reflect on their goals.
What goals did you meet? What goals did you not meet? Why
did you not meet these goals? What could you do next time...
to meet those goals? What goals are you going to set...?"
6th Grade Teacher, Picacho Middle School
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Few aspects of education pose knottier problems for teachers
and students than issues of assessment and evaluation. While
the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, it is helpful
to distinguish between them. Some educators are using the
terms informal and formal assessment to make the same distinction.
means looking at what students can do in order to determine
what they need to learn to do next. That is, assessment, whether
of individual students or an entire group, is done to enhance
learning and inform instruction. Typically assessment is holistic,
often recorded anecdotally, via checklists, or simply as "credit"
or "no credit."
Evaluation occurs after a concept or skill has been taught
and practiced, and is recorded via a grade or scaled score,
indicating the level of achievement or degree of competence
a student has attained. Graded writing assignments, test scores,
and report cards are common examples of evaluation.
A particular mechanism might serve as a tool for either assessment
or evaluation, depending on how it is used. Written work,
a performance, or even an objective test could be used either
to assess student capabilities to determine further instructional
steps, or to provide a quantifiable evaluation of performance.
Effective instruction is directly linked to thoughtful assessment
and evaluation. As effective teachers develop curriculum,
they are conscious of the ways in which both they and their
students will assess progress and developing understandings.
Assessment becomes an organic component of classroom instruction,
and evaluation in such classrooms is designed to target the
specific knowledge, skills, and understandings identified
by curricular standards, presented via explicit instruction,
and practiced as students develop mastery.
In Workshop 7, teachers focus on issues of both assessment
and evaluation as they discuss both theoretical concerns and
practical strategies for responding to student efforts.
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For a complete guide to the workshop session activities,
download and print our Support Materials.