Reimagine Assessment

Assessment is the process that we use to measure learning progress. We assess to check what has been achieved towards reaching a particular goal, and what still needs to be done. The main purpose of all such assessments is to improve learning. 

Teachers are often responsible for assessment, but learners at school level, and students at post-school level, are also responsible for assessing their own progress. Assessing one’s progress is an important self-directed learning skill that everyone should develop. Keep an eye out for more on this topic later on in this series. 

Assessment is different to evaluation

  • Assessment is the process to measure progress towards achieving learning goals or outcomes, and identifying how learning can be improved.
  • Evaluation on the other hand, is about the programme itself. Evaluation is a quality assurance tool that is used to improve the overall quality and experience of learning. 

Another way of looking at it: assessment measures progress in individual learners; evaluation looks at the results from assessment to see where the gaps are, where learners are struggling or excelling, and to identify areas for improvement or expansion.

Assessment vs Evaluation

Play the game to check your understanding of assessment vs evaluation. 

Use touch or keyboard arrows to fly into the correct answers and avoid the wrong ones.

  • Some assessments can be used to measure where learners are at a specific point in time, often at the end of a learning unit, a term or half-year. We refer to this as summative assessment or assessment of learning. Watch out for the blog on summative assessment to learn more about this topic.

  • Assessment can also serve a formative purpose. Such assessment typically includes cycles of learning and feedback to produce a particular artefact such as a play, an essay or piece of art. Learning towards creating the artefact is measured or checked at different points along the learning journey, and feedback given on how to improve. The learner uses this feedback to improve their artefact or learning processes. We refer to this as formative assessment or assessment for learning. Keep an eye out for the blog on formative assessment to learn more!

  • We can also teach our learners to assess their own progress. We refer to this as assessment as learning. Next week’s blog will look at ways to use these different forms of assessment in a balanced way.

As you’ve no doubt seen, this looks at different aspects of assessment. At the end of it, we’ll also look at the quality assurance needed to make sure assessments are valid and reliable, and how to make sure assessments and learning outcomes are intertwined – we call this constructive alignment.
This blog series is an introduction to our Assessment Course launching in 2023. If you liked the blog, and want to dig deeper, consider taking the whole course.

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