Throughout the learning process, the teacher needs to track how well students understand the different subject matters being discussed. Educational assessments are one of the different methods and approaches that help the teacher realize this. It is an important part of learning and it provides useful feedback that improves pedagogy.
Educational assessment goes beyond standard end-of-term examinations and periodic tests. For instance, a teacher can ask students to create case studies as part of alternative assessments or use exit surveys to assess their knowledge as they learn. In this article, we will discuss different methods of educational assessment and show you how to conduct each of them using Formplus forms.
What is Educational Assessment?
Also known as educational evaluation, educational assessment is the systematic process of finding out about a student’s knowledge, experience, skills, and beliefs using empirical data. The ultimate goal is to quantify and document how much a student knows.
There are different ways to carry out educational assessments. For instance, you can ask students to write an exam that tests their knowledge or to execute tasks that show how much they have learned. Education assessment is a continuous process and the results help you improve teaching and learning experiences in the classroom.
Educational evaluation can happen both online and offline. During this process, the teacher or evaluator can pay attention to one student at a time. They can also choose to consider the students as a group or assess the entire learning community at a go.
Types of Educational Assessment
Alternative assessment is an evaluation method that measures a student’s ability based on how they use newly-acquired knowledge to execute tasks. It is an instructor-led method of assessment that is specifically tailored to the needs and abilities of each student.
Instead of asking students to take part in standardized tests and quizzes, the instructor gets them involved in complex tasks where they need to leverage what they have learned. Alternative assessment methods help the teacher to have a full grasp of the student’s level of proficiency in a subject.
To get the best results from alternative assessments, you need to align your methods with the overall goals and objectives of the training or subject. Common alternative assessment methods include asking students to create concept maps, write reports or partake in collaborative testing.
Advantages of Alternative Assessment
- Alternative assessment methods objectively align with expected learning outcomes.
- It pays attention to the quality of work from the students.
Disadvantages of Alternative Assessment
- It can be time-consuming.
- It is very subjective.
Read more about alternative assessments
This is a realistic method of evaluation that places students in complex, real-life situations and asks them to use their knowledge to resolve them. As students put their knowledge to work, they gain a clearer understanding of the course content and subject matter.
Unlike traditional assessment methods that focus just on the students’ performance, authentic assessment is all about using one’s knowledge to solve real-life tasks. Students find authentic assessments more interesting because they involve real-life contexts they can relate to.
Authentic assessment is a two-way street. On one hand, it helps students to improve their skills and on the other hand, it evaluates how much a student knows in real-life contexts. As part of authentic assessment, students may be asked to develop a business plan for an existing organization or troubleshoot a problem.
Advantages of Authentic Assessment
- It converts students into active participants in the educational evaluation process.
- While helping students to become better learners, it also empowers the instructors to be better teachers.
Disadvantages of Authentic Assessment
- It is highly subjective and this makes it difficult to grade students using authentic assessment methods.
- Authentic assessments typically require detailed, personalized, and specific feedback which can take a lot of time; especially when you have a large class.
Read more about Authentic Assessments
Summative evaluation is the most common method of classroom assessment. This method of evaluation involves using a standard or rubric to grade a students’ performance at the end of a training course, or program.
In summative assessment, the instructor compares what the student knows with what was taught, and uses the result to determine whether they move to the next level of a course. Summative evaluation monitors the student’s performance against expected learning outcomes.
Validity, reliability, and practicality are the most common features of summative assessment. Examples of summative assessment include end-of-term examinations, standardized tests, and creative portfolios. These high-stake methods produce results that define a learner’s progress.
Advantages of Summative Assessment
- It is a standardized method of assessment.
- Summative assessment plays an important role in moving students from one level to another.
Disadvantages of Summative Assessment
- It can discourage students; especially when the results do not turn out to be what they want.
Read more about Summative Assessments
Formative assessment is an on-going educational evaluation method where the instructor assesses a student’s knowledge during the learning process. It allows the instructor to keenly monitor learner’s progress as they move from one learning phase to another. Formative assessment does not compare students’ performance against some standard or rubric.
Because the teacher strictly monitors the student’s performance, she can immediately recognize when the student starts struggling and step in to provide the right support. Formative assessment outcomes are non-graded and this means they do not produce results that define the learner’s performance.
As part of formative assessment, the instructor can ask students to respond to quick-fire impromptu quizzes at the end of a lesson. Polls, entry and exit slips, interviews, and focus groups are other popular examples of formative assessment.
Advantages of Formative Assessment
- Formative assessment empowers the instructors to make data-driven decisions.
- It helps instructors to adjust their teaching methods to better suit the needs of the learners.
Disadvantages of Formative Assessment
- Formative assessment can be time-consuming because the teacher needs to implement several methods to effectively monitor students’ progress as they learn.
- The more formative assessments you incorporate in the learning process, the lesser time there is for actual teaching.
Read more about Formative Assessments
High stakes Assessment
As the name suggests, high-stakes assessment is a method of evaluation that puts a lot of things on the line for the students. In other words, the results of high-stakes assessments are used to make important decisions about a learner’s progress.
High-stakes assessments have consequences for learners. Passing these tests means significant progress for the student like getting promoted to the next class or receiving a new certificate. In the same way, failing these tests can prevent a learner from getting a certificate or earning a practice license.
Any method of evaluation that measures students’ performance using some standard criteria is high-stakes. Because of the different consequences attached to a high-stakes test, students are motivated to give it their best shot and secure the best grades.
The difference between a high stakes assessment and low stakes assessment is functionality. While a low-stakes test would measure academic achievement, identify learning problems, or inform instructional adjustments, high-stakes assessments are used to score learning outcomes.
Summative assessment is a great example of high-stakes assessment.
Advantages of High Stakes Assessments
- It creates a standard performance-evaluation and rating system.
- It motivates students to put in their bests which helps to boost their performance.
Disadvantages of High Stakes Assessments
- It puts students under a lot of pressure which harms their performance.
- The results may not be a true reflection of the student’s knowledge.
Before students start a new course or training, the instructor can administer a short assessment to find out how much they already know about the topic. This process of evaluation is known as pre-assessment. With the pre-assessment results, the teacher can adjust the learning curriculum to meet the students’ needs.
Pre-assessment should happen at every point where the student moves from one lesson to the other during the training or program. It allows the instructor to see things from the student’s perspective and to adjust the course content to serve students effectively.
It also helps to prevent redundant learning. If you spend time repeating information that students already know, they can lose interest in the program, class, or training entirely. You’ll also be wasting time that can be used for relevant knowledge impartation.
There are different ways to conduct pre-assessment during a program. For instance, you can ask students to share their thoughts about the new subject matter in a brief class discussion. Portfolio analysis, surveys, questionnaires, and concept maps are other ways to better understand what the learners already know.
Advantages of Pre-assessment
- It allows you to see how much students know and what they can do before the course starts.
- It communicates the course expectations to the students beforehand.
Disadvantages of Pre-assessment
- Pre-assessments can eat deep into the actual instructional time and reduce the actual learning duration.
- It generates large data sets that can be time-consuming to process.
Performance-based assessments ask students to show how much they have learned rather than providing responses that simply tell the instructor what they know. In many instances, instructors use this as an alternative to summative evaluation.
Performance assessments allow students to own the overall evaluation process and it transforms them into active participants. By allowing the students to demonstrate their knowledge, performance assessments boost critical thinking and sharpen the students’ analytical skills, problem-solving abilities, and communication skills.
All authentic assessment methods are performance-based. Examples of tasks that allow students to demonstrate their knowledge include individual and group presentations, creative portfolios, journals and projects, and public speaking contests.
Advantages of Performance-based Assessment
- It promotes active student engagement in the classroom.
- It is a flexible and direct method of assessment.
Disadvantages of Performance-based Assessment
- It relies on specific skill sets like creativity and public-speaking which some students may not be great at.
- The results of performance-based assessments are highly subjective.
In a portfolio-based assessment, the instructor asks students to submit a portfolio that details how much they have learned and the different projects they have worked on during the course. The instructor goes on to assess this portfolio to grade the student’s knowledge and performance.
A portfolio-based assessment allows students to show what they have learned outside the strict parameters of traditional assessment methods. You can create a simple online submission form to collect portfolio submissions as file uploads on Formplus.
Portfolio assessment enables students to focus on their real performance, and show their strengths and weaknesses. It makes it easy for the instructor to observe the student’s progress during the learning process. More than this, as students create their portfolios, they can reflect on their learning experiences and self-evaluate their abilities and performance.
Advantages of Portfolio-based Assessment
- It provides real-time feedback on students’ growth and progress during the course.
- It allows the teacher to assess individual talent.
Disadvantages of Portfolio-based Assessment
- Grading portfolio-based assessments can be highly subjective.
- It is time-consuming.
A diagnostic assessment is a method of educational evaluation that instructors use to find out how much a student knows about a topic. It happens before a new training, course, or lesson, and it helps the teacher to kickstart teaching and learning on the right note.
Diagnostic assessments are quite similar to formative evaluation methods. However, the big difference is while formative assessment happens as learning takes place, diagnostic evaluation analyses what students have learned in the past. It sets the mood for learning by creating knowledge expectations.
Advantages of Diagnostic Evaluation
- It gives the teacher a concise overview of how much the students know.
- It creates an effective context that improves learning.
Disadvantages of Diagnostic Evaluation
- It is time-consuming.
- It may not provide a true reflection of the student’s knowledge.
How to Use Formplus for Educational Assessment
All the methods of educational evaluation we have discussed so far involve gathering meaningful data from the students for assessment and sometimes, grading. To do this, you need a powerful tool that can help you create surveys, quizzes, and questionnaires to gather the information you need. Formplus is one of the best online platforms for this.
Formplus is a data-collection tool that supports online and offline data gathering. With Formplus, you can create different types of forms for educational evaluation. Here’s how to use Formplus as an educational assessment tool.
- Start by signing up for a new account on Formplus for free. Go to www.formpl.us/auth to register, confirm your email, and get started.
- Log into your new Formplus account to access your dashboard. Here, you can execute multiple tasks like create a new form and upgrade your account to enjoy more exciting features.
- Click on the ‘create new form’ button located at the top corner of the dashboard. This takes you to the form builder.
- In the Formplus builder, you can choose from over 30 different fields to add to your educational evaluation survey. To add preferred fields, simply click on them or drag and drop the fields into your survey from the builder’s fields section.
- Edit each field to add your questions and options. You can also make specific fields required or read-only.
- Save all the changes you have made to the form by clicking on the “Save” icon. Doing this automatically loads the form customization section.
- Use different form customization options to change the look and feel of your form. Add new background images, change the form’s color, font, and overall layout without a single line of code. If you know CSS, you can stylize the survey or questionnaire as you want.
- Go to the form sharing section and choose how you want to share the survey or questionnaire with your students. You can copy and share the form link or send out email invitations to your students.
Advantages of Educational Assessment
- Educational assessment helps the instructor to track student’s performance and progress before, during, and after learning.
- In the case of formative assessment, the teacher gets immediate and effective feedback on the students’ level of understanding and this empowers them to provide any required support.
- Educational assessment allows you to create unique evaluation parameters that suit the needs and experiences of different learners.
- It gives you a bird’ eye view of the overall teaching and learning process.
- Results from educational assessment go a long way to improve the learning curriculum and teaching methods in schools.
- A well-designed educational assessment method converts students into active participants in the learning process. It empowers students to demonstrate their knowledge and conduct self-evaluation.
- Educational assessment helps the teacher to know how well the students understand a specific concept or the entire course material.
As we’ve shown you in this article, there are various ways of conducting educational assessments; you only need to find the method that works best for you and your students. The best part is, you can use more than one educational evaluation method; for instance, combining formative and summative assessments, in a single learning process.
To get the most out of educational assessment, use Formplus forms to collect data as needed. You can create polls, quizzes, and surveys to gather feedback and responses from your students, easily. Also, with the Formplus offline feature, students can complete educational evaluation surveys even when they do not have access to the internet.