Assessment Evaluation

Within the instructional setting, proper teaching cannot be attained without appropriate evaluations. According to Kaplan & Owings  (2010), assessments give feedback to the teacher in the form of data and provides a clear understanding of the knowledge and skills that students have developed at the end of each learning activity. Instructors use the information from the assessment data to determine the strengths of the students and areas that need improvement. In this context, this study will consider the objective-based and performance based assessments to elaborate further on assessment and explore its significance in the achievement of learning objectives.

Objective-Based Performance

Objective-based assessment focuses on evaluating what learners have accomplished in a specific learning objective for a given learning activity. According to Anema & McCoy (2010), this method of assessment focuses narrowly on the student getting basic skills and does not necessarily measure the ability of the learner to solve complex or even real-world problems. In reality, the assessment mostly expects students to read and answer multiple-choice questions for evaluation and proof of learning and understanding. The goal of the objective-based assessment is to develop the specific objectives, which the students are supposed to achieve design the assessment directly against the goals. In order to understand objective-based assessment, this study will use hypothetical data from a science learning activity.

Grade 4 Elementary Science Test

This is a general science lesson, which has been progressive for one week. The teacher has been giving instructions to the students. The learners have been reading from their textbooks and will be required to demonstrate what they have learned by answering multiple-choice questions. 

The test contains five multiple questions. Students must record their answers to the questions on a separate answer sheet. 

Performance Task Prompt

  1. What is the name of frozen water?

A. fog

B. Ice

C. Steam

D. Vapor

  1. What animal has wings?

A. frog

B. lion

C. monkey

D. dove

  1. For flowers to thrive, they need water, air, and?

A. food

B. soil

C. sunlight

D. moon

  1. Sun is a part of the food chain, in what order is energy transferred?

A. animals       sun       plants

B. sun       plants       animals

C. Sun        animals       plants

D. Plant      animals      sun

  1. Identify two characteristics that describe the state of gas

A. definite shape and no definite volume

B. no definite shape and no definite volume

C. definite shape and definite volume

D. no definite shape, but definite volume

Performance Assessment Criteria

Evaluative CriteriaPoints ScoredJaneRichardJohnRuthRodgersChristopher
Question 1B 1 pointBBBBBB
Question 2D 1 pointDDDDDD
Question 3C 1 pointCBCADC
Question 4B 1 pointCBBCBB
Question 5D 1 pointADCDCD
Points scored3 points4 points4 points3 points3 points5 points

Objectives Measured in the Assessment

In the objective-based assessment, performance is measured using checklists. The objectives measured in the assessment are contained in the instructions and act as a guide to what the student is expected to attain at the end of the learning activity. In this case, the learning objectives expect the student to be successful demonstrate their knowledge in answering the multiple-choice questions provided for the test and meet the evaluation criteria.

Student Strengths and Areas of Improvement

From the assessment data, it is clear that the students were able to follow the instructions and match questions with the answers. For Christopher, he seems sure of the facts. John and Richard also excelled in their assessment. From this, it is clear that half of the class can understand, retain information, and apply the knowledge gained in their test. Unfortunately, in any given instructional setting, students are not the same, and their level of understanding differs. In this case, the areas of improvement are evident in the students who scored 3 points in the science. From a critical point of view, it seems that the students did not retain the information acquired from the learning activities or find hard to apply knowledge gained to the test.

Aligning the Assessment with the Student Learning Objectives

Before designing and implementing learning activities, instructors are expected to define their learning objectives, which act as a guide in developing the appropriate assessment (Linder, 2017). Accurately designed assessments are essential when aligning with the learning objectives because they help the instructor to establish the effectiveness of the learning activity. The first step is to identify the learning objectives, which outline the knowledge or skills the students must acquire. The second step is to design and identify assessments that will be used to evaluate the achievement of the learning objectives. The assessment helps determine the areas that the teacher needs to improve for effective learning. In this case, it is evident from the assessment data that some of the students did not fully understand the learning activities or were not able to retain information. The teacher should, therefore, design instructional strategies that address the learning goals and ensure they are achieved successfully.

Performance-Based Assessment

Ultimately, performance-based assessment is a direct and systematic observation that evaluates the actual performance of the student pewithr pre-determined performance criteria (Luongo-Orlando, 2003). The assessment enables the teacher to assess the specific skills and competencies that the student has gained from a particular learning program. When designing a performance assessment task, teachers must first list the specific knowledge and skills that students must demonstrate at the end of the lesson. The second step involves designing a performance work that will enable the pupils to demonstrate the knowledge gained and skills. The third step involves developing clear performance criteria, with a grading rubric. In order to have a clear understanding of what performance-based assessment entails; hypothetical data will be used for the evaluation of results. Evaluation of results will consider the objectives of the assessment, the student strengths, and areas of improvement, and adjustments necessary for aligning the assessment with the goals for student learning.

Classification of Plants

Elementary Level

Learning Goals

At the end of the learning activity, students will be expected to:

  1. Display their understanding of the various plants and their characteristics
  2. Demonstrate their ability to specify key defining features of the category
  3. Demonstrate their capacity to sort the plants accurately into different categories
  4. Demonstrate their ability to use data collection techniques and resources. 

Performance Task Prompt

Students will work in pairs and list as many plants as possible. They will come up with a classification system that will focus on key characteristics of the plants and align the plants in the right categories. Sample categories will include plants with no proper root systems also called mosses or liverworts, ferns, coniferous trees, and flowering plants. 

The students will have to consult various sources in the classroom charts, library, and adults to get this information and to enable them to classify the plants accurately. The pupils should also ensure that they turn in a list of all the resources they used and explain the most useful ones and least useful ones.

Performance Assessment Classification

Evaluative CriteriaPoints ScoredJaneRichardJohnRuthRodgersChristopher
Students listed at least 50 different plants10101010101010
Students classified plants into categories of mosses or liverworts, ferns, coniferous, and flowering plants20181719151616
Students accurately sort the plants into the various categories10657667
Students accurately listed the resources they used and classified them from the most useful to least useful5453424
Students presented their work with correct spellings and punctuations5445444
Total Possible Points504241443938

Objectives Measured in the Assessment

When using performance-based assessment, teachers must be able to identify the learning goals that students are expected to attain during the learning activity. The objectives are guiding principles in the design of the performance task and the performance criteria. In this case, the objectives being measured in the assessment are outlined in the learning goals section and reflect the knowledge and skills the student must master at the end of the unit of study.

Student Strengths and Areas for Improvement

From the onset, the students were very motivated to learn and displayed a lot of interest in the comparison task. Except for Rodgers who also has dyslexia, the rest of the students demonstrated great strengths in content knowledge. The students were also able to interact between themselves and demonstrated excellent interpersonal skills. Overall, from observations, the students are very confident about learning new ideas and are dedicated towards it, which is one of their greatest strengths. 

Every student learns, and no student has the same culture, learning strengths, background knowledge, or experiences. In fact, no student learns in the same way, and this diversity is the greatest education asset. In this case, the student had apparent weakness in research skills especially when it came to collecting data from the library. The students did not accurately list the resources used for the completion of the test. 

Aligning the Assessment with the Student Leaning Objectives

When creating a unit of study, teachers must establish measurable learning objectives and work to develop assessments aligned with the stated learning outcomes. When properly designed, assessment can help the instructor to understand better what the students are learning (Linder, 2017). Virtually, aligning the assessment with the learning objectives is possible by first identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the students and working with them. In this case, the shortcomings of the students are in their research skills, which the teacher should work with the students to improve their research skills. For instance, the teacher should define research as it applies to the assignment, break it into small manageable parts, and elaborate to the students the importance of referencing their work. The teacher can also help the students improve their research skills by highlighting the important sections in the books and encouraging them to practice them to harness their research skills. Similarly, for successful alignment, the assessment should be accurate and useful. Poorly and inaccurately developed evidence will not provide the valuable evidence to ascertain a student learning. In fact, it might even be misleading for the teacher and the students as well. 

References

Anema, M. G., & McCoy, J. (2010). Competency-based nursing education: Guide to achieving outstanding learner outcomes. New York: Springer Pub. Co.

Linder, K. (2017). Hybrid teaching and learning, tl 149. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Luongo-Orlando, K. (2003). Authentic assessment: Designing performance-based tasks for achieving language arts outcomes. Markham, Ont: Pembroke Publishers.

Kaplan, L. S., & Owings, W. A. (2010). American education: Building a common foundation. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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