Assessing Student Learning

Assessing Student Learning

Tyson J. Sorensen (Utah State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 32
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-3420-8.ch010
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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to present assessment concepts and provide guidelines for effective assessment practices within school-based agricultural education. The chapter explains common terms and different types of assessments. It also provides guiding principles for how to effectively construct various types of assessments including both traditional and alternative types of assessments. In addition, this chapter provides guidelines and principles for managing grades in school-based agricultural education programs. This chapter provides practical recommendations and examples within a school-based agricultural education context.
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Common Terms Used In Educational Assessment

Assessment, Measurement, and Evaluation

Various terms are used to describe processes and tools used to measure student learning. A range of sometimes conflicting definitions in educational assessment can be found across various textbooks and educational resources, and the terms are often used interchangeably by educational professionals. Despite this, it is important to understand the fundamental concepts of educational assessment. Here, some common and fundamental terms will be described.

Assessment is the process (the verb) or tool (the noun) used for collecting information to monitor progress and make educational decisions. For example, the administering (verb) of a test (noun) to a group of students is a form of assessment because it is the process and tool used to collect information about student learning. Other examples include observations, interviews, and behavior monitoring. Assessment is a continuous process that provides teachers and students valuable information in the teaching and learning process. Throughout this chapter, the term assessment and test are often used interchangeable. Measurement is the systematic assignment of numbers or names to student learning. It is a systematic way to determine students’ learning status. For example, assigning the grade of 75% on a test, or using a rubric to assign the grade of a 3 out of 4 are examples of measurements. Evaluation is the procedure used to judge a student’s skills or knowledge in relation to predetermined criteria (i.e., learning objective). The term evaluation literally means to determine the value of something or someone. Thus, evaluation is used to give meaning to the measurement from the assessment. What does a 75% on a test really mean? Does it mean the student passed? Does it mean the student mastered the objective? Descriptors such as “passing,” “approaching mastery,” or “adequately met the learning objective” are values derived from measurements that enable educators to make decisions about teaching practices and draw conclusions about student learning.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Reliability: The consistency of results from assessments.

Validity: The extent in which the assessment measures what it purports to measure.

Portfolio Assessment: Assessments that involve a systematic collection of student-developed products in which students highlight individual growth, progress, and accomplishments over time.

Analytic Rubric: A detailed rubric that provides a description for each level of mastery for each criterion being assessed.

Formative Assessment: Assessment that is conducted during instruction or a learning activity with the goal of improving learning.

Traditional Assessment: Assessments that use traditional methods (e.g., quiz) as a means for evaluating student performance.

Diagnostic Assessments: A form of pre-assessment that evaluates how much knowledge or skill a student has before a new lesson begins.

Points System Grading: A system of grading in which the points of each assessment are summated to calculate the final grade.

Alternative Assessment: Assessments that are different in form than traditional (e.g., quiz) assessments.

Authentic Assessments: Assessments that focus on real-world situations as the context for specific skills and tasks to be performed and assessed.

Norm-Referenced Testing: Assessments that focus on a student’s performance in relation to other students in a group (e.g., the norm).

Performance-Based Assessment: Assessments that enable students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills as they perform a specific task.

Evaluation: The procedure used to judge a student’s skills or knowledge in relation to predetermined criteria.

Summative Assessment: Assessment that occurs at the end of instruction or a learning activity with the goal of making final evaluations on student performance.

Criterion-Referenced Testing: Testing to determine a student’s level of mastery or performance for a pre-established criterion.

Checklist: Basic rubrics in which only two performance levels are present (e.g., yes/no; pass/fail) for each criterion.

Holistic Rubric: General rubrics that consist of a description for only one single level of mastery with a number value corresponding to the level of mastery for each criterion.

Assessment: The process (the verb) or tool (the noun) used for collecting information to monitor progress and make educational decisions.

Weighted Grading: A system of grading in which the final grades are calculated by summating a student's score on all assessments and dividing by the sum of the total possible points from all assessments.

Measurement: The systematic assignment of numbers or names to student learning.

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