A Few More Thoughts on Feedback and Assessment

Here’s a few more thoughts to add to my previous post on feedback and assessment.  My next post will be on differentiating between summative and formative assessments as well as authentic and alternative assessments.

Educational assessment in its most basic form means documenting the knowledge and skills of students, but simply documenting doesn’t do much to improve teaching or learning.  One has to analyze the documentation in order to figure out how best to move forward, how best to modify one’s teaching and student learning.  Effective assessment – in its various forms – requires making data-informed decisions for instructional purposes for the benefit of both teaching and learning.

According to Hattie (2003), “effective teachers were more adept at monitoring student problems and assessing their level of understanding and progress, and they provided more relevant and useful feedback.  Effective teachers were also more adept at developing and testing hypotheses about learning difficulties or instructional strategies.”  In addition, according to Strong and Xu (2012), “teachers who monitor their students’ progress closely exhibit greater concerns about student learning and higher academic emphasis in their instruction.  They also are better at supervising the adequacy of student learning, identifying students in need of additional or different forms of instruction, and determining what instructional modifications are necessary.”

Personally, I think many teachers intuitively know this and have classroom experiences that add support to the above.  Sometimes, however, it’s nice to know that the studies affirm what you already know.  It’s also good to read such studies so that you are pushed to continue on with and improve on what you are already doing.

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