Strategies to Assess Student Performance

Strategies to Assess Student Performance

Since student assessment is essential for the success of the educational process, I conducted a workshop on the different strategies used to assess student performance as part of the professional development of our school teachers. During the workshop I used various teaching strategies to discuss the importance of students evaluation and the tools used for such a purpose. The trainees actively participated and enjoyed it very much. In my opinion, the workshop was successful as it discussed student evaluation tools and how to activate the different strategies for measuring student performance.

Workshop objectives:
By the end of the workshop participants will be able to:
• Determine the purpose of evaluation in the educational process.
• Name some types of assessment that we practice in our schools.
• Differentiate between different types of assessment.
• Mention some evaluation tools and methods.
• Identify steps and characteristics of effective evaluation.
• Identify different assessment strategies and the characteristics of each of them.

The purpose of evaluation in the educational process:
• Using the outcomes of assessment processes to identify strengths and weaknesses in student performance.
• Providing clear, accurate and concise feedback to students on the outcomes of assessment.
• Providing opportunities for students to reflect on assessment outcomes and identify their own learning needs.
• Communicating reports on student progress to students’ families through the school’s reporting arrangements.
• Preparing and reporting Information on student performance to relevant authorities in line with school and Supreme Education Council policies.
• Identifying and discussing strategies for meeting students’ learning needs with students, parents and colleagues.
• Using assessment data to inform the review of assessment methods and tools.
• Using assessment data to inform the review of learning programs and teaching and learning practices.

Types of assessment carried out by teachers:
1. Self-Assessment
This type of evaluation is designed to engage the learners in the assessment, and encourage them to take responsibility of assessing their progress, and planning for their future and for their educational needs.

2. Placement Test
This type of evaluation is designed to determine the levels of students in a specific area to be classified or distributed or to provide the appropriate program to their abilities in that area. This type of evaluation allows the teacher to know the previous experiences of students in a specific lesson or unit. This then facilitates working dealing with them.

3. Diagnostic Test
Diagnostic evaluation aims to identify the strengths and weaknesses in student achievement. It helps us to identify the causes of learning difficulties that students may face so that they can be overcome.

4. Formative Evaluation
It is defined as the formative process during the course of teaching and learning in order to provide a continuous feedback to develop the student’s performance. It starts with the beginning of learning and goes on during the teaching and learning processes.

Here are some of the methods and ways used for this purpose:
 Classroom discussion.
 Student performance observation.
 Assignments.

5. Summative Evaluation
It is the evaluation at the end of an educational program (a unit of study, a specific topic, the end of the chapter …) and the learner has completed the requirements in the defined time. It determines the degree of achievement of the learners of the main objectives.

6. Continuous Assessment
It is the kind of evaluation that begins on the first day of the school year, and goes on until the last day of school. Assessment, in this case, is considered as an activity that goes side by side with the processes of learning and education in all its stages.

Assessment tools
 Observation
 Tests (short, diagnostic, summative, talking, listening …)
 Textbook exercises – evaluation at the end of each unit (learning resource)
 Worksheets
 Classroom questions
 Researches / / projects / presentations
 Homework

Steps for effective evaluation
 Determine the purpose of Assessment (why I would assess??)
 Determine the objectives of the evaluation that are related to the standards.
 Choose the type of evaluation
 Choose the appropriate grade (degrees, description, icons)
 Identify evaluation criteria (or rubrics) … What am I to assess?
 Provide feedback
 Evaluate your assessment

Good Assessment Characteristics
 Related to objectives.
 Comprehensive.
 Continuous
 Well organized and accurate.
 Based on a scientific basis.
 Economic (in time, effort and costs).
 Uses the right tools.
 Uses varied and integrated means of evaluation.

Assessment Strategies

1- Paper and Pencil Strategy

a- Short Quizzes
These tests can measure the ability of the learner to recall and understand knowledge.

Forms of quizzes:
• Right and false questions
• Multiple choice questions
• Completion
• Questions that require short answers

In the preparation of these questions, be sure to cover all the objectives associated with concepts, knowledge and simple problems and set clear and necessary instructions to do the test.

b- Essay Questions
• Essay tests measure a high level of mental capacity, especially with regard to critical thinking, creative thinking, and decision-making.
• Essay tests can be used to measure students’ ability to analyze, reflect, compare, assemble, compose, and interpret.
• The learner must be given many choices in order to be able to choose a topic or question that suits him. This helps the learner to form personal opinions and attitudes that express the learner personally.
• Personal bias, or vulnerability to self-factors must be avoided during correction of these tests.

c- Worksheets
Worksheets are means to assess the ability of the learner in planning, and presenting a systematic set of ideas.

2- Performance Evaluation Strategy

• Performance evaluation is concerned with measuring the learner’s ability to perform specific skills or accomplish a specific learning task, which requires the learner not only to know what he does, but how it is done or performed.
• Performance evaluation usually refers to the psycho-motor or physical skills.
• The teacher should provide the guidance and instructions needed to perform a task or solve a problem or to perform the skill.
• The learner must be provided with a list of rubrics that would reflect the grades that are expected to be obtained.

3- Self-Reflection Strategy

a- Reflective Papers
• They are documents that show the depth of thinking and self-participation The learner is asked to report on what he knows and what he still needs to learn or what is difficult or to write tips to others.
• Self-Reflections are considered as a means to build a generation of educated critics that are capable of leading and guiding themselves. (Life-Long Learners).

b- Journals
• Journals are reports regularly and constantly kept by the learner, and are used in forming the purposeful personal educational experiences to perform.
• The learner can use them to summarize the steps of an important skill or to accomplish a task that needs a series of stages to perform.
• At the end of each stage the learner writes the ideas and experiences about what happened while doing each stage to perform.
• This tool is one of the formative assessment qualitative tools that should be used to evaluate the learner with the rest of the previous evaluation tools.

4- The Observation Strategy

It Is the process in which the teacher or the observer directs the different senses towards the learner with a view to monitor him in an active position, in order to obtain information that is useful in judging him, and assessing his skills, values, behavior , ethics and his way of thinking.

a- Peer Assessment
• Learning occurs in a learning environment through the participation of others and relying on the same learner at the same time, so it is expected that each learner assess the performance of the rest of his colleagues or at least one.
• The teacher has to set objective indicators to be used by learners in evaluating the performance of their colleagues. Preferably give the opportunity for learners to write their comments instead of just giving grades during their assessment of each other.

5- The Communication Strategy

It is the collection of information through communication activities on the progress achieved by the learner, as well as knowledge of the nature of his thinking, and his style of problem solving.

Events that may fall under this strategy:
a- The Interview:
• The interview is a planned meeting between the teacher and the learner that gives the teacher the opportunity to collect information relating to the learner’s ideas and trends about a particular topic, and includes a series of questions set in advance.

b- Questions and answers:
• These are direct questions from the teacher to the learner to monitor the progress, and gather information about the nature of his thinking, and his style of solving problems. It is different from the interview in that these questions are created on the spot according to the situation and do not need to preset.

c- The Conference:
• It is a programmed meeting that is held between the teacher and the learner to evaluate the learner’s progress in a particular project to a certain date through discussion and then determine the necessary steps to improve learning.

If you are interested, you can download the presentation used for this workshop here.

Plenary Sessions (Lesson Endings)

This morning, Sunday 9th January, 2011, and in the professional development workshop, there was a good discussion about “plenary sessions“.

The main objectives of the workshop were to identify the key features of effective plenary sessions and to suggest some ideas for plenary activities.

It all started by eliciting the types of plenary the teachers used for the last four lessons and why they have chosen to use these types of plenary.

There was an agreement that when planning, a teacher should make sure that it:

  • provides a range of opportunities to review learning
  • identifies questions to consolidate and extend literacy skills
  • builds links between plenary and other elements of the lesson

During the plenary session, the teacher should:

  • challenge the students to justify their ideas
  • provide feedback to clarify and extend the students’ thinking
  • assess the learning against the lesson objectives

After the plenary, the teacher has to:

  • review success and record information
  • use the information to inform future plans

It is important to mention here that effective plenary sessions should:

  • Review the learning objectives of the lesson
  • Summarize  key learning points.
  • Consolidate, reinforce and extend earlier work
  • Correct errors and misconceptions
  • Assess what students have learnt to during the lesson to inform future planning
  • Enable students to use their new learning to test prior knowledge

The audience watched three clips exemplifying different ideas for plenary sessions by three teachers from our school and conducted a discussion about their effectiveness and how to develop these ideas for future lessons.

Finally, teachers were advised to share their ideas for plenary sessions.

You can download today’s presentation on plenary sessions here.