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Assessment Concepts

BCU Lecture

Stuart Mitchell

on 9 October 2018

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Transcript of Assessment Concepts

Assessment Concepts
To explore concepts, tensions and principles of current assessment practice, in the context of research and own practice
This Session
Present some underpinning ideas about traditional forms of assessment

Examine what you already do and why

Examine your assumptions/reasoning about assessment and where that fits with the philosophy of teaching
Assessment is inherently a process of professional judgment.

The measurement of student performance may seem "objective" with such practices as machine scoring and multiple-choice test items, but even these approaches are based on professional assumptions and values.

Whether that judgment occurs in constructing test questions, scoring essays, creating rubrics, grading participation, combining scores, or interpreting standardized test scores, the essence of the process is making professional interpretations and decisions.
McMillan, James H. (2000). Fundamental assessment principles for teachers and school administrators. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(8). Retrieved April 19, 2010 from http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=7&n=8
Tensions in assessment choices


Often no link to effective learning
Hargreaves (2005): connection between assessment-as-measurement and view of learning-as-attaining objectives.

(informal and ongoing) vs.
(formal and at the end) - Black and Wiliam (2000)

Standardized tests
classroom assessment

absolute standards
Tensions in assessment choices

(e.g. classroom assessments for work-skills)


Challenging standards
high pass rate
What are the tensions in your choices of assessment?

Would you add more circles to this diagram?
Shepard (2000): connections between curriculum, learning and assessment.
Tensions in assessment choices
The importance of formative assessment and feedback
Professor John Hattie statistically combined the results of 200,000 experiments in classrooms and published a table listing the most effective teaching strategies in order of effectiveness.
Giving learners feedback on their learning errors and omissions, and getting them to correct them or work towards improvement of future work, had a significant impact on their learning.
Formative assessment
as assessment for learning
‘Assessment is one of the most powerful tools for promoting effective learning but it must be used in the right way.’ (Assessment Reform Group, 1999)

Write down the five main features of Assessment for Learning.
Whole group discussion on video and how AfL ideas impact on our own practice.

Sort the assessment methods you presently use into
Assessment of Learning
Assessment for Learning

Select one of your methods and explain to the group how you might change it might be used more effectively for student learning.
Black, P. and Wiliam, D. (1998)‘Assessment and classroom learning’, in Assessment in education: principles, policy and practice

Black, P. et al (1998) ‘Working Inside the Black Box ‘ King’s College Cambridge: Assessment Reform Group

Petty, G. (2001) Teaching Today, Cheltenham, Nelson Thornes

McMillan, J.H. (2000). Fundamental assessment principles for teachers and school administrators. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(8). Retrieved April 19, 2010 from http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=7&n=8 . This paper has been viewed 140,841 times since 9/23/2000

Shepard, L.A. (2000). The role of assessment in a learning culture. http://edr.sagepub.com/cgi/pdf_extract/29/7/4
Session Objectives
By the end of the session students should have:

identified and described key principles of effective assessment techniques

analysed how these principles affect the choice and/or creation of assessment techniques

evaluated how effectively a range of assessment techniques from different courses have managed these principles
Tensions in assessment choices
Competing purposes, uses and pressures result in tension for teachers as they make assessment-related decisions.

Tutors look for assessments which are consistent with their philosophies of teaching and learning and with theories of development, learning and motivation.
The importance of
formative assessment and feedback
Black and Wiliam’s research:
Culture of success
A belief that all can achieve
Ability is incremental rather than fixed
Clear understanding of what is wrong, what must be done to put it right
Avoid reference to ability/ competition/ comparison with others
Give a medal and mission, identify gaps, find fault and fix it
How is this evidenced in your area?
(McMillan & Nash, 2000)
Assessment success rates also used to judge a tutor and learning provider.
England has most tested learners in Europe (see Finland, where first exams happen at 16!)
Are we all over assessing?
‘Focus on Hattie’s research’,LSDA. Quality Matters,June 2002
Black, P.J. and Wiliam, D. ‘Assessment and classroom learning’, in Assessment in education: principles, policy and practice, 1998
Reliability is defined as an indication of the consistency of scores across evaluators or over time.

An assessment is considered reliable when the same results occur regardless of when the assessment occurs or who does the scoring.

There should be compelling evidence to show that results are consistent.
Does it assess what it supposed to assess?

Is it biased in any way?

Can you interpret the evidence produced?
(If you are trying to assess Level 4 thinking skills have you given the opportunity to show these – Bloom)
Fairness means that an assessment should "allow for students of both genders and all backgrounds to do equally well. All students should have equal opportunity to demonstrate the skills and knowledge being assessed.”

The fairness of the assessment is jeopardized if bias exists either in the task or in the rater.
McMillan, J.H. (2000)
Assessment should be designed/ arranged to prevent discrimination on the following grounds
Race and culture
Religion and belief
Sexual orientation
protected characteristics
Diversity continued
As with teaching and learning resources take care with the language and images used. Proof read to remove words that give normative status to one group.

Check that assessments do not assume cultural knowledge – this could mean anything from Christianity to Coronation Street!
Guidelines on using language and images
Language reflects attitudes and also helps to define them.

As teachers, trainers, lecturers, support staff, etc. you have a responsibility to use words, phrases and images that do not reinforce offensive or discriminatory attitudes and to avoid terms that may cause offence.

Use of language is of course a personal choice and definitions and meaning of words changes over time but with a little thought, you can ensure that you send out positive messages.
what objectivity looks like...
It is a fact that…
An average teacher asks 400 questions in a day

That’s 70,000 a year!

One-third of all teaching time is spent asking questions

Most questions are answered in less than a second

Steven Hastings
TES 4 July 2003
What is the purpose of questions?

To interest, engage and challenge

To check on prior knowledge

To focus thinking on key concepts and issues
The purpose of questions
What are the pitfalls of questioning?
Asking too many closed questions

Yes or no questions

Short answer recall-based questions
Reflect on your questions
Allow students time

Use challenging language

Value students’ responses
Types of questions


Value questions

Bloom’s taxonomy
Bloom’s taxonomy of questioning
Knowledge – describe, identify, who, when, where

Comprehension – translate, predict, why

Application – demonstrate how, solve, try it in a new context

Analysis – explain, infer, analysis

Synthesis – design, create, compose

Evaluation – assess, compare/contrast, judge
Three Little Pigs
What would you have done?
Can you think of a different ending?
What happened in the story?
What would you have built your home from?
Give examples of how the third pig showed his cunning?
How did the wolf manage to blow down the two homes?
Why did the three little pigs have to leave home?
How would you defend the wolf’s action?
Which part of the story did you like best?
Consider the following…
In groups, write a series of questions that you feel cover the different levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Choose one of these titles :-
What is the question trying to achieve?

Looking for overall patterns and relationships

Making decisions and judgements

Creating something new

Solving problems
Plan for questioning

Wait for an answer – use think/pair, share sessions

Ask open questions

Use questions to develop collaborative work

Know the answer to your questions

Start a lesson with a question

Review the questions in the plenary session
Goldilocks and the three bears

Hansel and Gretel

Full transcript