Implementation of this student assessment and evaluation systems in final examination will:

  • Help develop cognitive, psychomotor and affective skills
  • Develop students’ thinking processes while de-emphasising memorisation
  • Make continuous evaluation an integral part of the teaching-learning process
  • Use evaluation data for improving teaching-learning strategies
  • Utilize assessment data as a quality control device to raise academic outcomes
  • Enable teachers to make student-centric decisions about learners’ processes of learning and learning environments
  • Transform teaching and learning into a student-centric activity

Periodic Assessments part of the instructional process. When incorporated into classroom practice, it provides the information needed to adjust teaching and learning while they are happening. In this sense, formative assessment informs both teachers and students about student understanding at a point when timely adjustments can be made. These adjustments help to ensure students achieve, targeted standards-based learning goals within a set time frame. Although formative assessment strategies appear in a variety of formats, there are some distinct ways to distinguish them from summative assessments.

One distinction is to think of formative assessment as "practice." We do not hold students accountable in "grade book fashion" for skills and concepts they have just been introduced to or are learning. We must allow for practice. Formative assessment helps teachers determine next steps during the learning process as the instruction approaches the summative assessment of student learning. A good analogy for this is the road test that is required to receive a driver's license. What if, before getting your driver's license, you received a grade every time you sat behind the wheel to practice driving? What if your final grade for the driving test was the average of all of the grades you received while practicing? Because of the initial low grades you received during the process of learning to drive, your final grade would not accurately reflect your ability to drive a car. In the beginning of learning to drive, how confident or motivated to learn would you feel? Would any of the grades you received provide you with guidance on what you needed to do next to improve your driving skills? Your final driving test, or summative assessment, would be the accountability measure that establishes whether or not you have the driving skills necessary for a driver's license—not a reflection of all the driving practice that leads to it. The same holds true for classroom instruction, learning, and assessment.

Another distinction that underpins formative assessment is student involvement. If students are not involved in the assessment process, formative assessment is not practiced or implemented to its full effectiveness. Students need to be involved both as assessors of their own learning and as resources to other students. There are numerous strategies teachers can implement to engage students. In fact, research shows that the involvement in and ownership of their work increases students' motivation to learn. This does not mean the absence of teacher involvement. To the contrary, teachers are critical in identifying learning goals, setting clear criteria for success, and designing assessment tasks that provide evidence of student learning.

One of the key components of engaging students in the assessment of their own learning is providing them with descriptive feedback as they learn. In fact, research shows descriptive feedback to be the most significant instructional strategy to move students forward in their learning. Descriptive feedback provides students with an understanding of what they are doing well, links to classroom learning, and gives specific input on how to reach the next step in the learning progression. In other words, descriptive feedback is not a grade, a sticker, or "good job!" A significant body of research indicates that such limited feedback does not lead to improved student learning.

There are many classroom instructional strategies that are part of the repertoire of good teaching. When teachers use sound instructional practice for the purpose of gathering information on student learning, they are applying this information in a formative way. In this sense, formative assessment is pedagogy and clearly cannot be separated from instruction. It is what good teachers do. The distinction lies in what teachers actually do with the information they gather. How is it being used to inform instruction? How is it being shared with and engaging students? It's not teachers just collecting information/data on student learning; it's what they do with the information they collect.

Some of the instructional strategies that can be used formatively include the following:

Criteria and goal setting with students engages them in instruction and the learning process by creating clear expectations. In order to be successful, students need to understand and know the learning target/goal and the criteria for reaching it. Establishing and defining quality work together, asking students to participate in establishing norm behaviors for classroom culture, and determining what should be included in criteria for success are all examples of this strategy. Using student work, classroom tests, or exemplars of what is expected helps students understand where they are, where they need to be, and an effective process for getting there.

Observations go beyond walking around the room to see if students are on task or need clarification. Observations assist teachers in gathering evidence of student learning to inform instructional planning. This evidence can be recorded and used as feedback for students about their learning or as anecdotal data shared with them during conferences.

Questioning strategies should be embedded in lesson/unit planning. Asking better questions allows an opportunity for deeper thinking and provides teachers with significant insight into the degree and depth of understanding. Questions of this nature engage students in classroom dialogue that both uncovers and expands learning. An "exit slip" at the end of a class period to determine students' understanding of the day's lesson or quick checks during instruction such as "thumbs up/down" or "red/green" (stop/go) cards are also examples of questioning strategies that elicit immediate information about student learning. Helping students ask better questions is another aspect of this formative assessment strategy.

Self and peer assessment helps to create a learning community within a classroom. Students who can reflect while engaged in meta-cognitive thinking are involved in their learning. When students have been involved in criteria and goal setting, self-evaluation is a logical step in the learning process. With peer evaluation, students see each other as resources for understanding and checking for quality work against previously established criteria.

Student record keeping helps students better understand their own learning as evidenced by their classroom work. This process of students keeping ongoing records of their work not only engages students, it also helps them, beyond a "grade," to see where they started and the progress they are making toward the learning goal.

MCQ

multiple choice questions (MCQs) can assess higher order thinking skills (HOTS) in addition to understanding and application of knowledge. Introducing a fixed percentage of multiple choice questions to increase the objectivity of assessment and also to improve the quality of evaluation.

It is envisaged that students will have the option of attempting different types of questions. These questions will be from any unit of the syllabus and therefore, students will have to go through the entire portion, or the assigned chapters as per the sample blue print of question paper released by the Board.

Students were made to practice sample papers so as to avoid last-minute confusions and surprises. It also helped reduce stress and increased their confidence and comfort levels.

Portfolio Assessment

Portfolio assessment is a term with many meanings, and it is a process that can serve a variety of purposes. A portfolio is a collection of student work that can exhibit a student's efforts, progress, and achievements in various areas of the curriculum. A portfolio assessment can be an examination of student-selected samples of work experiences and documents related to outcomes being assessed, and it can address and support progress toward achieving academic goals, including student efficacy. While portfolios have broad potential and can be useful for the assessments of students' performance for a variety of purposes in core curriculum areas,

the contents and criteria used to assess portfolios must be designed to serve those purposes. For example, showcase portfolios exhibit the best of student performance, while working portfolios may contain drafts that students and teachers use to reflect on process. Progress portfolios contain multiple examples of the same type of work done over time and are used to assess progress. If cognitive processes are intended for assessment, content and rubrics must be designed to capture those processes.

Portfolio assessments can provide both formative and summative opportunities for monitoring progress toward reaching identified outcomes. By setting criteria for content and outcomes, portfolios can communicate concrete information about what is expected of students in terms of the content and quality of performance in specific curriculum areas, while also providing a way of assessing their progress along the way. Depending on content and criteria, portfolios can provide teachers and researchers with information relevant to the cognitive processes that students use to achieve academic outcomes.

Uses of Portfolios

Much of the literature on portfolio assessment has focused on portfolios as a way to integrate assessment and instruction and to promote meaningful classroom learning. Many advocates of this function believe that a successful portfolio assessment program requires the ongoing involvement of students in the creation and assessment process. Portfolio design should provide students with the opportunities to become more reflective about their own work, while demonstrating their abilities to learn and achieve in academics.

For example, some feel it is important for teachers and students to work together to prioritize the criteria that will be used as a basis for assessing and evaluating student progress. During the instructional process, students and teachers work together to identify significant pieces of work and the processes required for the portfolio. As students develop their portfolio, they are able to receive feedback from peers and teachers about their work. Because of the greater amount of time required for portfolio projects, there is a greater opportunity for introspection and collaborative reflection. This allows students to reflect and report about their own thinking processes as they monitor their own comprehension and observe their emerging understanding of subjects and skills. The portfolio process is dynamic and is affected by the interaction between students and teachers.

Portfolio assessments can also serve summative assessment purposes in the classroom, serving as the basis for letter grades. Student conferences at key points during the year can also be part of the summative process. Such conferences involve the student and teacher (and perhaps the parent) in joint review of the completion of the portfolio components, in querying the cognitive processes related to artifact selection, and in dealing with other relevant issues, such as students' perceptions of individual progress in reaching academic outcomes.

Subject Enrichment Activities Importance

What is the purpose of recreation? Should Subject enrichment activities be optional or do we require them? A common goal for both education and recreation is to enhance the lives of people of all ages. Through recreation individuals can find the motivation to lead a productive life. Enrichment activities can help students generate patterns for creative proficiency, build good character, initiate an engaged mode for learning, and find purpose in life.

How do Subject enrichment activities generate patterns for creative proficiency? The achievement goal theory is one of the popular approaches to understand what motivates a person. It refers to how students respond or react to an experience and how they achieve goals. There are two significant goal types: task-involved and ego-involved. The task-involved goal focuses on getting better at something through training and incremental mastery learning. Ego-involved goals strive to be better than others.          

Task Involved goals focuses on getting better at something through training and incremental mastery learning. Ego-involved goals strive to be better than others. Task-involved goals, rather than ego-involved goals, have a better chance to be aligned with adaptive motivational patterns including such practices as working hard, choosing harder learning tasks and believing that  accomplishments are a result of the effort  invested. Enrichment activities can be a vehicle to teach the attitudes and habits required to do well in other subjects and other areas of life.

If students learn to motivate themselves, discipline their minds, work hard, create and implement their study plans, and seek help when needed, they will be well equipped not only for the challenges in college but for success in future endeavors. Two essential aspects of motivation are the viewpoints about how good one is and how much value one sees in the activity. When individuals feel they can do something well, they invest more effort, energy, and time into their tasks. In the same way, when people feel the activity brings value to them, whether the value is in its interest, importance, usefulness, or enjoyment, they persist beyond distraction, difficulties, or obstacles. The challenge for educators is not only to grasp their student’s attention but to see them take initiative.

Our educational system focuses on developing knowledge, skills, and creative talents but what about the more fundamental dimension of educating students to grow their empathy, spirituality, and desire to be good? One of my goals for providing enrichment activities is to balance the emphasis of professional abilities with good character traits and moral standards of influence and responsibility. Enrichment activities can be anything from service projects to walks in nature, sports to book reading, hands on projects to research papers,  or work experience.


About our guest author-

Abhinav Mukerji (MA, MBA, B.ed), an enthusiastic professional educator with 17 years of progressive experience in overall administrative and academic duties in the field of education, of CBSE syllabus schools.

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