Putting Testing in Perspective: It's for Learning
This KnowledgeBase archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.
In their article Putting Testing in Perspective: It's for Learning, Rick Stiggins and Stephen Chappius offer a viewpoint of formative assessment in the context of assessment for learning. With this perspective, the authors believe
Formative assessment informs instructional decision making by providing information about how and what students are learning. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning by engaging in self-assessment, reflection, goal setting, and monitoring and communicating their own progress. To use formative assessment effectively, teachers must take part in a cyclical process that includes assessment, diagnosis, feedback, goal setting, and instruction and that involves students every step of the way.
They point out "three different strategies have evolved to increase formative assessment, two of which though do not involve the students. ... One approach of more frequent testing suggests increasing the frequency of summative assessments to several times during a year." The theory being teachers will be able to use the results in a formative way. The second approach involves "managing the summative assessment results more effectively so that the results detail be used in a formative way." The third method is "assessment for learning partnering the teacher and students in the formative assessment process."
The article provides a useful checklist of four major keys to assessment. As proscribed by Stiggins and Chappius, they are
Achievement expectations are spelled out in a written curriculum that describes clear and appropriate targets for students, teachers, and parents to see and understand.
The teachers and the students use assessments to track continuous progress to inform an ongoing series of instructional decisions that support learning. The teacher and the students know where they are on the continuum of learning to determine what comes next, they diagnose needs, set goals plan how to get there and track progress.
To support learning, classroom assessments yield accurate information about student achievement.
Results are collected, stored, retrieved, summarized (or not, as appropriate), and communicated in timely and understandable ways that describe student performance to the students, the teacher, and the parents alike in ways that relate that performance to the intended learning.
To read the complete article, click on the source document.
Putting Testing in Perspective: It's for Learning, Rick Stiggins and Stephen Chappuis, PL October 2005
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