So What's Really the Point of Assessment, Anyhow??

Defining the Invisible

In education, we are attempting to promote unseeable qualities in students (reading ability, analytical thinking, technology skills), which means we have to make inferences: (overt performance ---> inference ---> status of students' covert knowledge and skills)

If student performance informs instruction, and we're making misguided inferences based off of how we're asking them to perform, then we have huge problems! (this is very avoidable)

Inter-relatedness of Instruction, Assessment, and Curriculum

Two-sides to the assessment equation:

Curriculum (think of this as the ENDS) <-----> Instruction (think of this as the MEANS)

Curriculum - content standards, goals, learning targerts
Instruction - teaching, coaching, modeling

"<----->" implies: curriculum informs our instruction, as instruction achieves the goals of curriculum:
  • The intentions of our curriculum can be clarified by looking at how we measure student performance (operationalize).
  • Clearly understanding the curricular goals enables us to provide effective learning experiences.

Our True Target as Teachers

When we consider student performance on educational tests as the true goal of our instruction, then we are "teaching to the test".

Rather, we aim our instruction at what the test respresents (knowledge and skills embedded in indicators), not on the test itself.

Diverse types of assessment allow us to more richly understand the status of skill and knowledge within students.
(generalized knowledge)

Resources Worth Investigating

Anderson, L. W., & Krathwohl, d. r. (Eds.). (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching,
and Assessing: A revision of Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives.
New York: Longman.

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