Continual and thorough assessment is the key to facilitating an effective and instantaneous feedback system between students and the teacher. There are many types of assessment which depend heavily on the purpose of the assessment from informal to formal assessment, peer and self assessment and formative and summative assessment. Assessment is also influenced heavily by teaching strategy as I discovered on practicum.
In the classroom assessments enable the teacher to gather information pertinent to evaluating the understanding of the students. Assessments may provide this information qualitatively or quantitatively and focus on various educational outcomes and knowledge. There are many methods for conducting assessment and may serve a variety of purposes as identified by Doran, Lawrenz and Helgeson (1994) including diagnostic, formative and/or summative purposes. These purposes affect what the information gathered is used for.
The incompatibility of certain assessment types and new teaching strategies is explained by Mayer and Richmond (1982) “evaluation efforts have typically focused on assessment of the degree of student growth of knowledge, and, more recently, on student changes in science-process ability and in attitudes” (pp. 49-50). Traditional pen-and-paper tests did not suit the inquiry focus of my practicum school. There existed appropriate summative assessments for this inquiry based learning but no agreed formative assessments between staff members.
Check out Main Ideas of Assessment for an interactive image.