3 Things About Assessment

Whether it’s formal educational state testing or perhaps performance reviews at work, we’ve all been assessed at one time or another. Assessment is important, but I believe there are three important things about assessment:

  1. Assessment must be relevant. As a teacher, we must keep in mind that we have a curriculum that we follow and thus our assessments should be intertwined with it. That is, we can’t pick and choose one or two things, but rather have a broad spectrum of points of emphasis that we assess to ensure that students are learning multiple ideas and theories.
  2. Assessments must be given throughout a course. Unfortunately, some instructors only evaluate intermittently or at the very end of a course (for example, I had one college course where there were two exams and one final). Unfortunately, that does not allow the student, or the teacher for that matter, to know where they are succeeding or where they need to make adjustments. As such, it is important to allow the student an opportunity to learn, but also check-in frequently to adjust study habits or perhaps the method of delivery to the student.
  3. Assessment must provide feedback. To go along with #1 and #2, it makes sense that the assessment must provide some level of feedback that the student can use to improve upon their learning. While feedback need not be long, it must be directive and include both critical and complimentary evaluation of the student’s work.

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