At Manglerud skole, International Classes (Manglerud IC), we believe assessment is for learning, as well as, a key component of our mission to develop responsible and caring citizens. It is a continuous process and an integral part of daily instruction that requires collecting, synthesizing and interpreting information. Authentic, valid, and reliable assessments inform students of how they learn, what they have learned, and how to further learn. Assessments also inform teachers’ planning, directing them to where and how learning needs to continue, where learning has been mastered, and how learning can be extended. Assessment for learning must be:
- Fair, balanced, and grounded in the art and science of teaching and learning;
- Reflective of curricular goals and representative of content that students have had an opportunity to learn;
- Varied in approach and design;
- Flexible, allowing input and perspectives from students, peers, teachers, and parents;
- Intended to lead to reflection;
- Designed to accommodate nonnative speakers and special-needs students; and
- Differentiated to assess students’ unique and diverse understandings, skills, and knowledge.
Purpose of Assessment
The purpose of assessment is threefold; 1) it drives instruction, 2) informs curriculum development and implementation, and 3) keeps all stakeholders advised of learning outcomes.
In daily and long term instruction, assessment is a means to quantify or qualify student learning, thus making the learning process tangible. Resulting information informs teachers of students’ previous knowledge and indicates direction and needs of future instruction for individuals and the group. This direction is determined by analyzing students’ current understandings, skills, knowledge, and learning profiles. When collected and reviewed across time, assessment can map students’ learning, identify areas of excellence, and indicate need for intervention, challenge, and growth.
Assessment informs curriculum development and implementation in a variety of ways. Viewed holistically there is evidence and patterns that can be analyzed to determine program strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, it informs students’ performances in relation to the program’s stated learning goals and allows an analysis of group performance in relation to groups within the school or groups external to the school. When studied and analyzed collectively, it can provide teachers and administrators a common understanding and perspective of 1) students’ current learning, 2) needs of program development, and 3) ways to effectively lead and manage classrooms and the school.
In its most conventional role, assessment informs teachers of student learning, but at Manglerud IC assessment also informs students and parents of learning outcomes. For students, assessment does not just indicate success or failure, it encourages students to:
reflect and self-evaluate
identify strategies for learning
consider how they learn and how they can use the learning process, and to
analyze their learning and understand where needs to improve
For parents, assessment is designed to:
provide evidence of student learning
develop an understanding of student learning, and
provide means to celebrate and support learning.
Principles of Assessment
Formative and summative assessments are two major forms of assessment. Formative assessment is ongoing, occurring throughout daily instruction. Fully connected, formative assessment and instruction work to purposefully and effectively inform students and teachers of what is known and what needs to be done to accomplish further learning. Summative assessment occurs at the end of the learning and teaching process. It is a means for students to demonstrate their new understandings, skills, knowledge, and ability to transfer the learning. Pre-assessment, skill assessment, and other targeted assessment strategies are components of formative and summative assessments.
For reliable and valid evaluation of both learning and teaching processes, formative and summative assessment processes and means must demonstrate a variety of essential characteristics. Some of the essential characteristics of assessments include:
Criteria that are known and understood in advance
Differentiated, when appropriate, for:
- Student’s interest, learning profile, and/or readiness and content, process, and/or product
- Variety of means and processes
- Age appropriate content, processes, and products
- Formal and informal processe
- Consistent and ongoing practices
- Designs allowing different points of view or interpretations
- Analysis of what was learned and what needs to improve
- Content validity
- Results of information that can be reported and understood by students, parents, and teacher
- Timely feedback
- Reflections on learning
(Abstract from MIC, Assessment Policy document, May 2017)