Assessment is the ongoing process of gathering, analyzing and reflecting on evidence to make informed and consistent judgments to improve future student learning.
Considerable research exists on the characteristics of good practice for assessing student learning. This research is summarized in the following set of principles which guide our practices at school level.
The primary purpose of assessment is to improve student performance
This reflects three different purposes of assessment:
- Assessment FOR learning – informs decisions about the next stage of student learning.
- Assessment AS learning – involves students reflecting on their own learning and themselves as learners.
- Assessment OF learning – occurs when teachers use evidence of student learning to make judgments on student achievement against goals and standards.
- Assessment should be based on an understanding of how students learn
Our approach to assessment takes into account the needs of the student as a whole person, through the various phases of their development.
- Assessment is an integral component of course design
The teaching and learning elements of our curriculum are designed in full knowledge of the types of assessment students will undertake.
- Good assessment provides useful information to report credibly to parents on student achievement
A variety of carefully selected assessment methods provides teachers with evidence of what students know and can do, and their particular strengths and weaknesses. Teachers then can report to parents on how far their child has progressed during the year, where they are compared to the relevant standards, and what the student, the parent and the teacher need do to improve the student’s performance.
- Good assessment requires clarity of purpose, goals, standards and criteria
Assessment criteria are understandable and explicit so students know what is expected of them from each assessment they encounter.
- Good assessment requires a variety of measures
A single assessment instrument will not tell us all we need to know about student achievement and how it can be improved.
- Assessment methods used should be valid, reliable and consistent
Assessment instruments and processes are chosen which directly measure what they are intended to measure.
- Assessment requires attention to outcomes and processes
Information about the student’s achievement and the learning process are of equal importance.
- Assessment works best when it is ongoing rather than episodic
The purposes of assessment cannot be achieved unless there is a balanced approach over a period of time.
- Assessment for improved performance involves feedback and reflection
All assessment methods allow students to receive timely feedback on their learning and performance, so assessment serves as a developmental activity aimed at improving student learning.
The above principles are adapted from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s materials.