Back To CourseAssessment of Learning for Teachers
7 chapters | 45 lessons
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Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has a master's degree in education.
As an educator, I've taught classes of seven students, and I've taught classes of 75. In my classes of seven, I've enjoyed assessing my students through things like presentations, discussions, and debates. For these small groups it's been feasible to use supply response assessments, or assessments which require students to supply or construct their own responses and answers.
However, in my classes of 75, I've often steered away from this type of assessment. Yes, listening to student presentations is a great way to assess their mastery of content, but fitting 75 presentations into the short time we have together just isn't all that feasible. Instead, I have employed selection response assessments for my large groups, things like multiple choice test in which students select a response from provided alternatives.
In today's lesson, we'll take a look at these two assessment types and explore the benefits that come with each.
Let's start with the benefits of selection response assessments. As just stated, these are assessments in which students select a response from provided alternatives. Very familiar to most of us, multiple choice, matching, and true or false questions are all examples of selection response assessments. They're made up of concrete questions with specific answers. They're cut and dry. For this reason, selection response assessments are often referred to as objective tests, or tests which allow for an unbiased, set scoring systems. One answer is right, all others are wrong.
Although selection response assessments have come under increased scrutiny in the past few years, they do offer some benefits. First, and as already mentioned, they are objectively scored. They leave no room for teacher bias or preference. No matter how much you like little Suzie, you can't give her credit for filling in the France bubble when asked who America fought in the Revolutionary War. Conversely, you can't give the trouble-making Johnny a big red X when he answers Great Britain. Answers are either right or wrong, and scores reflect this reality.
Second, selection response assessments allow for timely assessment of large populations and material. As mentioned in my opening statement, watching student presentations is great when you have a handful of students, but doing it when you have 50 or more is rather time prohibitive. On the other hand, response assessments are not. They can be distributed, taken, and graded post-haste. Talk about efficient!
Adding to their practicality, selection response assessments can cover large amounts of material. For this reason, many educators use response assessments when seeking summative assessment. Summative assessment is designed to evaluate learning at the end of a distinct instructional time frame. For instance, a unit multiple choice test on the Greek Empire could include questions ranging from politics to philosophy. It could quiz on Greek rulers to Greek playwrights.
Lastly, for today's selection response list, they can be used to ensure foundation material has been mastered. For instance, before a chemistry teacher begins dolling out test tubes and chemicals, he needs to make sure his students know the symbols of the elements. After all, confusing something like sodium hydride with sodium chloride could be rather disastrous. In such a case, a matching test on the periodic table just might prudently fit the bill.
Now, onto supply response assessments. Again, these assessment tools require students to supply or construct their own responses and answers. For this reason, supply response assessments are also referred to as constructed response assessments.
Rather than filling in a bubble or choosing true or false, students must demonstrate mastery or understanding by supplying the evaluator with something. Whether it be a short answer or an hour long presentation, they must construct their own product or answer. No, this doesn't require scantron bubbles, but it's still assessment.
The benefits of supply response assessment are many. For this reason, we'll just hit on the main ones.
For starters, supply response assessments can be impromptu. For this reason, they are often used as formative assessments. Formative assessments are used during instruction to monitor student learning and teaching effectiveness. For instance, using supply response assessment, a teacher can stop in the middle of instruction and ask students to summarize what she has just taught. It gives her an on-the-spot-opportunity to evaluates her students' understanding by listening to their supplied responses. If they get it, she moves on. If they're hopelessly lost, she loops back around.
Along with being impromptu, supply response assessments allow educators to evaluate skills beyond memorization and recall. Suppose you're an English instructor teaching a unit on Shakespeare. If you give a multiple choice test on the characters in the play, you are pretty limited to assessing student recall because they memorize names and facts. However, if you ask them to write an essay comparing two characters, you get a glimpse into their thinking process, their opinion, and their command of the English language. Talk about killing a few birds with one stone.
Adding to this, supply response assessments give students the opportunity to exhibit mastery through a variety of means. This one is important because, let's face it, some of us are just bad test takers. We clam up, we get sweaty, and we panic.
As an example, my friend's son is on the autism spectrum. With this, he has a very hard time putting things down on paper. However, he is great with his hands. He can fix washing machines, repair computers, and build car engines. Now, what if his vocational education teacher limited all of his assessments to paper tests matching diagrammed engine parts to the appropriate name? Would this very talented boy ever be able to shine? Not at all! On the other hand, put him in front of the individual parts, and he'll supply you with a humming engine in no time! Talk about mastery!
In the same manner, many students are much better at showing what they know then recalling and regurgitating what they know. For this reason, supply assessments, things like letting them do a presentation, write a poem, paint a picture, or debate a topic, can be the best way to really show what they know. After all, if we're going to assess them, let's give 'em the chance to put their best feet forward!
Selection response assessments are assessments in which students select a response from provided alternatives. They are often referred to as objective tests, or tests which allow for unbiased, set scoring systems.
There are several benefits attached to selection response assessments:
Supply response assessments require students to supply or construct their own responses and answers. They are often called constructed response assessments. Benefits of this type of assessment include:
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Back To CourseAssessment of Learning for Teachers
7 chapters | 45 lessons