Assessment is about gathering evidence of what a student can do. We can have different purposes for gathering this information, and in some cases more than one purpose. Assessment is often classified loosely around these purposes as formative, summative and diagnostic assessment.
Assessment becomes formative when the evidence from assessment is used to adapt teaching to improve learning. It is an integral part of the teaching and learning process. It is sometimes referred to as assessment for learning.
Since 2003 the main focus of the Assessment Resource Banks has been on formative assessment (assessment for learning). Many of the tasks are designed to find out not only a students’ response to a task, but why they have made that response. The Teachers’ Guide pages provide information to help teachers analyse students’ responses and make decisions about what to do next.
assessment and the Assessment Resource Banks
To find out more about formative assessment go to TKI's assessment kete.
Self- and peer-assessment
Self- and peer-assessment are an integral part of formative assessment. In this context students need to be actively involved in making judgements about their work and their progress towards understanding ideas.
For students to learn from assessment they not only have to gather evidence of their learning, but also:
Selecting ARB resources for self- and peer-assessment
Use keywords "self assessment" or "peer assessment" when searching for resources.
Use keyword "work samples" to search for annotated examples of student work. These can be used by students to
- set goals for their own work
- identify features of the task to attend to
- identify features of exemplary work
- practise critiquing work
The information in the Teachers’ Guide pages can be used by teachers or students to develop self- and peer-assessment tasks.
Diagnostic assessment is when assessment is used to identify possible strengths and weaknesses of individual students. It may be specific, to check on a particular skill or understanding, or it may be broad to indicate at the beginning of a unit of work areas that need attention.
Selecting ARB resources for diagnostic assessment
If the assessment focus is specific, make sure that the assessment focus of the resource matches the area of interest.
It can sometimes be useful to select four or five resources with a similar focus, but with an escalating level of difficulty. Refer to the level of difficulty provided for many resources in the Teachers’ Guide.
Total marks are unimportant. Instead, analyse the student responses to identify patterns of strength and weakness, and plan to cater for these during teaching.
Pre- and post-tests
Teachers may select resources to assess levels of knowledge and understanding before a new phase of teaching. The same resources, or a selection of similar ones, may be administered at the end of the teaching phase to check progress.
Summative assessment is intended to summarise student achievement at a particular time (Crooks, 2001).
Summative assessment can be used to
- identify students’ achievement of learning
- track progress of learning
- compare against a standard
- rank students
- provide evidence of learning to parents
When results of a class, school or group of students are collated, summative assessment data can be used
- to inform planning and resourcing for broad areas that need attention
- to show shifts in achievement across the group
- for accountability.
Summative assessment data can also be formative if it is used to provide feedback to the student that leads to further improvement.
Selecting ARB resources for summative assessment
- Check that the assessment focus matches the learning outcomes/intentions for the student work.
- Tasks chosen should accurately reflect the content of the work that has been taught.
- Check that the level of difficulty fits the range of achievements expected by the class.
- Consider whether the resource assesses "deep" learning or surface features. Does this match the learning intentions being assessed?
- You may want to put together several resources that assess a broad range of learning intentions. Use the My Folder facility to sort a range of related assessments.
How to group resources using My Folder
Think about what you want students to know about their performance.
- A mark will tell them whether they were right or wrong.
- A total score may give them an indication of their overall level of achievement for what is being assessed.
- Written or oral feedback related to the assessment focus may provide information that leads to further learning.
Teachers who need to prepare their own assessment materials may wish to adapt some of the approaches and ideas used in the ARB resources.
Student tasks have an MS Word version that enables the resource to be tailored to meet specfic needs. A different picture can be inserted, a question deleted, or a word changed, as required.
How to change a resource
Note: If you change a resource, the information and difficulty levels in the Teachers’ Guide pages may no longer be appropriate for the modified resource.
Good assessment practice includes providing a range of options for students to show what they know and can do. For ideas for a variety of ways to assess students go to Assessment strategies.
The ARB resources can be used to contribute to Overall Teacher Judgements (OTJ) about students. They can be used to probe areas of interest in greater depth. Completing an appropriate ARB task may
- provide additional evidence that an aspect of a standard has been reached
- confirm that an aspect of a standard has not yet been mastered
- provide further information for focusing next teaching.
Many ARB tasks include ways to explore why a student gives a particular response. Once it is understood what is going wrong for a student it is much easier to decide what to do next.
Extensive notes for teachers accompany each ARB task to help them analyse student responses. Suggestions are made for possible next learning steps.
National Standards »