6.2 What is the purpose of assessment?
Assessment should provide multiple measures and opportunities for students to create and demonstrate what they can do with a language. To provide a comprehensive picture of a student’s language ability, the teacher should strive to create a balance between formative assessment and summative assessment.
Assessments should be authentic and include alternative and integrated performance-based assessments.
The teacher and language learner need to identify goals, objectives, and expected results before beginning to plan a lesson or activity. In other words, it is essential to determine what the learner should know, understand, and be able to do. According to Terry Crooks is his article about classroom evaluation, classroom assessment “guides students’ judgment of what is important to learn, affects their motivation and self-perceptions of competence, structures their approaches to and timing of personal study… and consolidates learning and affects the development of enduring learning strategies and skills.”
Once learning goals and objectives are set, the teacher and language learner must determine what type of evidence will show how well those goals have been met. The assessments should reflect student progress and should move from simple to more complex tasks.
After the objectives and the type of evidence to document success are determined, then the teacher and language learner can begin to develop activities that will guide and prepare the learner with the knowledge and skills to master those objectives.
The purpose of assessment differs according to who is conducting or using the assessment.
- School administrators use assessment as benchmarks for instruction, placement, or exemption in course levels and certification.
- Teachers use assessments as diagnostic tools and feedback for guiding instruction, evidence of progress, and evaluation of teaching or curriculum.
- Researchers use assessment to gather data on knowledge about language learning and language use, and for evaluation or experimentation of programs.
In this video, state language consultants, district supervisors, and administrators comment on the impact of LinguaFolio in a balanced assessment program. How has LinguaFolio been helpful for these administrators, and how has it been used in these districts as a vital formative assessment? How do you imagine LinguaFolio being useful for assessment in your own classroom or school setting?
- Video transcript: “What is the Purpose of Assessment?”
- Document courtesy of North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
- Open as PDF (211 KB, 2 pages)
A comprehensive, balanced assessment program
A comprehensive, balanced assessment program is a combination of formative and summative assessments, aligned with state and national standards.
- Next: Formative assessments