Introduction (Psychology and Mental Health)
Every person has experienced some type of assessment. Those who have had public education in the United States are familiar with the SAT Reasoning Test and the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) administered in schools. Those whose native language is not English and have pursued education in the United States particularly know about the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL). Those who have applied to graduate schools are familiar with the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Assessment is used quite often, for different purposes, in daily life.
Assessment is a general term for a broad range of processes that includes testing, measuring, and evaluation. Testing is simply a particular part of assessment, usually a set of questions that participants must answer in a fixed time period and under certain conditions. Measuring is a process that assigns numbers to assessment results, such as the number of correct or incorrect answers to a project or performance. A rubric rating scale is usually created to record quantitative or qualitative data. Evaluation is a process of assessment that emphasizes a value or a judgment to match with the correlated objectives of a project, an instruction, or a performance to see how well the project or performance is done.
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Standard, Alternative, and Self-Assessment (Psychology and Mental Health)
There are different types of assessment, using specific tests, measurements, and ways of evaluation, and they used for different purposes. Generally, the assessment can be classified as standardized assessment, alternative assessment, or self-assessment.
Standardized assessment adopts standardized tests to measure and evaluate a performance. Standardized tests are always developed by a major test publisher for a large population and administered under the same conditions and time limits to all participants. The SAT Reasoning Test is a typical example. Standard assessment is carried out to see how the results are norm-referenced for interpretation, that is, to compare an individual’s performance with the performance of his or her peers. For example, a person’s SAT score can be ranked in percentile compared with others of the same age or grade. If a person’s percentile rank is 84, that means that 84 percent of all of the scores are lower than this individual’s score.
According to educator James H. McMillan, alternative assessment and self-assessment are weighted more toward assessment of the process than assessment of a product or a performance. Individually created tests, portfolios, exhibitions, journals, and other forms of assessment are commonly used. Alternative assessment is intended to engage an individual in the process of learning and thinking and in demonstrating during a...
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Other Assessments (Psychology and Mental Health)
According to educator Donald Orlich, assessment can also be classified by the uses of tests: placement assessment, diagnostic assessment, formative assessment, and summative assessment. Either standardized tests or self-made tests can be adopted in the process of these assessments.
Placement assessment determines whether an individual has the required knowledge and skills to begin a new position. In education, placement-assessment instruments are those pretests to see whether a student can be accepted or placed into a certain grade for instruction. Spontaneous, informal observations and interviews are also usually adopted in the placement assessment.
Diagnostic assessment tends to identify an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (K-ABC) and Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery-Revised (WJ-R) are two specific diagnostic assessment instruments. K-ABC is used to diagnose the learning potential and learning styles of children between 2.5 and 12.5 years old. WJ-R is used to assess the intellectual and academic development of individuals from preschool to adulthood.
Formative assessment monitors a person’s learning or working progress to provide feedback to enrich knowledge and skills. It is believed that formative assessments and feedback can play an important role in supporting a performance. The portfolio is one of the commonly adopted...
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Validity and Reliability (Psychology and Mental Health)
The quality of an assessment depends on its validity and its reliability. Validity refers to the appropriateness of the inferences, uses, and consequences that result from the assessment. It is the degree to which a test measures what it is supposed to measure. A specific test may be valid for a particular purpose and for a particular group. Therefore, the question is not whether a test is valid or invalid, but rather what it is valid for and for which group. However, it is important that a test is valid to measure or evaluate a typical situation or typical group of students. John Salvia and James E. Ysseldyke classify validity as content validity, criterion-related validity, or construct validity. Content validity is the degree to which a test’s items actually represent the contents to be measured. Test items cannot measure each or every content area, but it is expected that the test items will adequately sample the content area. If a test does not measure what students are supposed to learn, the test score will not reflect a student’s achievement. Criterion-related validity is the degree to which an individual’s performance can be estimated on the assessment procedure being validated. Concurrent criterion-related validity and predictive criterion-related validity are commonly described. Concurrent criterion-related validity refers to how accurately a test score is related to the scores on another test administered...
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Sources for Further Study (Psychology and Mental Health)
McMillan, James H. Classroom Assessment: Principles and Practice for Effective Instruction. 2d ed. Boston: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon, 2007. This book provides prospective and practicing teachers with principles, current trends, and practical examples of assessment for more effective teaching.
Maroemau, C. “Self-Assessment at Work: Outcomes of Adult Learners’ Reflections on Practice.” In Research Methods 01/02, edited by Mary Renck Jalongo, Gail Gerlach, and Wenfan Yan. Guilford, Conn.: McGraw-Hill, 2001. This qualitative study examined the outcomes of engaging in self-assessment as perceived by students in an experience-based graduate program.
Orlich, D., R. Harder, and R. Callahan. Teaching Strategies. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. Provides an informative discussion on assessment, from basic concepts and assessment tools to instructional decision making.
Ruiz-Primo, M. A., S. E. Schultz, and M. Li. “Comparison of the Reliability and Validity of Scores from Two Concept-Mapping Techniques.” Journal of Research in Science Teaching 38, no. 2 (February, 2001): 260-278. The authors discuss reliability and validity by comparing two concept-mapping techniques, one high-directed, “fill-in-the-map,” and one low-directed, “construct-a-map-from-scratch.”
Salvia, J., and J. E. Ysseldyke. Assessment. 7th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004. This...
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Assessment (Encyclopedia of Children's Health)
Assessment is a process of gathering and documenting information about the achievement, skills, abilities, and personality variables of an individual.
Assessment is used in both an educational and psychological setting by teachers, psychologists, and counselors to accomplish a range of objectives. These include the following:
- to learn more about the competencies and deficiencies of the individual being tested
- to identify specific problem areas and/or needs
- to evaluate the individual's performance in relation to others
- to evaluate the individual's performance in relation to a set of standards or goals
- to provide teachers with feedback on effectiveness of instruction
- to evaluate the impact of psychological or neurological abnormalities on learning and behavior
- to predict an individual's aptitudes or future capabilities
In the early 2000s standardized tests are increasingly used to evaluate performance in U.S. schools. Faced with declining test scores by American students when compared to others around the world, state governments and the federal...
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Assessment (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The process by which the financial worth of property is determined. The amount at which an item is valued. A demand by the board of directors of a corporation for the payment of any money that is still owed on the purchase of capital stock. The determination of the amount of damages to be awarded to a plaintiff who has been successful in a lawsuit. The ascertainment of the pro rata share of taxes to be paid by members of a group of taxpayers who have directly benefited from a particular common goal or project according to the benefit conferred upon the individual or his or her property. This is known as a special assessment. The listing and valuation of property for purposes of fixing a tax upon it for which its owner will be liable. The procedure by which the INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, or other government department of taxation, declares that a taxpayer owes additional tax because, for example, the individual has understated personal gross income or has taken deductions to which he or she is not entitled. This process is also known as a deficiency assessment.
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