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Assessment may improve the educational system if used properly. Assessment has the ability to inform teachers and other school leaders about what is working and what isn’t working. It can identify strengths in the curriculum of a school. It can also identify areas that need refinement and improvement. The assessment process can guide future decisions of the school regarding professional development needs, curriculum and pedagogical changes, and possibly a restructuring of the school day and climate.
For students, assessment can inform them about what skills are strong, and what skills need to be developed. It also may suggest to students if more time and effort is needed in preparing for a specific subject. It may also indicate if additional help or support is needed.
When an assessment is used to threaten students about promotion or to threaten staff about their job security, then it serves a counterproductive purpose. Assessment should be used to help a student, teacher, or school identify areas of strength and areas that need development and improvement. This would then allow for a plan of action to be developed and implemented.
Assessment is an important tool for students of all ages. Formative assessment can be used by a teacher to gauge how her students are learning from one day to the next. It can be done at the beginning or end of a lesson. Student responses can be done with a thumbs up, stickers, and a variety of other written responses. It can also be anonymous.
Summative assessments are usually quizzes or tests that come at the very end of a unit to assess learning. These are usually graded or scored. It's the cumulative score showing expected outcomes. This type of assessment alone doesn't give a teacher much information into exactly what a student knows.
All assessments used in schools today can have a very positive effect on the education system, if they are specific and well-made. Taking time each day or week to check for understanding benefits all involved. It helps direct the learning goals and facilitates student understanding.
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