(‘Assessment’ is topic under continuous discussion at Faculty Room of Disha Edupoint. In t
his article, I will attempt to put forth our initial discussion done on 4th of June, 2018.)
What does ‘assessment’ mean? Though we will be discussing its meaning in acade
mic sense only, I wish to bring to your attention, the general meaning of it first. When you file your income tax, you come across the term ‘Assessment Year’. When you ‘parachute land’ into a new scenario to handle things, you ‘assess’ the situation first. The meaning of the word may vary according to where it is used. Broadly, it
is about ‘gathering data to analyse the situation of thing under scanner’.
In academics, assessment broadly means ‘the process of gathering, recording and using information about a learner’s response (performance/achievement) to a task’. Does it sound familiar? Yes, the tests, vivas, classroom quizzes etc are all part of one big scheme. Assessment!
But I would like to broaden our perspective at the onset only. Students are not the only section to be assessed but Teachers, Institutes, Policies and Policy Makers need also be assessed if we need ‘better outcomes’.
Why do we ‘assess’? Answer is pretty obvious. We assess so as to understand where the learner stands on(or is far off) his designated learning curve, which in turn can be used to take necessary ‘corrective’ actions. Assessment is a collective term for number of possible means and instruments to gather the information about learners progress. For example, a doctor may use MRI, CT Scan, X-ray and all kind of pathological tests to gather information about patients health condition and diagnose, so that he can decide best possible treatment and cure the illness. Note that doctor don’t do tests at random. He decides the set of tests to be done based on elementary observations and his own expertise, with a specific goal. In academics too, clear objective is very important for effective assessment.
Can we recall, how we have been using assessment, as Teachers?
• Use of short, objective type questions to assess prior knowledge of student at the start of the lecture.
• Use of short objective questions as checkpoints during and at end of lecture to assess students learning.
• Subjective/objective tests to assess whether objectives of lessons have been achieved.
• Subjective/objective (weekly at Disha Edupoint) tests to assess critical thinking skills and/or applied skills of students. Also assess their readiness for actual competitive exams.
• Survey to assess ‘effectiveness of teacher and her/his Strategies’.
• Viva Voce to assess ability of students to vocally demonstrate her/his learning and closely assess their thought process.
• Indirect assessment by observation.
At the end, I would like to conclude by the reminder that gathering the data i.e. Assessment must be designed with well thought objective, detailed plan to use it for improvement and positive follow-up/feedback loop.
To be continued…