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Why do you assess your learners?

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Hello! This week, you’ll be looking at assessment. When we talk about this, we don’t just mean testing– which is something we probably do sometimes during a course– although this is part of assessment. Assessment is a wider term, and includes the day to day monitoring and evaluation of learning in class. Let’s kick off by thinking about why we assess. First, listen to teachers talking about the reasons why they do assessment in class. And then write your own ideas in the comments below. Why do you assess your learners?
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Oh yes, assessment is a very important part of the curriculum. So here, any good curriculum will have a proper alignment. An alignment between what to teach, how to teach, and how to assess. So, if we need to know how much of the learning objectives have been achieved, we need to go for assessment. And assessment is also important to promote the students, to grade the students, and to give them feedback as well– like for formative assessment we give them feedback. So they receive feedback and they can improve themselves. And assessment also improves the teacher’s teaching as well, because it is a kind of feedback to the teacher as well.
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Maybe this part was not clear to the student, because most of them didn’t understand, so I have to change my teaching strategy. Maybe I have to add something new, I have to add some more input as well. So assessment is very important for both learner and the teacher. I would say it depends. Because, English in primary school in my context, we do assess the students. But then, I now think that it depends– I mean especially in terms of assessing their writing. So, it depends in a way, that if it aims to help the students know how to learn, for example, learning to learn, or to help them assess themselves, it’s OK.
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But in my context, we assess the students according to the school requirement or local education board requirement, which is really traditional assessment– for example paper and pencil test, things like that. It’s not really suitable for the students.
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I think assessment is the most important aspect in teaching, because a good assessment can have a very powerful washback on teaching. So I think if there is a need to make any changes to education, it should start with assessment. If assessment format and content is taken care of, then it can have a positive benefit on teaching and learning.
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Of course assessment is an important part of the learning process. We need to know, and the students themselves need to know, whether they learned the outcomes as stated at the beginning or no. So, I think it’s a must.
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By knowing where they are, they’ll know what’s the next step to be taken. And they will know if they want to repeat some activities or learn something again, if they didn’t or they haven’t mastered it yet, and so on. By assessment student and teachers know the level or whether the students learned. So students themselves need to know, if they learned properly. They need to recycle or go back to some specific outcomes, or if they can go further in their learnings.

Watch Suzanne introducing the fourth and final week of the course, and listen to experienced teachers talking about why they do assessment in class.

Assessment and testing are often used interchangeably but are not the same thing. Assessment covers everything that teachers do to collect information about learner progress and achievement. This includes testing but has other aspects as well, like monitoring progress during each lesson.

As you watch the video, consider the following questions:

  • Whose opinion do you agree with the most?
  • Why do you assess your learners?
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