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Where to start with teacher assessment

Teacher assessment can be hugely beneficial when done right, but can also give rise to problems. Here, we take a look at where to start.
Teacher smiling and helping a group of students with their work.
© British Council

Here, we consider the best ways to implement teacher assessment, both for individuals and classes. We will also take a look at what both processes involve, and the benefits & pitfalls they present.

Teacher assessment of individuals

What’s involved?

Teacher assessment of individual students happens when the teacher observes students over a period of time and evaluates which skill steps a student demonstrates. The observation can be supported by tests and exercises and is recorded at the individual student level.

Advantages and disadvantages

This can be a reliable, consistent approach to assessment, as it supports reflection of the individual strengths and developmental needs of students. Monitoring over the course of the year can be a useful formative tool for helping teachers understand what activities are effective in building skills. This approach can be time consuming, though. It relies on being able to make accurate observations and so requires a high level of confidence in applying the framework.

Teacher assessment at class level

What’s involved?

Teacher assessment at a class level happens when the teacher observes students in their group over a period of time and reviews the extent to which the class is capable of the different skill steps. Assessment in this approach will normally be a reflection on how many students in a group have mastered a particular step, for example none, very few, some, most or all.

Advantages and disadvantages

This is a quick exercise for a teacher. As it takes one step at a time, it is a helpful formative assessment exercise to help you decide whether this is an appropriate step to focus on teaching. It can be used with students of all ages. However, because the assessment is at class level, it is much less helpful for identifying and differentiating for individual students. It doesn’t give students an individual view of their skill set and so can reduce their sense of ownership.


© British Council
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