What Do We Assess?
This chapter addresses some of the most challenging aspects in teaching: deciding what to teach, what to assess and how to align assessment in the classroom to the learning goals and outcomes for our students. Such goals and outcomes may be explicitly defined for a whole programme by benchmarks and standards, curriculum and external tests, or implicitly defined by teachers through textbooks at the classroom level. Teachers may also define outcomes by eliciting information from their students through needs analysis, student–student and student– teacher interaction, student self-assessment, and so forth. Look at Figure 2.1 and think about what it means to us as teachers to achieve instructional goals or outcomes through teaching and assessment. In the centre of this triangle is our students’ learning. The first question we need to ask relates to the learning goals or outcomes we have for our students: What do I want my students to learn?
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