When We Assess, How Can We Use Assessment to Move Forward?
If we, as educators, are to first and foremost ‘do no harm’ (Taylor and Nolen, 2008, p. 10), we need to continue to focus on the relationship between teaching, learning and assessment, and rethink some of the assumptions that we hold about testing and assessment. The academic race to be the smartest, most skilled student in the class does not place the focus of learning on improvement or the act of learning itself, but rather on achievement and outcomes alone. For assessment to be effective and to enhance, not harm, students’ learning, students must compete with themselves to continue to improve, and teachers should use assessment events to help students to develop effective learning strategies that will serve them beyond the classroom.
In our discussions so far, we have examined, why we assess (Chapter 1), what we assess (Chapter 2), how we assess in the classroom setting (Chapter 3), how we develop high-quality tests (Chapter 4) and who we assess from the point of view of needs analysis, placement and diagnostics (Chapter 5), and from the point of view of feedback and motivation (Chapter 6).
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