Documenting student progress is a continuous activity over a specified period of time depending on the course objective. Continuous assessment is entirely different from an end of the term examination. Effective assessment is something that happens throughout the learning process. According to (“Assessment: A Window to Learning,” n.d.) a single assessment indicates understanding at a particular moment, while a collection of student work and the teacher's perceptions provides a reflection of the fluid, dynamic nature of learning.
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Effective assessment tools should help students achieve their progress toward specified standards. These tools should stimulate self-directed learning and make students understand what they have learned in a subject and how it is useful in their lives. In other words, their critical thinking ability should develop during the period of continuous assessment. (“Assessment: A Window to Learning,” n.d.) further clarifies that assessment results can be guideposts that help both teacher and student identify what has been learned and what areas need further work.
In order to achieve this goal, effective classroom management strategies should be practiced. Conducive atmosphere for the open exchange of ideas between teachers and students should finally open up channels of communication with parents and community at large. This can bring about active engagement in academic activities and formation of socially acceptable behavior patterns in students. This happens as a result of a student’s meaningful interaction with his immediate surroundings.
Another Important aspect is the role of the teacher in the formation of student behavior. A class is often composed of students with diverse talents, different family backgrounds, and various behavior patterns. Once the teacher is able to create and maintain a congenial atmosphere in the class, the active participation of this diverse group can be ensured in the learning process. (“Assessment: A Window to Learning,” n.d.) points out that teachers are researchers in their classrooms. They are engaged in observing students who are engaged in learning. Walking around the classroom with a clipboard and an observation sheet can be an effective way to keep track of student progress. Once these conditions are met, we should evaluate the effectiveness of the assessment tools.
National Science Education Standards, (cited in Assessment Strategies and Tools, n.d.) points out that more emphasis should be given to students’ explanations and evidence of reasoning rather than on facts and right and wrong answers. An effective tool should assess well-structured knowledge that is highly valued. It should assess scientific understanding and reasoning rather than assessing scientific knowledge.
This shift in emphasis calls for self and peer assessments. According to (Assessment Strategies and Tools, n.d.) when students are involved in the assessment process, know what’s expected, and help set learning goals and criteria for success, they are motivated to take responsibility for their own learning. They are better able to focus on learning goals/targets and improve products and performances; they also develop an awareness of their own strengths and gaps in understanding. In doing this, they come to see themselves as competent learners. In short, an effective assessment tool is one that links all components (the student, the teacher, and the community) in a harmonious manner.
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