Purpose of Assessment

There are several reasons for assessment in the classroom, all of which are equally important in the learning process. Without assessment, teachers cannot maintain order, provide feedback, determine where a student belongs, or discover if any major problem exists in the classroom.

Assessment of the structure of the classroom is very important. That is, a teacher must create and maintain order, discipline, and cooperation within the classroom to ensure the highest level of learning. Part of being a teacher is having the ability to make decisions quickly and consistently in the best interest of the class and to maintain control.

Another type of assessment is the assessment of the actual lesson plans and how the information is present. The teacher constantly reviews his own teaching of the material in order to facilitate the needs of the students. If students as a whole are having trouble understanding a particular concept, the teacher would then adjust his lesson plans to accommodate time to re-teach.

Teachers must also use placement assessments to determine the level of understanding or to determine the prior knowledge of the student. For instance, if a student performs poorly on a knowledge assessment, then that student might be placed in a remedial setting. Teachers not only use this assessment to determine which group a particular student might work with but to determine where the student might sit in the class regularly. Placement assessment might also determine which group the student might work in best. Assessment of this manner is not only for academic reasons but also for social reasons.

Teachers also want to perform assessment to let the students and parents know how the child is doing in the classroom. There is no way to know how the child is performing if an assessment is not given. The teacher then has the ability to show the areas where the student is not performing well, which provides feedback to the student on where to strengthen their studies. A formative assessment is an assessment intended to change and improve the academic ability of the student through feedback. This type of feedback is usually coupled with an incentive for the student to improve. Teachers must continuously assess students to determine how much they have learned.

Teachers must also perform assessment to determine if the student is having any type of learning, emotional, or social problem. It is the responsibility of the teacher to evaluate standardized scores throughout the years, to compare the quality of student work, to determine if there is a lack of effort or a serious problem, and to make sure the student is not a threat to himself or others in the classroom. A teacher might work with the counselor or specialist if a possible problem is uncovered. Part of being a teacher is having the ability to assess for possible learning disabilities and emotional problems of particular students to make sure they are getting the services that they require.

Teachers must be able to judge individualized student work. Part of this judging requires a grading system that is non-biased and consistent. If it the job of the teacher to create and give tests, to assign grades, to create progress reports, and to differentiate the needs of each student. A teacher compiles all this information at the end of a grading period or a lesson unit to make a final judgment. In this final judgment, called a summative assessment, the teacher summarizes the learning up until that time and determines if the lessons were easy enough to be understood by the students.