Friday, 3 February 2012

Testing and Assessing

Do you ever wonder; “What is the difference between testing and assessing children?”

Before we look at different ways of assessing children, let’s be clear about the difference between these.  The following definitions come from Teaching Children English. (Vale and Feunteun 1995, p. 227)

"A means of checking learning that has taken place with respect to a specified teaching context or input, often by means of a particular task. The results are usually concrete and can be expressed quantitatively e.g. as a mark or percentage."

"An attempt to analyse the learning that a child has achieved over a period of time as a result of the classroom/teaching/learning situation. Assessment does not need to be based on a particular task, nor is it usually expresses as a mark or percentage. It may include a subjective (teacher) opinion of the achievement of a child in terms of attitude, participation, socialisation, general cognitive and physical development etc. Assessment may be expressed ‘relatively’ in that the progress of a single child can be measured against her/his individual starting points and abilities rather than compared against the skills and abilities of other children – as in the traditional testing situation."

There are many standardised tests which are for specific purposes.  Assessments are, however, very useful for classroom teachers in helping them to know how to plan and provided for their students better.
If you have looked at the last blog about home visits, you will see that you were gaining information from parents who, maybe unknowingly, were assessing their child when they answered your questions. The questions are in the MI and Assessment booklet.

We will look at some or these and other assessments in future blogs.

With best wishes,

Margaret Warner
Dip. S.M.S., A.C.P., M.A. Ed.

International Education Consultant

MAW Education
MAW Publications

Assessment templates

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