Using assessment strategies to inform student learning

Year: 2002

Author: Izard, John

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Curriculum statements describe intentions: without valid student assessment practices the actual achievements are never compared in a legitimate way with the intentions. Valid student assessments provide quality assurance for certification of school achievement or professional recognition, for informing management, and for evaluation of innovations and development intervention. In Australia, National and State-wide testing programs seek to monitor pupil performance and raise standards of achievement. But improving achievement requires more than good tests. To use a farming analogy: the farmer's maize will grow better if appropriate nutrients and water are provided in timely fashion. Measuring the height of the maize frequently is not going to improve the yield at all.

This paper evaluates the contributions of assessment to provision of effective learning opportunities for all pupils through the:
• strategies used to measure and evaluate progress of students,
• effectiveness and usefulness of the scoring approaches for the tests,
• extent to which teacher-friendly methods of interpreting assessment evidence exist,
• availability of suitable teaching strategies which can follow identification of student achievement levels, and
• effects of other uses made of the tests by classroom teachers, school administrators, and Ministry of Education officers.