The objective of ongoing assessment is to determine the degree and nature of student learning, to monitor progress over time and to help teachers make targeted instructional decisions that are most likely to improve student learning.
The objective of ongoing assessment is to determine the degree and nature of student learning, to monitor progress over time and to help teachers make targeted instructional decisions that are most likely to improve student learning. Other terms that are frequently used to refer to ongoing student assessment include formative assessment, assessment for learning, curriculum-based measurement and progress monitoring.
Methods for ongoing assessment vary and include strategies for gathering evidence of learning that are common to many teachers. For example, many teachers conduct item analysis from short answer or multiple-choice tests to gauge student learning and determine needs for further instruction. Other strategies for gathering evidence include creation of a student portfolio that highlights a child’s effort and progress toward specific goals over time, anecdotal records or ongoing notes made by the teacher or related service personnel about a child’s behavior or performance on specific tasks, and scoring rubrics. Rubrics are shared with students prior to an assignment and the teacher provides descriptive feedback after reviewing each student’s work combined with opportunities for students to make corrections. As noted by Gareis and Grant (2008), researchers have identified feedback as an essential component of effective teaching…researchers have established increasing evidence that teachers’ formative assessment practices in the classroom can significantly contribute to improved student learning (p.165).
In order to encourage teachers to engage in research-based practices for ongoing assessment that will support student learning, various action items are suggested by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (2008) that include the following:
- Grade-level and subject-specific teachers should work together to clarify the learning goals of their instruction and review their assessment practices to ensure that they reflect the intended learner outcomes (Fuchs, 1994; Elliott, 1994).
- Teachers should share effective instructional practices and provide the assessment data used to determine the effec-tiveness of those practices
- Administrators should set aside a period for teachers to discuss their grading practices, educational priorities, and expected standards of accomplishment (Driscoll, 1986).
- Students should be involved in the development of scoring criteria, and should learn to use those criteria for self-evaluation and goal setting.