There are 3 types of assessments in Education. All three types assist the instructor in gathering information about the student performance in order to help them improve, correct, learn, and to measure whether they attained the knowledge as specified by the stated learning outcomes.
Diagnostic assessments are implemented at the beginning of instruction to collect data on what students already know about the topic, and whether they need remedial work before introducing new content. It can also let the instructor know if the students already know the content and the lessons need to be modified to be more advanced to meet the students’ needs. The goal is to get a glimpse of where students are in their knowledge, whether, intellectually, emotionally, or ideologically. This type of assessment allows the instructor to make sound instructional choices in choosing course content and what approach to take in instruction.
Formative assessment is very popular in the k-12 space; however, it has been mostly overlooked in higher education. It is administered during the instructional process where the instructor provides feedback allowing the student to improve, hence why it is labeled assessment FOR learning, since through feedback it can be implemented as a learning tool. Formative assessment measures and improves student progress and performance, but it can also be used as a gauge for teaching and content evaluation. This type of assessment is typically not graded and act as a gauge to students’ learning improvement and to determine teaching and content effectiveness.
Summative assessment measures whether the learning has been achieved and it takes place at the end of a unit, course, or program. It is highly recommended to develop rubrics, mapped to set of standards and learning outcomes to measure learning in summative assessments.
High-stakes summative assessments occur at the end of a semester or at key points where assessment a unit or set of instruction is completed. These types of assessments have two outcomes: 1) assessment of learning objectives for the unit or a course; 2) a grade output indicating the student has an acceptable level of knowledge to effectively progress to the next level.
Diagnostic assessment establishes what the product should be, formative assessment focuses on the process for completing the product, and summative assessment assesses the final product.
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