Step 3. Adopt, Adapt, or Develop Assessments That Are Aligned with and Reflect the Performance Descriptions and Expectations
Assessments can draw upon a myriad of testing or measurement tasks ranging from informal, teacher designed activities to standardized, norm referenced tests. The fundamental role of assessment is to provide meaningful feedback for improving student learning, instructional practice, and educational options.
This section introduces you to a variety of assessments to measure student performance and mastery of Texas Standards.
Categories of AssessmentsThere are many ways to categorize assessments. For our purposes, we will divide the categories into
Selected response assessments include multiple choice, true/false, and matching tests. They are efficient ways of measuring knowledge acquisition and it is easy to set levels for performance (e.g., 18 correct out of 20 = B). However, you can't always tell whether a student is guessing, his/her depth of knowledge, and/or ability to apply or transfer knowledge.
An example of a selected response assessment of Internet-based instruction may be to have students take a written test on facts they were able to access using the web or identifying the right sequence of steps to accomplish something.
Constructed response assessments include fill in the blank, short answers, show your work, and visual depiction activities. Students create answers to questions or prompts. These give teachers a better sense of how well students can convey information and demonstrate some skills like mapping, graphing, and so on.
An example of a constructed response assessment of Internet-based instruction may be to ask students to map their journeys in trying to answer a complex question, use data to construct a graph, and/or provide a brief description of the results of a search.
Performance assessments generally require students to demonstrate something that meets specific criteria. This could include, for example, demonstrations of how to conduct a search, posting artwork on the web, producing a book, enactments, scientific demonstrations or exhibits, research papers, and so forth. Some of these are projects, some are performance tasks, and some are culminating activities. Typically, performance assessments illuminate students' skills, conceptual understandings, ability to apply knowledge and skills, performance execution abilities, and process abilities.
An example of a performance assessment of Internet-based instruction may be to ask students to post an essay written by accessing information from a number of websites; create a book for younger students on fun websites to visit; and/or use information accessed to conduct science experiments, communicate with students in another country to analyze the implications of international trade agreements, and so forth.
Adopting AssessmentsThere are so many wonderful assessments that it is often unnecessary to reinvent them! Look in our lesson bank, teachers' manuals, your school's district office, and other places (including some of our links in Online Resources for assessment.) Be sure you have permission to copy before simply adopting something that already exists and give appropriate credit to the source.
Adapting AssessmentsSometimes you can take an existing assessment and adapt it or customize it for your purposes. When you do this, be sure that you give credit to the source and that you do not inadvertently change the assessment so much that it is ineffective or unreliable. For informal assessments, reliability is not as much of an issue, but if you adapt a scale, you may be changing something that violates its internal validity or reliability check. If you change something, it's a good idea to ask someone else to look at it to see whether it is measuring what you intend to measure.
Developing AssessmentsThis is not as easy as it may look! Good assessments must:
To design an assessment:
Try it! Use results to improve instruction, student learning, and the assessment itself.
Questions to Consider
Updated August 25, 2005
Copyright © 2000, RMC Research Corporation