Testing vs. Assessment

It’s been dormant for the summer, but once the kids are back in school, the debate will revive: how much testing is necessary to define a student’s progress (or the lack thereof)?

Standardized tests do many things: they assess a certain range of skills, they can provide a snapshot of data for analysis (although this data is all too often aggregated into entire grades of a school, making it difficult to analyze for the purposes of teaching and learning), and they can provide a benchmark for comparisons among schools (although this is really just a reflection of the resources at the school’s disposal, and the move to more testing has not changed this).

But assessment should be much more than just testing.  Assessment should be about a student’s progress as they gain a wide range of skills; not just test-taking, but also the abilities to

  • think and to express those thoughts clearly
  • think critically and to evaluate arguments
  • think creatively in different media and environments
  • work with others to set and reach a goal

That’s why WorldView provides multiple forms of assessment.  Of course we have the multiple choice questions that test factual and conceptual knowledge (although ours also have mini-lesson answers that extend the student’s knowledge of the subject!).  But we also have essays (both guided and unguided), document- and image-based short answer questions, tutorials that combine both, and projects that allow students to give their creativity full rein, both on- and offline.

We also give teachers the ability to look at the data thus generated both by student and by class — proper assessment allows teachers to refocus their lessons if necessary, ensuring every students’ progress.

[The featured image “Exam” is by Flickr user Alberto G]

BulbgraphOnOffUse an Art gallery image to introduce a lesson or unit by discussing the image’s content, context, artist, and audience.