What are the types of assessment?
What are the types of assessment? Differentiate assessment for the training of learning and as learning.
Six types of assessments are:
- Diagnostic assessments.
- Formative assessments.
- Summative assessments.
- Ipsative assessments.
- Norm-referenced assessments.
- Criterion-referenced assessments.
1. Diagnostic assessment
Let’s say you’re starting a lesson on two-digit multiplication. To make sure the unit goes smoothly, you want to know if your students have mastered fact families, place value, and one-digit multiplication before you move on to more complicated questions.
When you structure diagnostic assessments around your lesson, you’ll get the information you need to understand student knowledge and engage your whole classroom.
Some examples to try include:
- Short quizzes
- Journal entries
- Student interviews
- Student reflections
- Classroom discussions
- Graphic organizers (e.g., mind maps, flow charts, KWL charts)
Diagnostic assessments can also help benchmark student progress. Consider giving the same assessment at the end of the unit so students can see how far they’ve come!
Using Prodigy for diagnostic assessments
One unique way of delivering diagnostic assessments is to use a game-based learning platform that engages your students.
Prodigy’s assessments tool helps you align the math questions your students see in-game with the lessons you want to cover.
2. Formative assessment
Just because students made it to the end-of-unit test, doesn’t mean they’ve mastered the topics in the unit. Formative assessments help teachers understand student learning while they teach, and provide them with information to adjust their teaching strategies accordingly.
Meaningful learning involves processing new facts, adjusting assumptions, and drawing nuanced conclusions. As researchers Thomas Romberg and Thomas Carpenter describe it:
3. Summative assessment
Summative assessments measure student progress as an assessment of learning. Standardized tests are a type of summative assessment and provide data for you, school leaders, and district leaders.
They can assist with communicating student progress, but they don’t always give clear feedback on the learning process and can foster a “teach to the test” mindset if you’re not careful.
Plus, they’re stressful for teachers. One Harvard survey found 60% of teachers said “preparing students to pass mandated standardized tests” “dictates most of” or “substantially affects” their teaching.
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But just because it’s a summative assessment, doesn’t mean it can’t be engaging for students and useful for your teaching. Try creating assessments that deviate from the standard multiple-choice test, like:
- Recording a podcast
- Writing a script for a short play
- Producing an independent study project
No matter what type of summative assessment you give your students, keep some best practices in mind:
- Keep it real-world relevant where you can
- Make questions clear and instructions easy to follow
- Give a rubric so students know what’s expected of them
- Create your final test after, not before, teaching the lesson
- Try blind grading: don’t look at the name on the assignment before you mark it
- Ipsative assessments
How many of your students get a bad grade on a test and get so discouraged they stop trying?
Ipsative assessments are one of the types of assessment as learning that compares previous results with a second try, motivating students to set goals and improve their skills.
When a student hands in a piece of creative writing, it’s just the first draft. They practice athletic skills and musical talents to improve but don’t always get the same chance when it comes to other subjects like math.
A two-stage assessment framework helps students learn from their mistakes and motivates them to do better. Plus, it removes the instant gratification of goals and teaches students learning is a process.
You can incorporate ipsative assessments into your classroom with:
- A two-stage testing process
- Project-based learning activities
One study on ipsative learning techniques found that when it was used with higher education distance learners, it helped motivate students and encouraged them to act on feedback to improve their grades.
In Gwyneth Hughes’ book, Ipsative Assessment: Motivation Through Marking Progress, she writes: “Not all learners can be top performers, but all learners can potentially make progress and achieve a personal best. Putting the focus onto learning rather than meeting standards and criteria can also be resource-efficient.”
5. Norm-referenced assessments
Norm-referenced assessments are tests designed to compare an individual to a group of their peers, usually based on national standards and occasionally adjusted for age, ethnicity, or other demographics.
Unlike ipsative assessments, where the student is only competing against themselves, norm-referenced assessments draw from a wide range of data points to make conclusions about student achievement.
Types of norm-referenced assessments include:
- IQ tests
- Physical assessments
- Standardized college admissions tests like the SAT and GRE
6. Criterion-referenced assessments
Criterion-referenced assessments compare the score of an individual student to a learning standard and performance level, independent of other students around them.
In the classroom, this means measuring student performance against grade-level standards and can include end-of-unit or final tests to assess student understanding.
Outside of the classroom, criterion-referenced assessments appear in professional licensing exams, high school exit exams, and citizenship tests, where the student must answer a certain percentage of questions correctly to pass.
Criterion-referenced assessments are most often compared with norm-referenced assessments. While they’re both considered types of assessments of learning, criterion-referenced assessments don’t measure students against their peers. Instead, each student is graded to provide insight into their strengths and areas for improvement.
Different types of assessments can help you understand student progress in various ways. This understanding can inform the teaching strategies you use and may lead to different adaptations.
In your classroom, assessments generally have one of three purposes:
- Assessment of learning
- Assessment for learning
- Assessment as learning
Assessment of learning
You can use assessments to help identify if students are meeting grade-level standards.
Assessments of learning are usually grade-based, and can include:
- Final projects
- Standardized tests
They often have a concrete grade attached to them that communicates student achievement to teachers, parents, students, school-level administrators, and district leaders.
Common types of assessment of learning include:
- Summative assessments
- Norm-referenced assessments
- Criterion-referenced assessments
Assessment for learning
Assessments for learning provide you with a clear snapshot of student learning and understanding as you teach allowing you to adjust everything from your classroom management strategies to your lesson plans as you go.
Assessments for learning should always be ongoing and actionable. When you’re creating assessments, keep these key questions in mind:
- What do students still need to know?
- What did students take away from the lesson?
- Did students find this lesson too easy? Too difficult?
- Did my teaching strategies reach students effectively?
- What are students most commonly misunderstand?
- What did I most want students to learn from this lesson? Did I succeed?
Assessment as learning
- Assessment as learning actively involves students in the learning process. It teaches critical thinking skills, problem-solving and encourages students to set achievable goals for themselves and objectively measure their progress.
They can help engage students in the learning process, too! One study” showed that in most cases the students pointed out the target knowledge as the reason for a task to be interesting and engaging, followed by the way the content was dealt with in the classroom.”