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Assessment within education consists of teachers gathering information: Education Assignment, UCC, Ireland

University University College Cork (UCC)
Subject Education

Assessment within education consists of teachers gathering information in order to build a picture of a child’s progress over time. More specifically “assessment is the ways instructors gather data about their teaching and their students’ learning (Hanna & Dettmer, 2004).

Assessment takes place in order to evaluate pupils over the content they are learning which is essential for effective teaching and learning. Therefore, it must accommodate all pupils’ needs and interest as they learn in different ways. This encourages teachers to incorporate a variety of assessment techniques. Teachers ask themselves questions such as can the pupil now move on? Or do I need to scaffold further? According to (Mathew et al, 2017), “reflective practice is a process that facilitates teaching, learning and understanding”. This practice plays a central role for teachers in order to improve and increase learner performance. They reach out to their own past experiences to guide and help them grow professionally.

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The Department of Education (DES) set out two types of assessment. They are Assessment of Learning (AoL) and Assessment for Learning (AfL). AfL is important as it “provides information about what students already know and can do” thus enabling the teacher to make appropriate decisions in the next step (Earl, 2006, p34). Pupils then receive the guidance and support that they need in order to progress. AfL can be suited to any pupil regardless of their age and ability, an effective teacher integrates this method into lessons naturally thus allowing the pupils to become more active in their learning. In contrast, Aol “generally takes place at the end of a learning period” where a teacher designed test or a standardised test will be the method of assessment (NCCA, 2007). Often the teachers can be more focused on the children’s results rather than their learning. The information from the tests can then be interpreted by the teacher. AfL portrays greater value for the child as it creates a holistic picture of the children’s abilities rather than basing it on a summative and standard test.

A wide range of assessment techniques are recommended by the NCCA (2007), ranging from child-led to teacher-led. Should assessment methods be limited to one or two, it is likely that students will be unfairly assessed (Hobart, Frankel and Hobart, 1999). It is important to use a variety of assessment methods in order to build an informative picture of the child’s progress and achievements which have been created over time.

This can be demonstrated in SESE subjects, within a science lesson teachers can observe and use self-assessment, completed through learning logs. Pupils learning styles vary and therefore it is essential to vary the assessment methods. This gives an opportunity for all different learning styles to be accommodated for and for all children to demonstrate their learning (Chappuis,2008).

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Teacher observation is an assessment strategy which allows the teacher to monitor a child without pressing them with written tasks whereby their literacy might prevent them from demonstrating their knowledge (Jason, 2008) of a given SESE topic. It is a is a simple and effective technique used in artefact three, whereby the teacher circulates the room while guiding, monitoring and facilitating the pupils as they work co-operatively with their group.

However, teachers often have made a prejudgement of child in their own class which in turn will influence the assessment of a pupil. The term given to this is the ‘halo effect’, whereby the teacher has a certain expectation of a student but is in turn different to reality (Maxwell, 2001). This can have a negative impact for the teacher as he/she will presume a student does not achieve the learning objectives, although they actually have (Maxwell, 2001). It is recommended that by adopting a hypothesis-testing stance on all observations where prejudgements are likely and the use of another form of assessment, a teacher checklist

would be an appropriate technique as the teacher could tick or make a written comment about individual children based on their ability for each of the learning objectives.

Self-assessment is a pupil led method of observation which is very important in the classroom. This assessment type is evident at the end of a lesson when pupils are given time to think and reflect while completing a simple learning log. The children must colour in either the happy, sad or in-between smiley face according to how easy or difficult they found the lesson. This places a sense of responsibility and self-motivation on each pupil even at a young age. The pupils can also justify their assessment to others such as the teacher or their classmates and any feedback offered should also be taken on board. (Murchan & Shiel,2017)

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