Student assessment in the course of learning has become a matter of concern in the education area lately. Classroom assessment refers to series of activities used by teachers and stakeholders in the education section to make decisions used to enhancing learners’ knowledge and learning outcome. Also, using appropriate assessment methods can help the teacher to improve their instructional materials and teaching methods to fit the students’ need. Classroom assessment can take different forms including formative, authentic, diagnostic, dynamic, synoptic, and summative, and others. It is important to explore the history and theory of formative assessment and its benefits and blemishes to improve students learning outcomes. Despite the disagreements on the appropriate interpretation of formative assessment, it still aids teachers to gather detailed that can use to improve students’ performance.
In my experience with assessment for teaching and learning, first I did not think that evaluations should assist teachers to determine their students’ position compared to the other learners and find effective strategies to assist them to progress their learning. My perspective about formative assessment has evolved with the time since I graduated from university. At first, I considered assessments as a strategy the teacher used to assign a grade and the students’ position. Now I believe, instructor should use various assessment strategies that give feedback on the students’ comprehension of the lesson topic and test their skills, too. Teachers can only realize the result through formative assessment models that evaluate learning in the practical environment while offering necessary feedback for improvement. The reading in the module has created a new knowledge about the purpose of assessment and evaluation in learning and teaching. For example, I have learned that the utility, efficiency, and relevance of any assessment used in education count on the extent to which they promote students’ learning outcome. As Shepard (2009) pointed out, instructors should not use evaluation to audit learners’ understanding but to educate and enhance their performance. In this situation, teachers should emphasize that each assessment provides an accurate and relevant data to help them in making decision and policy development. Shepard (2009) assume that contents of each classroom assessment should address challenging content matter and aid the education system to determine students’ knowledge and learning in every discipline for that; I have learned it allows teachers to associate the assessment with ongoing learning activities and goals.
Formative assessment offers the following benefits to the teachers and the students. First, formative assessments result in significant achievement acquisition when made part of the learning culture as observed by various scholars through cognitive analysis surveys (Bennet, 2011). Formative assessments allow teachers to make evaluation part of learning strategy, as a result, the students not only study to pass the exam but also cooperate with the teachers to find out workable tactics that can improve their learning. According to Bennet (2011), formative assessment allows teachers to employ dynamic, an ongoing assessment which supports them to find out activities that the learners can carry out independently and the teachers should support them. The approach also provides constant feedback to the student which allow them to master complicated concept and transfer them to other general life situation, unlike summative tests which promote memorization.
The using of formative assessment has received some critique as individuals disagree on the appropriate interpretations of the term, limits its implementation. Some scholars confirm that teachers do not use the approach appropriately by employing other forms of assessments, that do not fit within the formative approach (Bennet, 2011). Other scholars argue that developmental tests only show effectiveness when used to improve students’ performance. However, grading them makes them have the same role of summative tests. Wherefore, formative assessment should diagnostic function in students’ education for instance, the instructors should never use them as a part of the evaluation. The distinctions between the terms, interim, and benchmark assessment present challenges and mixed reactions from teachers who assume that education section should develop distinct limit between formative and diagnostic evaluations.
Apparently, despite the disagreement on the appropriate interpretation of formative assessment, it helps teachers to gather details that can help to improve students’ performance. Reading the module helped me improve wide understanding of the necessity of assessment in the learning environment. Before that, I thought teachers utilize assessment to take a grade of the learners, but now I have more insight on assessment process of acquiring information on the students’ comprehension and other support that they need during the lesson. Thus, the teachers understanding their weakness and strength will help them to adjust the instructional materials correctly.