Module 3

Three approaches to students assessment

There are three major approaches to student assessment, and the purpose of each.

The first of these is “summative assessment”, also referred to as assessment of learning. Summative assessment refers to tests or examinations that are used to make summary judgments of student performance. These are the tests that students take at the end of a learning unit, at the end of a school year, or at the end of secondary school.

The second approach to assessment is known as “formative assessment”. This is sometimes referred to as assessment for learning. Formative assessment is the kind of “real time” assessment teachers use to understand how well learners understand a new concept or are to apply a new skill – and provide the learner with feedback on what they still need to do to meet the learning objective. The teacher may adjust teaching approaches to meet learning needs more effectively. An assessment is considered as formative once the gap has been closed and the student has met the objective.

Both summative and formative assessments are focused on whether students have achieved the learning objectives outlined in curriculum and standards. These assessments are typically criterion-referenced. In other words, there are specific criteria by which to gauge learning performance.

A third kind of assessment is student self-assessment, also known as ipsative assessment, which focuses on the student’s personal development. Progress is measured against the student’s prior performances – so it is a self-referential approach. This approach is particularly appropriate for key competences that do not have a pre-defined learning objective – such as transversal skills of creativity, initiative, or the constructive management of feelings.


Any assessment, whether summative, formative or self-assessment, needs to be valid, reliable and fair.

  • Validity means that the assessment effectively measures what it is intended to measure.
  • Reliability refers to the extent to which the assessment is consistent and accurate over time, or across a large number of students.
  • Fairness refers to the need to consider factors that could influence the assessment – such as a noisy environment that interrupts the student concentration, or assessments that systematically favour one group over another, such as girls vs. boys.

Assessments of key competences need, for example, to measure students’ reasoning processes, understanding of interconnections, and ability to perform complex tasks. A number of new assessments, including portfolios and e-assessments provide more effective measures of students’ key competence development. However, more work is needed to support reliability of these kinds of assessments.


Designing a collaborative problem based task or project:

1. Define the problem or collaborative project.

2. Identify project elements and components in detail;

3. For each component identify the resources that are essential. These can be:

a. materials

b. equipment

c. strategies

d. knowledge

e. experience

4. Allocate to each participant non-overlapping, unique sets of resources necessary to be contributed to the project completion or problem resolution. Divide the resources amongst the participants with no shared or common resources.

5. Clearly state the goals of the task or problem solution and observed to students procedure in the task.

6. Explain to the participants that they must identify the problem, sort out a strategy to resolve the problem or complete the task

7. The students also need to develop a means of keeping records of their decisions and discussions. For face-to-face attempts at collaborative problem-solving or collaborative project work keeping records is an essential aspect of the assessment process.




When the teachers act as observers they need to focus on, and document their observations of students’ activities and demonstrations of specific skills. In this way the teacher can informally assess a student’s development and identify the appropriate intervention for scaffolding the skills that are described in the dimensions of collaborative problem-solving.



Two dimensions – social and cognitive dimensions

  SOCIAL:                                                                                             COGNITIVE:                            




The important change in assessing work of students is that gives


According to all what was said above some changes should be implemented in the external exams :





And some more materials on assessing and working with students :

20 Simple Assessment Strategies You Can Use Every Day






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