Assessment In Australia's Schoola: Explain The Processes And Strategies You Would Adopt To Create A Balanced Approach To Assessment In The Primary English Learning Area

1218 words - 5 pages

When planning a program for the primary English learning area, it is important to begin with determining students' prior learning: what literacy behaviours are established, and what literacy behaviours need to be demonstrated. If knowledge of student's language needs and abilities are to influence our programming, how, then do we find out what those needs and abilities are? (Gibbons 1991, 282 Reader, 379). The instrument for gathering such knowledge is known as assessment, and in order to use assessment tools to produce accurate measurements, they must be thoughtfully designed at the outset and integrated into the program, rather than be seen as a separate process (EDWA 1998, 106).This essay ...view middle of the document...

However, they are very much interconnected and as a result, there are a number of conditions surrounding the development of assessment tools, in order that the information they provide be uncontaminated and, as such, of use in the evaluation process.The Curriculum Framework outlines five main features of a balanced approach to assessment. These are, in turn, that assessment produces valid and reliable data, and that it be educative, explicit, fair and comprehensive (EDWA 1998, 106-107).To offer both reliable and valid data, a range of sources must be used to assess student work, including observing the process students are using in their learning experiences, and the products they are creating. Evaluations of student achievement should only be based on information that represents the actual ideas, processes, products and values which are expected of them" (EDWA 1998, 106), and data will become unreliable and invalid if the information collected does not correspond to the stated outcomes and purposes for which it was created. For example, evaluations of reading development could be made through information provided by a running record. Data would not be valid if evaluations were made instead, on information provided by writing or speaking and listening products.The Curriculum framework believes that "assessment should make a positive contribution to student learning." (EDWA 1998, 106). In the sense that assessment needs to perform an educative function, information gathered about student strengths and weaknesses should be provided to teachers, students and their parents, so that future planning can incorporate this knowledge. Students can also use this information to self-monitor and reflect on their progress, fostering self directed learning. Within a literacy program, examining samples of student's work is one way to view "patterns of changes and development over a period of time" (Evans 1990, 282 Reader, 372). Such samples may include cloze activities, re-tells, or diary writing, among countless others.Students are entitled to be made explicitly aware of the criteria for which their work is being assessed, so that evaluation of their achievements are based on clear expectations. Not only is this fair, it also has the advantage of enhancing students' learning by allowing them to take responsibility for their outcomes, through understanding the objectives of teaching and learning (EDWA 1998, 107). When assessing a student's knowledge of conventions, for example, a teacher may wish to inform the student of the purpose behind observing them during reading or writing activities. To be fair, a teacher must always clear about what they are looking for, and this ought to be conveyed equally clearly to students. Following this reasoning, assessment should not discriminate...

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