What is Assessment? – Some Definitions and Approaches

  • ,Assessment involves the use of empirical data on student learning to refine program and improve student learning. (Allen 2004)
  • Assessment is the process of gathering and discussing information from multiple and diverse sources in order to develop a deep understanding of what students know, understand, and can do with their knowledge as a result of their educational experiences; the process culminates when assessment results are used to improve subsequent learning.  An assessment is an activity, assigned by the professor, that yields comprehensive information for analyzing, discussing, and judging learner’s performance of valued abilities and skills. (Huba and Freed 2000)
  • Assessment is a systematic basis for making inferences about the learning and development of students.  It is the process of defining, selecting, designing, collecting, analyzing, interpreting and using information to increase student’s learning and development. (in Assessing Student Learning and Development Erwin 1999)
  • Assessment is a process of reasoning from evidence. (Pellegrino, Chudowsky, and Glaser 2001)
  • Assessment may involve accountability as well as improvement in pedagogy as defined by Peter Ewell (in Building a Scholarship of Assessment Banta and Associates 2002):

> assessment refers to the process used to determine an individual’s mastery of complex abilities generally through observed performance

> assessment is large-scale testing programs whose primary objective is not to examine individual learning but to benchmark school performance in the name of accountability

> assessment is a special kind of program evaluation whose purpose is to gather evidence to improve curricula and pedagogy


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