Educational Assessment Issues
The success of students in school performance is often measured by parents as well as teachers. The core method used to assess the performance of those students is through tests submitted in class. While the methods used are standard and valid/ or valid, the authenticity of the results obtained is often questionable. This is because the performance of students in the tests is affected by many other factors besides class attendance and school behavior. Factors such as motivation, student background and intelligence levels all play critical roles in determining the performance of a student in tests.
It is therefore purported that despite the reliance on this method as a key to determining student performance, it is unreliable and unpredictable. Educational assessments are used to evaluate measure and document student readiness in academic aspects. Standardized methods used in the assessment involve evaluation of large groups of people to give generalized results. Despite the acceptance of such methods by the national government, they do not include other aspects as factors that influence performance. However, the results can be used to help individuals or groups of people to improve in performance.
High stakes, reference and standardized tests are the key methods used for academic assessment in the country. The standardized tests give a measure of performance relative to other people of the same group. On the other hand, the standardized reference tests measure the mastery of a subject while the high stakes tests measure accountability. High stakes tests are used by the federal government to determine whether students are enrolled in good schools and are taught by good teachers. There are various issues that raise concern about the performance measurement strategies used. Some of the issues include lack of accuracy, unreliability and invalidity.
The standardized test results are affected by other factors such as culture and are thus unreliable as they change every time. On the other hand, the standardized tests are often considered to be a good source of information for the improvement of institutions based on standards. The tests raised student expectations and limit the scope of learning to what is to be expected from the tests (Harris et al., 2011). Apart from this, the need to comply with standards may force the teacher to limit his/ her delivery to what is expected by standards hence denying the students an opportunity to know more.
The value placed on tests makes teachers and parents spend more time training the children for tests. This denies them the opportunity to develop in other aspects of learning (Wyatt-Smith & Cumming, 2009). In addition to this, the use of tests to determine class promotion has also led to concerns being raised concerning the fairness of tests with regards to this. This particularly arises where tests are used with biasness and on conditions of general failure (Scheerens et al., 2003).
In order to address these issues and still benefit from the advantages associated with standardized tests, it is necessary for schools to take certain measures. First, it is important for teachers and students alike to have access to all resources necessary for effective performance in tests. Apart from this, the students should also be well equipped to hand le other life issues in relation to job skills and performance. Tests could also help in the improvement of classroom delivery through determination of what students lack and tailoring the lessons to the needs of the students. In conclusion, tests have a certain degree of reliability and validity that can help in improving performance if used fairly.
Harris, P., Smith, B. M., & Harris, J. (2011). The myths of standardized tests: Why they don’t tell you what you think they do. Lanham, Md: Rowman& Littlefield Pub.
Scheerens, J., Glas, C. A. W., & Thomas, S. (2003). Educational evaluation, assessment, and monitoring: A systemic approach. Lisse [Netherlands: Swets&Zeitlinger.
Wyatt-Smith, C., & Cumming, J. (2009). Educational assessment in the 21st century: Connecting theory and practice. Dordrecht: Springer.
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