Assessment systems are categorized according to their purpose. These systems have to meet the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS), which comprises of a set of education data elementsCITATION Joh01 \p 111 \l 1033 (Salvia and Ysseldyke 111). Common elements reviewed include course information, demographics, and program transition. These elements are standardized across states or districts to increase the comparability, function ability and portability of the education assessment system. Some of the general categories of assessment systems as discussed by Salvia and Ysseldyke (113) of assessment systems include:
i. Summative, benchmark and formative assessment systems
ii. State school vs. private school assessment systems
iii. Individual unit and university assessment systems
a) Summative, benchmark and formative assessment systems
Different schools conduct the assessment during different times of the year. This assessment system is classified according to the period in which evaluation occursCITATION Joh09 \p 45 \l 1033 (Schuh 45). Summative assessment is that which is done at the end of the program course while formative assessment occurs at the initial stages of the course. Benchmark assessment is a standardized type of assessment in which one evaluation program is compared against another. In most cases, benchmark assessment occurs at the beginning of the course. Formative and benchmark assessment systems serve the purpose of enhancing the student learning process by the review of teaching methods and student progress. With this system, any challenge is addressed as it is in its earlier stages.
b) Individual unit university assessment systems
Examples of individual units commonly assessed include faculties, instructors, recent graduates, principals, lecturers, etc. In this system, data for evaluation is gathered and compiled from various sources and analyzed annually to aid in making improvements to the individual units to enhance overall learning quality. This type of evaluation can be summative or formative, depending on the universitys policies.
c) State school vs. private school assessment systems
Managing assessment for hundreds of state public universities by one body can be a daunting task. The government had to form bodies like Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) were formed. The best way to manage the large scale assessment of universities is by creating a program that can be used across all states for other public universities. Large-scale assessment implies the use of standardization method. Basic assessment components are gathered to formulate a working assessment system. The benefit of using state assessment system is that the assessment is comprehensive, of quality standards and also allows room for other systems to be incorporated.
Private university assessment comprises of unique programs created on an institutional basis that are relevant to the institutions needs. These assessment systems are designed by the school independently. Privately designed systems are run differently than public ones. For example, a private university dictates the time, manner and duration of the assessment process. The university also dictates how the feedback will be given and steps taken after evaluation.
State assessments systems were produced after comprehensive research on convenient methods for evaluation, evaluation duration and key areas to be highlighted in the assessment. The uniformity of state assessment systems is based on many characteristics. Assessments have to be in line with state performance principles, content and provide clear information about how students should attain standards in basic math, reading, language and artsCITATION Joh09 \p 48 \l 1033 (Schuh 48). For assessment to be valid, it should also be regularly administered to promote continuity of the process. All students in state schools must be assessed using the same method and measure to promote uniformity and a non-biased process.
Finally, the state requires that assessment systems provide individual learners with reports that describe and interpret their scores. This information should be geared towards personal progress motivation. Any other information about the students performance should also be relayed to them.
Below are examples of state and privately run assessment systems present in the current university education level:
Comprehensive Assessment System (CAS)
Abbreviated as CAS, this assessment system comprises of the use of multiple evaluation systems conducted in a comprehensive and coordinated manner. Each of the assessments methods used is validated for specific purposesCITATION Tal11 \p 1-5 \l 1033 (Troy 1-5). For example, use of formative assessment to establish teaching techniques and use of summative assessment to assess learners grasp of content. Components of a CAS include appropriate screening measures, formative and summative assessments, the measure of interactions between staff and students, and the measure of learning environment quality. It is a form of public assessment that can be incorporated in private institutions. CAS mainly focuses on providing timely and valid information about the academic growth of learners, institution, and the entire state.
Mason Assessment Tracking System (MATS)
MATS is an example of a privatized assessment system. It implies the use of a universitys online reporting system, designed to be user-friendlyCITATION Mas15 \p 22 \l 1033 (Mason 22)(Mason 22). Students, faculties and administrative bodies are all included in this assessment conducted on an annual basis. The three units mentioned access the assessment tool online and fill out the relevant information, which is then evaluated by the office of institutional assessment.
Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS)
EPAS is a public assessment system designed for three categories of students: those preparing for high school life, those preparing for college or university life and those preparing to join the workforce after graduation CITATION ACT15 \l 1033 (ACT) (ACT 1)(ACT). It was initially developed for students preparing for high school but eventually incorporated the other two transition categories. EPAS provides a systematic approach to assessment in education, career preparation, quality of instruction and evaluation process. Its uniqueness is its ability to mix different programs to suit the institutions assessment needs. Although it is for public school use, some private schools have incorporated this system into their evaluation process.
2.2. Characteristics of the most effective assessment systems
Assessment systems have to meet certain standards as seen above to function. For effective functioning, some characteristics of evaluation systems need to be considered. For example, an effective assessment system needs to be reliable, valid, practical and normalized. All functioning characteristic components of an assessment system need to fall within reliability, validity, consistency and normalcy CITATION Dav07 \l 1033 (Boud and Falchikov) (Boud and Falchikov 56) (Boud and Falchikov). Add pages to all referencesMost institutions have the mandate of choosing when to conduct the assessment. However, for assessment to be effective, it has to begin early. The preparation process should occur before the commencement of the semester by preparing all tools and instructional material. Early preparation results into a well-coordinated program during a hectic learning period.
An effective assessment system is one that focuses on detailed program objectives and the perceived outcome of the process CITATION Dav02 \l 1033 (Perkins) (Perkins 34) (Perkins). For maximization on the process, a good assessment plan should contain a breakdown of several objectives. Each of the objectives should have a detailed plan of assessment. In doing this, the process is not only made valid but reliable.
There are several assessment methods and styles present in educational institutions. Choosing an assessment method is dependent on available resources, time and reason. The best assessment system is that which provides resources for both formative and summative components. Formative assessment allows for corrections of errors made early while summative assessment gives the bigger picture of the overall result. Using both methods is highly effective because errors corrected during the formative stage increase the quality of the result at the summative stage.
For any program to be successfully carried out, it has to be supported by the leaders governing the institution. Their commitment to the program should be shown through the provision of resources and consent for the process to take place. All internal stakeholders, including students, administrators and faculty have to be involved in the process. Involvement of stakeholders makes the program effective through their administrative support. Each person has a role to play in the process, and the harmony of these roles enhances the smooth process (Perkins 40).. Add referencesA good assessment system employs the use of several evaluation measures. Examples of varied measures that can be used concurrently include graphic organizers and rubrics. Students can diversify their learning experience by being exposed to different teaching methods. The teachers are also able to capture various student abilities by diversifying teaching methods. The assessment process becomes trustworthy as it is not reliant on a single method.
While conducting an assessment, some circumstances that need immediate attention are bound to arise. Although the evaluation process is aligned to a timetable, a good system should be flexible enough to allow responsive measures to the problem needing attention. Flexibility also involves the use of both formal and informal structures to guarantee all data submitted will be reviewed.
As most assessment plans are institutionally organized, an effective plan will employ the use of expertise both internally and externally when needed. An expert is sourced not to run the entire program but to give expert insight. A good example is when lecturers invite professionals to lecture in some of their lessons. Expert researchers can also be sourced for the data collection and analysis process.
For assessment to be effective, students should be viewed as participants whose learning experience is partially dependent on the success of the assessment procedure, and not as mere experimental subjects. Viewing them in their humane sense enables facilitators to focus on being more effective knowing the outcome expectation is high CITATION Aus98 \p 54 \l 1033 (D.P 54).
Finally, an effective assessment system is one that is carried out according to a set of recognizable ethical standards. Following ethical standards ensures the integrity of the procedure in the collection, compilation and information review in the assessment process (D.P 55).
2.3. Types of assessment
Early theories of learning stated that complex thinking skills had to be developed in small pieces comprised of pre-requisite skillsCITATION Dav02 \p 78 \l 1033 (Perkins 78). The learner would initially master the small skills and move to more advanced skills over a long period. The smaller pieces were memorized and used to assemble pieces into a more complex understanding. Currently, learning is seen as a process that requires the student to be involved in problem- solving to build mental processes actively. Knowledge is therefore attained not just by receiving information but by interpreting it to the understanding of the learner. A learner should be assessed on their ability to organize and use information in complex problem-solving situations.
The types and methods of assessment are dependent on several factors and grouped in different...
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