Assessment process of gathering data. More specifically, “assessment

 Assessment is defined by a number of researchers over the pastyears. Hanna & Dettmer (2004) define assessment as the process of gatheringdata. More specifically, “assessment is the ways instructors gather data abouttheir teaching and their students’ learning”.P. Black & D. Wiliam (1998) say that: “the term ‘assessment’refers to all those activities undertaken by teacher, and by their students inassessing themselves, which provide information to be used as feedback tomodify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged”. Black(2003) also adds that assessment occurs not one, but several times during alesson therefore it is an “integral and intimate part of a teacher daily work”.Sadler (1989) talks about assessment for learning as an assessmentthat “is concerned with how judgment about the quality of student responses(performances, pieces, or works) can be used to shape and improve the student’scompetence by short-circuiting the randomness and inefficiency of trial-and-error learning”.

Tunstall& Gipps (1996) have a similar opinion when saying that formative assessmentis a ‘process of appraising, judging or evaluating students’ work orperformance and using this to shape and improve their competence. In everydayclassroom terms this means teachers using their judgments of children’sknowledge or understanding to feed back into the teaching process and to determinefor individual children whether to re-explain the task/concept, to give furtherpractice on it, or move on the next stage’. In view ofthe definitions given above, assessment for learning can be described as aprocess of evaluating and judging students’ performance and providing feedback toimprove the learning process. The feedback is used not only to assess, but to modifythe teaching techniques to meet the learning needs, so that the instructor canevaluate the student’s needs and adapt the teaching towards the improvement ofthe student competencies.  1.

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       Formative and Summative Assessment. The assessment during the learning process or formative assessmentis a term that was introduce in 1967 by M. Scriven to refer to the proceduresused by the professors with the aim of adapting the didactic process to theprogresses and learning needs observed in their pupils. This type of assessmentis carried out during the development of the teaching-learning process, whilelearning is taking place and while learning is occurring, so any deficiencies canbe spotted when is still possible to solve them. In this way the learningprogress keeps improving and adapting to the needs of the group, optimizing theprobabilities of success of the students. For Melmer et al (2008), the formative assessment is a procedureused by teachers and students, during the teaching-learning process, which provides necessary information to make theadjustments that are required, so that the students achieve the objectives,curricular contents or proposed competences in the didactic planning. WhileDunn and Mulvenon (2009), consider it as a range of evaluation procedures,integrated into the teaching-learning process, aiming to modify, improve andunderstand the learning by the students. From the above,it is concluded that the purpose of the formative evaluation is to inform the studentabout the achievements obtained, the difficulties or limitations observed intheir performance.

At the same time, it allows the teacher to search and implementnew educational strategies that favor and respond to skills, abilities, competences,attitudes or values ??that students intend to develop during the learningprocess. Some examples of formative assessment are: questioning, peer/self-assessment,plenaries, homework, discussion, kinesthetic assessment, etc. Summative assessment, on the other hand, analyse the resultsobtained at the end of the teaching-learning process, that means at the end ofthe academic year, but also at the end of each term or at the end of a unit. Itassesses the learning results and, therefore, the procedures and tools usedmust provide significant information about what the students have learnt, to beable to determine if they have acquired the previous capacities according tothe competences. Summativeassessment is more product-oriented and assesses the final product, whereasformative assessment focuses on the process that leads to the product.  Exams,final projects or essays, final grades, etc.

are some of the example of asummative assessment. 2.      The importance of assessment for learning.The developmentof confidence is one of the main benefits of the use of assessment, thedevelopment of the student’s self-efficacy, their optimism and resilience. Thisis an essential quality for the learners to acquire, self-confidence will helpthem to succeed in the future, in their both professional and personal lives. Forall these reasons it is so important for the teachers to encourage students’confidence, for example throughout the feedback.

A poor mark can be demoralizing,but if it includes a positive feedback that is focused on the work, this willencourage every learner to feel that they can progress and improve theirresults. P. Black & D. Wiliam (1998) say “What is needed is a cultureof success, backed by a belief that all pupils can achieve”, they also mention thata good feedback should avoid comparisons and should be personalised, withadvice on how that student can improve. Verbal and writing feedback is vital atthe time of improving the learner confidence.

Assessment forlearning can significantly improve attainment and achievement, preciselybecause it encourages the learner to take personal responsibility for thelearning, a good AfL increases independence. Throughout techniques like self-assessmentstudents will develop the capacity to assess themselves and, therefore, to takeresponsibility of their own learning as well as become more active in theclassroom. As the independent learning is develop and students are more self-sufficient,the teacher will also have more time to talk to the students individually. An effective formative assessment will also improve learners’outcomes. Having a clear idea of what they need to do to accomplish a standard andhow a good work looks like is easier to achieve success.

Lastly, an AfL approachchanges the culture of the classroom, it helps to create a cooperative andsupportive environment where everybody should be able to express new ideas withoutfeeling like they might fail, or they might be judged.  3.       Assessmentfor learning at The Belvedere Academy. Since I started my placement at The BelvedereAcademy I have observed several Spanish lessons at KS3 and KS4. Although eachteacher has its own teaching style, in general the school encourage theformative assessment making use of a huge range of activities and techniques tosupport the students’ improvement not only within the subject, but in general…….In KS3 is fundamental to encourage peer andself-assessment and with it, as mention above, the student self-confidence. Isvital in these early years that teacher promote and independent learning,giving them the right tools they will promptly get use to be critical withthemselves??? KS4 and 5 more focus on questioning. In al thestages, but more use for this years, the key is to elicit information from thestudents, make them think rather than give them the answer.

It is important tobe patient, to give them time to think, otherwise they won’t be able to give ananswer, there is not possibility that a pupil can think out what to say. Thereis another consequence, the pupils won’t even try to think out a responsebecause they know that the answer, followed by another question, will come in afew seconds. What is the point in trying? It is also generally the case that thequestions are answered always by the same students, problem that can be solvedgetting them to work in pairs or groups.

Using questioning as a formative techniqueis not an easy task, but when is well effectuated, is an essential tool forteaching. To resume, ‘the dialogue between pupils and teacher should bethoughtful, reflective, focused to evoke and explore understanding, andconducted so that all pupils have an opportunity to think and express theirideas’ (P. Black & D. William, 1998, p.

12). It is highly encouraged the work in groups asa way of getting everybody to participate, not all the students feel confidentenough to rise a hand and speak in front of the class, in this way you makesure that everybody participates. The teacher can walk around and check who isparticipating and on task, and at the end just select a few people to answer. Pairwork is specially use to practice speaking, so again you can check better whois on task and how is that person doing. A lesson must be dynamic and vary onthe type of activities, is because of this that in one lesson you will get thestudents to work individually, in pairs and in groups, active lesson.

Another important way of assessing atBelvedere is the use of plenaries and mini-plenaries, so the learning andunderstanding of the lesson is checked not only at the end but during thelesson. Frequently the lesson objectives or the outcomes are checked during thelesson. At the end is usual to have a plenary activity, a little reflectionabout different aspects of the lesson, in this way students can assess whathave they learnt on that lesson, and they aware of progress. All this plenariesand mini-plenaries are fundamental for the teacher, clear evidence of the pupilprogress, if the lesson has worked or some parts need revising,….Mini white boards, hands up, colored cards,exit tickets…In conclusion, in MFL is widely used theformative assessment, making use of a variety of activities making sure that thelessons are dynamic and engaging and, at the same time, the progress of thestudents is being assessed constantly, to make sure that all the student areachieving the objectives and there is a clear understanding of the subject.    4.

      Peerand Self-assessmentIt is generally agreed that self-assessment is the ability oflearners to evaluate their own work, and think about their own learning. Althoughthere are many definitions of the term, the definitions are, for the most part,quite general. Rolheiser and Ross (2000) defined self-assessment as “studentsjudging the quality of their work, based on evidence and explicit criteria forthe purpose of doing better work in the future” (p. 3).

Blatchford (1997)described it as a specific element of student self-concept, that is, academicachievement “involve(s) judgments of one’s own attainment in relation to otherchildren” (p. 2). This means however, that self-assessment is a more normativejudgment, which some may see as contrary to the concept of self-assessment. Otherdefinitions of self-assessment are focus on teachers’ classroom assessmentpractices, having as a example Gronlund and Cameron (2004), whose accentuatethe importance of formative assessment to “monitor learning progress and toprovide corrective prescriptions to improve learning” (p. 14). Montgomery(2000) gives a similar definition of self-assessment as ” an appraisal bya student of his or her own work or learning processes” (p. 5). From theperspective of significant student learning, Kitsantas, Reisner and Doster(2004) suggest that self-assessment judgments can improve achievement outcomesand that performance leads to motivation and persistence in task completion.

Supportingthis view, P. Black & D. Wiliam (1998) conclude that self-assessment is afundamental component of formative assessment when used to improve studentlearning. Peer-assessment has a somewhat different focus, for somepeer-assessment is technique on its own, but usually it is seen to becomplementary to self-assessment (Black, Harrison, Lee, Marshall & Wiliam,2004). Definitions of peer-assessment are quite varied, although generally is agreethat peer-assessment involves a student’s assessment of the performance orsuccess of another student.

Peer-assessment has also been described as astrategy involving students’ decisions about others’ work that would typically happenwhen students work together on group projects or learning activities. To makemore effective peer-assessment activities, they should be programme as soon asstudents begin learning a concept or skill and preferably before any skillerrors become habitual (Johnson, 2004). Teachers use self and peer-assessmentto increase learning: (1) to promote social interactions and trust in others,(2) to facilitate individual feedback, (3) to promote student involvement inthe learning process, (4) to get the students to be focused on the processrather than the product.

Lastly, peer-assessment has benefits both for the personwho gives the feedback and for the person who receives the feedback. Inthinking through assess a piece of work, the students are forced to internalizea success criteria and they are able to do it in the context of somebody else’swork, which is less emotionally charged than your own (D. William). Peer-assessment used as a formative assessment strategy isvery useful to get the students to work in groups, it can both positiveinfluence student achievement and improve the learning experience (Johnson,2004). The work in group it also helps them to improve communication skills astheir talk and share their ideas, especially when, regarding the objectives,they discuss about what has been done and what need to be done (p. Black,2003). However, here we take the risk of pupils working not as a group but in group (P.

Black 2007). In order to solve this problem, Dawes etal. (2004) outline some rules to get the group to work creatively together: allcontributions must be treated with respect, a group must achieve consensus, allthe members must participate and finally, any assertion must be supported byreasons. Johnson et al. (2000) conducted a statistical analysis of severalstudies showing that, groups in which learners collaborate with each other achievea bigger success than groups in which the learners compete between each other.Moreover, groups where competition come first show almost no learning advantageover individual learning. As the work in groups can become a problem if is notcontrolled, trustworthiness and reliability is not one of the problems when usingpeer or self-assessment. Lee (2006) outline that students are challenging and honest,and accept better criticism by a peer than by the teacher.

P. Black & D.William (1998) agree saying that learners are generally honest with boththemselves and one another; they can even be too hard on themselves. But while reliabilityis not a problem, it is the clear understanding of the targets, if the studentsdon’t understand clearly what are the objectives and what are they meant toattain they won’t be able to assess their learning and they won’t be able toachieve a learning goal. However, according to P. Black & D. Wiliam (1998),most students are unaware of the learning objectives, they have gotten use toreceive classroom teaching as a random sequence of tasks that don’t follow anorganise learning structure.

To change this situation is required hard andconstant work by the teachers, understanding criteria is often the mostdifficult part. Once the learners have an understanding of the learning targetsimprovements can be done, the students will become more efficient and morededicated as learners. These improvements will resolve in assessments that canbecome an object of discussion with their teachers or their peers, and thisdiscussion will lead to a self-reflection that is fundamental for a goodlearning (P. Black & D. William, 1998). By giving learner independence, they take responsibility fortheir own learning. To achieve success in a peer-assessment session the studentsneed to think like they are teachers for each other and, using the successcriteria, evaluate each other work. Once the learners have evaluated a work ontheir own, is time to give to their partners feedback and ideas on how toimprove the work.

With this kind of task, both learners will improve their understandingof how to achieve success and produce a good piece of work. The student becomes’independent and confident learner’ (Brookhart, Andolina, Zuza, & Furman,2004, p. 214). Peer and self-assessment also helps learners to use higher-levelskills such as thinking critically and analytically and to develop their socialand communication skills, which are essential in many aspects of the future life. 

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