Assessment of Learning Vs. Assessment for Learning

Editorials News | Nov-10-2018

Assessment of Learning Vs. Assessment for Learning

The primary purpose of assessment is to improve students' learning and teachers' teaching as both respond to the information it provides. Assessment is a key component of learning because it helps students learn.

Assessment OF learning is to grade and certify students' achievement, while Assessment FOR learning aims to support and advance students in their learning. Balancing assessment OF and assessment FOR learning well is a key aspect of an integrative approach to enhancing assessment. The difference between assessment of learning and assessment for learning is a crucial one, in many ways indicative of an important shift in education.

Assessment FOR learning involves teachers using evidence about students' knowledge, understanding and skills to inform their teaching. Sometimes referred to as 'formative assessment', it usually occurs throughout the teaching and learning process to clarify student learning and understanding. Whereby Assessment OF learning is about evidence we use as teachers to assess progress and achievements. Following clear predefined standards we assess students on their knowledge. Usually this type of assessment occurs at the end of a unit, chapter, term, or semester and usually it is used to give students grades and a ranking. The use of Assessment of learning is widely spread to ensure continuity in learning and it is a way for teachers to formally assess the knowledge acquired by recording students’ grades.

Following are five strategies for assessment FOR learning:

1. Sharing Learning Expectations

2. Eliciting Evidence

3. Feedback

4. Self-Assessment

5. Peer Assessment

This approach to assessment outlines the systematic approach to measuring understanding, including self-assessment and peer-assessment, feedback for learning, and clear communication of performance criteria. These strategies highlight at the organic, dynamic, and iterative feel that needs to be focused upon by any modern system of assessment.

However, during assessment OF learning, a small test is given to communicate student understanding. It has been proven after years of research that it is realistically difficult for understanding data from your average classroom assessment. On the other hand it is easier to modernize the instruction in any classroom by assessment FOR learning. Here, the change goes from exams which are evaluative to those that are reflective of both process and understanding.

The benefits of assessment FOR learning are that changes the culture of the classroom and increases independence. It not only improves learner outcomes but research proves that effective formative assessment is one of the most important contributors to success in summative assessment.

By: Anuja Arora