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Seven Key Terms & Posters

Diagnostic Assessment

May occur at the beginning of a term or a unit of study, or whenever information about the prior learning of a student is useful. Various types of diagnostic assessments (tests, journals, performance-based assessment, etc.) may be used to collect that information.

Formative Assessment

Ongoing assessment information (what teachers see and hear) gathered during instruction to determine what students know and can do and to provide descriptive feedback to improve learning and inform teaching. Feedback is generally directly connected to student learning goals and referenced to student-generated criteria.

Summative Assessment

The celebration, summary, evaluation, or judgment at the end of a theme, unit, semester, term, or school year based on performance tasks/products and formative assessment data.

AssessmentForLearningWhat Is Assessment for Learning?

Assessment for learning occurs throughout the learning process. It is designed to make each student’s understanding visible, so that teachers can decide what they can do to help students progress. Students learn in individual and individual ways, yet, at the same time, there are predictable patterns of connections and preconceptions that some students may experience as they move along the continuum from emergent to proficient. In assessment for learning, teachers use assessment as an investigative tool to find out as much as they can about what their students know and can do, and what confusions, preconceptions, or gaps they might have. The wide variety of information that teachers collect about their students’ learning processes provides the basis for determining what they need to do next to move student learning forward. It provides the basis for providing descriptive feedback for students and deciding on groupings, instructional strategies, and resources.

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AssessmentASlearningWhat Is Assessment as Learning?

Assessment as learning focuses on students and emphasizes assessment as a process of metacognition (knowledge of one’s own thought processes) for students. Assessment as learning emerges from the idea that learning is not just a matter of transferring ideas from someone who is knowledgeable to someone who is not, but is an active process of cognitive restructuring that occurs when individuals interact with new ideas. Within this view of learning, students are the critical AssessmentASLearning-Elementaryconnectors between assessment and learning. For students to be actively engaged in creating their own understanding, they must learn to be critical assessors who make sense of information, relate it to prior knowledge, and use it for new learning. This is the regulatory process in metacognition; that is, students become adept at personally monitoring what they are learning, and use what they discover from the monitoring to make adjustments, adaptations, and even major changes in their thinking.

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AssessmentOFlearningWhat Is Assessment of Learning?

Assessment of learning refers to strategies designed to confirm what students know, demonstrate whether or not they have met curriculum outcomes or the goals of their individualized programs, or to certify proficiency and make decisions about students’ future programs or placements. It is designed to provide evidence of achievement to parents, other educators, the students themselves, and sometimes to outside groups (e.g., employers, other educational institutions). Assessment of learning is the assessment that becomes public and results in statements or symbols about how well students are learning. It often contributes to pivotal decisions that will affect students’ futures. It is important, then, that the underlying logic and measurement of assessment of learning be credible and defensible.

Provincial Assessments

Supports learning by providing feedback to students, teachers and parents about student learning; informs instructional planning and helps to determine the need for changes or student specific interventions; provides system-wide information that assists in identifying trends and making decisions about resources and support.