Educational assessment tools: what they are, types and characteristics

Assessment is an essential aspect of any educational process, because it is through it that progress and areas for improvement in students are identified.

Traditionally, a written exam or rubric was chosen, although over time more assessment techniques were incorporated into the education sector.

Then we will see the different pedagogical evaluation instruments, the characteristics and some examples.

    What are the instruments of educational assessment?

    By pedagogical assessment instruments, we mean any technique used to assess the teaching process, the quality of students’ learning and their performance. Thus, it is possible to identify the aspects that must be specifically improved in the students, to analyze the causes of unrealized learning and to make decisions at the right time.

    Formative assessment focuses on the collection, systematization and analysis of information obtained from various sources, in order to improve student learning and pedagogical intervention. The evaluation cannot depend on a single technique or a single instrumentBecause in this way only one type of knowledge, skill, attitude or value would be assessed in a disintegrated way.

    Below we will see a set of educational assessment tools, both observational and more standardized and written, that can be useful in the field of education.

    Observation assessment techniques

    Within the pedagogical evaluation instruments, we have some that are part of the observation techniques. These techniques allow learning processes to be evaluated as they occur. In this way, teachers can see the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values ​​of students and how they are using them in a given situation.

    1. Observation guide

    The observation guide consists of an instrument based on a list of indicators, which can be written as statements or questions, and allowing the teacher to guide his observation work in class. It is used to observe the responses of the students in a certain activity, how they behave among themselves, what questions they ask themselves in front of a certain subject …

    2. Anecdotal record

    An anecdotal record is a report that describes specific facts or situations considered important to the student or class, reflecting their behaviors, attitudes, interests or procedures. To be useful in the assessment, the observer must record the significant facts of one or more students.

    3. Attitude scale

    The aptitude scale is a list of statements or sentences selected to measure the student’s personal attitude, both positive, negative and neutral, In front of other people, objects or situations.

    Written assessment techniques

    Written assessment techniques constitute a fairly comprehensive set of educational assessment tools. It refers to tests to which the student responds directly and which the teacher must infer whether the desired knowledge or behavior has been acquired.

    1. Class notebook

    The class notebook is a really useful tool for collecting information, especially for continuous assessment. The student writes in the notebook everything he has done, Either every day or every week. So, with this tool, we can check aspects such as:

    • If you take notes correctly.
    • Your level of understanding, abstraction and the ideas you select.
    • Their level of written expression, their clarity and their appropriation of their expressions.
    • Spelling, calligraphy, composition of sentences …
    • The approaches he makes to the information provided.
    • If you have understood the essential content.
    • If you include your own thoughts or comments.
    • If you expand the information on the topics covered.
    • If you make plans, summaries, underlines …
    • How meticulously he updates his notebook.

    Before analyzing the course book, it is necessary to establish criteria which facilitate the evaluation of one of these aspects, Prevent one of them, by itself, from determining the evaluation itself in whole or in part.

    In addition, from the outset, students must be informed of the aspects to be taken into account when analyzing the notebook and, once the assessment has been carried out, time will be taken to indicate what is going well and what needs to be improved.

    2. Examinations

    Examinations, both in their traditional written and oral version, are those tests that serve to assess what students have studied, presenting a series of questions or tasks to be solved.

    The resolution of these tasks or the answers given by the student knowledge or ignorance of the content or the presence or absence of behaviors in the pupils is deduced.

    Among the characteristics of the exams we have:

    • They measure maximum results.
    • Its application is standard.
    • Homework is uniform for all students.
    • Students know they are being examined.

    It is very important to understand that, although useful, these tests they should not be the only ones in the teaching evaluation process. They are a means of analyzing and valuing other aspects of student work.

    It is important to deal with errors or inaccuracies in the evidence from the point of view of research rather than sanction. If the student has not understood a certain concept, he or she may need some kind of support after the test in order to complete the learning.

    It is important to understand that correct and incorrect answers provide teachers with valuable information to guide their lessons and the student to correct and overcome these shortcomings.

      3. Questionnaires

      Questionnaires, in the field of education, become examinations in the form of a test. They are used to assess previous knowledge on a didactic unit determined, posing the items in a highly standard format and being their only answer. Since the student does not have to write, but answers certain items in an affirmative or negative manner, it is easy for the teacher to correct these tests.

      4. Concept maps

      Concept maps are tools for highlighting the main ideas of a given piece of content. They help both teachers and students to easily identify and grasp the fundamentals of the teaching unit being taught.

      5. Information collection sheets

      These worksheets are simple but very useful for the student and the teacher. In the case of the student, it serves to systematize the collection of information on small research projects. For the teacher, it serves as a guide for evaluating other instruments.

        6. Monographic works and small research

        Monographic works and small research are open-themed works that allow students to broaden their knowledge on their own. In this way, the student is involved in his process of acquiring new knowledge.

        This tool is particularly useful for the teacher, Since it allows him to understand if the student has developed attitudes related to rigor, taste by ordering, knows how to organize information and present it in an attractive form …

        Bibliographical references:

        • Lynch, J. (1977). Lifelong learning and teacher training. United Kingdom: UNESCO Institute for Education, Hamburg.
        • Miklos T. and Tello M. (1999). Forward planning. A strategy for the design of the future. Mexico: Limusa
        • Saad, I. and Pacheco, D. (1982). Teacher training texts. In “The training and continuing education of civil engineers in the public sector”. Vázquez FG, editor. Mexico: AC Institute of Social Research and Education
        • Zabalza-Beraza, MA, Montero-Taula, ML and Cebreiro-López, B. (coord.) (1995). Content presented at: International Symposium on School Practices. Publishers: University of Santiago.

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