High-Quality Classroom Assessment in Times of Change: From Purposes and Uses to Tasks and Environments

In the present educational climate, teachers are continually faced with complex assessment issues. There is a great deal of discussion now in education about alignment as a guiding principle for high quality assessment; that is, the degree of agreement amongst standards, curriculum, learning outcomes, assessment tasks (including tests) and instruction. Alignment, along with validity, reliability, fairness, consequences, and practicality, are viewed as central aspects of assessment practice which supports learning. Assessment serves as the key process to check on learning and provide essential information to teachers. Assessment is an on-going, iterative, and cyclical process of supporting students throughout teaching.

Undoubtedly, most of the information that students have about their learning, about themselves, and about their futures comes from classroom assessment. Similarly, most of what parents and teachers know about their children's learning comes from classroom assessment. It is through the day-to-day classroom assessment tasks and the environment teachers and students co-create that important decisions (purposes and uses) are understood, communicated, and reported. The ways teachers communicate their expectations to students, and the ways they provide feedback on how well these expectations are being met, help students form the concepts of what is important to learn and how good they are at learning it. Current debates about quality of classroom assessment continue to use validity and reliability arguments developed for large-scale testing. This plenary highlights the context dependence of classroom assessment in relation to large-scale testing, and discusses the intricate relationship between assessment and instruction through assessment tasks and environment in supporting student learning.

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Posted by IAFOR