Assessment for Learning

2836 words 12 pages
It is widely recognized that the form and content of student assessment strongly influence students’ attitudes to study and quality of learning (Ramsden, 1997; Shepard, 2000). For most students, assessment requirements literally define the curriculum. Current research suggests it is assessment used in the right way, as part of teaching to support and enhance learning that has the most significant impact on learning (Elwood and Klenowski, 2002). James and his colleagues (2002) argue that carefully designed assessment is therefore a powerful tool for educators and caution that equally, “poorly designed assessment has the potential to hinder learning or stifle curriculum development”.
New forms of assessment

The realization of the
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tests and exercises can be an invaluable guide to learning, but these must be clear and relevant to learning aims. The feedback on them should give each student guidance on how to improve, and each must be given opportunity and help to work at the improvement (Black and William, 1998, cited by Elwood and Klenowski, 2002:245)
Authentic assessment
It is also now recognized that learning is situated in particular contexts and therefore not necessarily transferable to other contexts (Maclellan, 2001:308). This realization has led to the concept of “authentic assessment” which has gained widespread use in education.
Maclellan (2004a) outlines three standards by which intellectual achievement is judged authentic:
1. Analysis – the response reflects higher order thinking about content by organising, synthesising, interpreting, evaluating and hypothesising to produce comparisons, contrasts, arguments, application of information to new contexts, and consideration of different ideas or points of view.
2. Disciplinary concepts – the response reflects an understanding of ideas, concepts, theories and principles that are central to the academic or professional disciplines into which the student is being inducted.
3. Elaborated written communication – the response explains understandings and conclusions. It is clear, coherent and provides richness in details, qualifications and argument.
While traditional assessment


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