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Assessment and evaluation are an important part of learning process. Assessment is the process that teachers use to determine if they are in line with the goals and objectives of the course. The process concentrates on looking into targets and focus on observing the students as learning continues (Blue, Chesluk, Conforti & Holmboe, 2015). Feedback is paramount in the assessment process as it helps the students to understand and correct their mistakes (Blue et al., 2015). On the other hand, evaluation entails determining if a system has met the predetermined objectives. The procedure insists on grades and competition. It aims to determine if the student understood the concept or if the teacher delivered the course material as required. Despite their differences, both assessment and evaluation aim at identifying the student’s level of mastery of content. The long-term goal of both evaluation and assessment is to enhance the effectiveness of teaching and learning process.
Assessment versus Evaluation
Assessment process aims at improving teaching and learning. Example of assessment is the end of topic tests. After each topic in the multi-unit history class, the teacher uses this instrument to monitor and improve student understanding of the content. The teacher takes the first 15 minutes of the lesson to do the test, the next 10 to mark, and the last 15 minutes to review the mistakes. Feedback also helps the teacher to identify the concept that students failed to comprehend as a non-working instruction method, thus giving student a chance to change. The number of topics determines the number of tests to be completed.
On the other hand, evaluation allows monitoring whether there was improvement, decline of performance, or no change to an individual’s level of knowledge and skills at the end of the course. An example of evaluation is end of semester exam that is used to determine how the individual student has performed while also explicating the performance of the whole history class as compared with other classes. The teacher neither provides immediate feedback nor tries to review the test results. Since the evaluation is performed once per semester, teachers use the end of semester results to grade and rank the students.
Types of Assessment
The two major types of educational assessment are formative and summative assessment. Formative assessment aims at monitoring the learning progress towards achievement of the goals and objectives. An example of the formative assessment is when a teacher asks students to mention or write the most important points learned during the lesson, giving some questions, which students need to answer before the end of the lesson. The completion of such tasks will inform the teacher if the students understood the concept and whether there is need to change the instructional method. The student can also realize that possible gaps in knowledge. For example, if a student scores one out of five asked questions, they will consider they need to review the studied materials. Continuous assessment tests and regular group discussions are also examples of formative assessment. This type of assessment exists as long as learning is taking place. Its purpose is to improve the learning process by providing information on what needs to be changed as education continues.
Summative assessment is a form of evaluation as it is done only a few times during a course or a unit. An example of a summative assessment is the mid-unit exam to be taken once per unit, or end of the unit test to be completed once the unit is over. Unlike formative assessment but similarly to classroom assignment or oral questions that concentrate on the feedback, summative assessment emphasizes on grading. It aims at determining the student’s level of mastery of content. Since they test on a broad range of content, they have a high stake or high point of value (Blue et al., 2015). Those who score very low in the summative assessment are given a chance to improve their grade by repeating the whole course or unit. Teachers also use the results to understand whether their instruction method is working or if they need to change it. For example, if student means score for the mid-unit exam is very low, the teacher may need to modify the teaching method.
Similarities and Differences
The main similarity is that both formative and summative assessment test on student knowledge acquisition and mastery of the content. They are an important part of the learning process as they provide the necessary academic performance information to all the stakeholders. They test on the effectiveness of an instruction method and give the teacher a chance to improve one’s strategy (Wise, 2015). The main difference is that formative assessment, like oral questions, class assignment, and continuous assessment tests, insists on the feedback and improvement of learning and teaching process, while summative assessment, such as mid and end of unit exams, focus on grades. When a student scores low grades on the summative assessment, the only chance to eliminate the knowledge gap is repeating the whole course or unit. Another difference is that formative assessment continues as long as the learning session. Formative assessment has no limits provided the learning process is in progress. On the contrary, summative assessment takes place in a specified short period, for instance, once or twice before a course or unit ends.
Types of Evaluation
Formative or summative evaluation can be used to examine a learning program critically. It is possible to conduct a formative evaluation before the program starts or as it continues. The strategy helps the stakeholders to lay down better objectives and plan a program more comprehensively for a better outcome (Wise, 2015). The first stage of a program is need evaluation. Its purpose is to identify those who need a program or the population which is not currently getting an ongoing program yet they are in need of it. Need evaluation also aims at determining what the audiences are expecting to achieve at the end of the program (Wise, 2015). It tells the need of the audiences that the program should meet. The second evaluation takes place during the implementation of a program. This stage is closely related to assessment as it aims at improving the implementation of a program. Instructors use the results to avoid delays in delivery of the required content. For example, if a regional mid-unit exam covered more content than the teacher has, it means he or she is slow and needs to move faster. It can either be a one-time exercise or conducted more often. Results obtained during this process can help the implementers to improve the delivery method or stakeholders to come up with better objectives.
The summative evaluation takes place when the program comes to an end. It determines if the goals of the program are achieved. During this phase, the educators analyze the results, give a percentage of program achievement, and write a report of why the program was not implemented as planned if indeed there was a failure (Wise, 2015). Summative evaluation is outcome-focused and demands a pre-determined grading system as a method of measurement. Better grades mean that objective was met, while poor grades indicate that something went wrong during the implementation process. The approach shows if the audience was satisfied with the program or the program met their needs. An example of formative evaluation is national and end of year exams which grade students and compare their performance outcomes. If the percentage of the student who scores poor grades is greater than those with good grades, it means that the program did not meet the learning objectives. In such a case, the developers re-structure the program to fit the content to the audience’s needs. Instructors can use results obtained from the summative evaluation to determine if their teaching method is good or need to be changed. For example, if the mean score of a subject after doing the national exam is low, especially when compared with that of other disciplines, the teacher needs to re-evaluate their teaching method.
Similarities and Differences
The main similarity is that both formative and summative evaluations require the involvement of all the stakeholders for better results. Teachers, students, parents, and administrators take part in evaluation in this regard. Both formative and summative evaluation insist on the quantitative method of grading where higher marks mean better achievement of the objectives. The main difference is that formative evaluation takes place before the beginning of the program and as it continues. It aims at coming up with better instructional methods and ensuring the needs of the audience are met. The results obtained during formative evaluation can be useful in improving the way of instruction delivery. Summative assessment takes place at the end of a program to determine if the objectives were met, with no chance for results’ improvement post summative evaluation. The results can only help to improve the instructional method for incoming groups.
Assessment and evaluation are an essential part of a learning process. Assessment is intended to improve the method of delivery and performance. Through immediate feedback, the tool offers stakeholders a chance to correct their mistakes. Formative assessment occurs as learning continues with no limitation to the number of times it can take place. Summative assessment is conducted at the end of a course or a unit and can be used like evaluation. Evaluation is a way of critically analyzing a program to determine if it met the objectives. The formative evaluation takes place at the beginning or at the end of a program to assess the audience needs and determine if the implementation is as planned. The summative evaluation occurs at the end of a program and determines whether the objectives were met.