In every aspect of society, assessment and evaluation is conducted in order to improve what they have. The government programs and policies are continually being assessed and evaluated. In business transactions, whether buying, selling, investing, or planning, it is crucial to assess and evaluate the terms. In the field of medicine, doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals look and examine charts and patients to provide the best service possible. Even in the family, parents assess and evaluate the family situations to make sound decisions for the family.
In the military, it is crucial to come up with the best scenario to conduct the warfare based on the assessment and evaluation of the given conditions. The same is true in education. The teachers diligently assess and evaluate students and their learning and outcomes to provide the best possible learning experience for students. The school administrators assess and evaluate teachers, school policies, mission and vision to establish the best possible learning and teaching environment.
There is little doubt that assessment and evaluation is necessary, and this report attempts to list a few reasons why it is important in a Christian school setting. Although the terms, assessment and evaluation, are usually used simultaneously, in general, there is a subtle difference between two. Simply put, assessment is the variety of tools such as tests, observations, monitoring that educators use to evaluate. Evaluation uses assessment results to determine whether certain criteria is met or not. However, since they are inextricably linked, they will be used without distinction in this report.
Assessment is needed to stay on the track of vision / mission The mission and vision of Christian schools are different from that of secular schools. The mission of Christian schools is to equip students to become God-honoring, Christ centered citizens armed with biblical truth and academic excellence. According to Kienel (n. d. ), Chrsitian education should be “a direct extension of parental views”, and the survey conducted by Council of American Private Education (2013) indicated that 65% of parents responded religious education as the primary reason for choosing private schools.
In a society in which high student achievement appears to be a top priority, it is necessary for Christian schools to examine and assess to see if they are accomplishing their primary goal and purpose of Christian education instead of following the educational trend of the world. Astin states that assessment “should further the basic aims and purpose of the institution. ” (Assessment for Excellence, 1990). Through assessment and evaluation process, the school can objectively assess how each component in school fits in with the broader mission and vision of the school.
Assessment and decision making The ability to make good decisions with available information is vital. Assessment practice can provide information needed to make sound decisions that would likely impact the school. Every action and a decision made by the school leadership have to be based on gathering, collecting and evaluating of the data collected. Assessment affects decisions related to instruction, administration, finance, discipline, community and parental involvement and all other aspects of school functions.
Teachers continuously collect and measure student’s learning to make a decision on his teaching materials and instructional pedagogy. School administrators gather data and research to see if his school is ready to implement a new after school program. A school cafeteria director conducts a survey to see if they are ready to offer a new item on the menu. Schools and teachers are analyzing achievement test results and other data to make decisions to improve student success. The important role that assessment plays in decision making cannot be overstated.
King and Thompson reported (1981) that based on the responses to the questionnaires to superintendents and school administrators, over 60% of respondents find that the evaluations of educational programs in their school system useful and that they use the information received from program evaluations in their decision making. Assessment and student learning Assessment is crucial helping students learn better. According to Pellegrino, Chaudowsky, and Glasler (2001), “educational assessment seeks to determine how well students are learning” and it also “provides feedback to students” about the level of their understanding of learning.
Various assessment methodstests, observations, assignments, presentations – are implemented to measure the students’ educational outcome. Even though standardized assessment which is now mandated by the government is the most widely used type of assessment, comprehensive assessment such as observation, essays, interviews, performance tasks, exhibitions, demonstrations, portfolios, journals, teacher-created tests, rubrics, and self- and peer-evaluation, are more accurate indicators of student’s learning. (Edutopia, 2008). They provide more frequent and immediate feedback that is essential to increase student learning.
Assessment and effective teaching Assessment is an integral part of teaching. In a classroom setting, a teacher gives tests, assignments, or projects to students to assess their understanding of the materials taught in the classroom. With the results of formative assessment, the teacher is now better equipped to judge whether the educational standard is met and the academic skills are acquired by students, and they can modify instructional methods accordingly. Especially in Christian schools, teachers need to tailor the assessment to measure student’s spiritual maturity as well as academic achievements.
Assessment is an invaluable tool for teachers to identify students’ skills, abilities, and needs to tailor lesson and activity plans accordingly to accomplish the educational objectives. “Assessment and instruction interact when teachers collect evidence about student performance and use it to shape their teaching. ” (NRC, 2001a; Shepard, 2000; Black and Wiliam, 1998; Niyogi, 1995). Assessment as accountability evidence Assessment was traditionally used by teachers to monitor student learning.
However, over the years, the character of educational assessment has changed. National Research Council, 2001) Recently, assessment has been equated with the end of the year standardized tests, and the reporting of the test result became the simplest representative form of accountability. According to Grissmer and Flanagan (1998), policy makers and educators see assessment linked with accountability as a strategy for ensuring all students held to the high standards set by the government. As Christian educators, it is our duty and responsibility to continuously and consciously assess the quality of education, teachers, and learning environment that we provide for students.
Public schools are held responsible for student achievement, and they are either rewarded or punished for the performance of government mandated standardized tests (Education Week, 2004). While Christian schools do not have the pressure to perform from the State, they still need to find ways to collect data and measure student learning as evidence of accountability. Matthew Lucas (2007) states that “Christian schools must demonstrate that their schools are accomplishing their primary mission of educating students or face the possibility of stakeholders taking students and money elsewhere.
Assessment as a diagnostic tool A survey conducted by Thompson and King (1981) reveals that when school administrators and superintendents were asked what functions evaluation and assessment help them to perform, a majority of them responded that identifying implementation problems so the problems can be fixed before they become serious as a primary function followed by determining the fundamental problems confronting the school system as a whole.
In classrooms, diagnostic assessment assists teachers to gain an understanding of “a student’s needs and abilities and the student’s readiness to acquire the knowledge and skills outlined in the curriculum expectations. ” (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2013) Assessment can be a beneficial tool to diagnose the problem areas in advance to better plan and implement programs in schools as a whole or an individual classroom setting.