Assessment for learning or assessment of learning: Providing rationale for promoting learning

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As discussed previously, summative assessment provides evidence of pupil achievement of making a judgment about pupil’s competence or effectiveness of PoS usually in the form of standardised tests. At classroom level, summative assessment determines how much pupils have learned at a particular time, for the purpose of communicating achievement status to others. Kirton et al (2007) think formative and summative assessments as two separate and hardly reconcilable approaches of assessment whereas Black et al (2004, 2010) feel they can be complementary to each other. An assessment intended to be formative can be used summatively in the classroom when evidence indicates pupils’ attainment. Similarly, a summative assessment can be used formatively, such as when end of the topic test reveals problems with pupils learning that can be addressed by teaching the topic again. Summative assessments such as standardised test is a key tool for obtaining information about pupil's strengths and needs that can guide instruction to consider the improved quality of the data collected. On the contrary, ARG (2012) believes that such high-stakes tests can build a barrier to use of AfL as a main approach to promote learning. There have been concerns raised by several education experts of ‘unintended outcomes’ which are derived from these changes to assessment system in the country. They point out that huge amount of time spent on testing (and preparing) pupils, taking time away from teaching and learning. This leads to situation where teachers would be more tempted to ‘teach to the test’ and would mainly focus on teaching what is to be tested and what is easy to test rather than teaching the wider curriculum. In my opinion, teacher should concentrate on... ... middle of paper ... ...learner is put at the heart of the assessment process and learning objectives are refocused so that learner becomes primary benefactor. The distinction between the two assessment approaches in reference to curriculum and teaching methods evaluation suggests that information can be gathered early in the process of implementation to identify areas for improvement, and adjusting teaching, at successive stage of development. Therefore, to establish effective learning teachers should use the assessment results to provide feedback to students on gaps between their performance and the ‘mastery level’ and to adjust their own teaching to better meet identified learning needs . The evidences gained from research and inspections show the positive impact of AfL on pupil’s achievement, though further rigorous quantitative research is required to arrive at stronger conclusions.

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