Multiple Means of Student Assessment

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Question #1 – Education is currently experiencing a major student achievement initiative to reform curricula by remedying the discrepancy between the curricula guide, the instructional plan, and the variety of assessment measures. Why are multiple measures needed to address the full depth and breadth of the expectations for student learning?

The current tool used to determine individual student ability, and the effectiveness of schools and school districts, consists of a singular measurement assessment process. Though relatively easy to administer and evaluate, this singular assessment in my opinion does not provide an accurate representation of student knowledge and more importantly ability. Many of the current means of assessment are comprised solely of multiple-choice questions utilizing a pencil and a bubble-sheet; a method that favors students who possess strong reading comprehension skills. While I believe that reading comprehension is an important skill, it is only one of several multiple intelligences that students use in learning. Therefore assessments and accountability need to be based on valid and reliable information from multiple data sources.

Multiple means of assessment requires more planning and long-term, ongoing measurement. When conducted properly, measuring student learning is essential in order to gain a true understanding of student ability. The use of multiple means of formative and summative assessments provides appropriate evidence of student learning that can be used to help modify instructional practice to better meet students’ individual learning needs. Some of the multiple means of assessment include student portfolios made up of work examples, letters from educators, pre-tests and post-tests, wri...

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...rthermore, their verbal and comprehensive skills may be well-developed from either natural abilities and/or early exposure to a multitude of resources. In this same classroom are students who have little or no vocabulary - written or spoken - and lack the typical 5-year-old skill set. Between these extremes lies a realm of differing abilities. It is here where the educational structure needs to intervene: by providing pull out differentiation in small groups with specialist teachers who can challenge the accelerated students and with others who can address the lacking skills of the students in need. This separation of students with differing abilities would be for only part of the day, with all students coming together for large group instruction in other subjects, therefore blending ability tracking and whole group instruction to best meet the needs of all students.
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