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One of key element in teaching and learning activity is assessment. There are several types of assessment. However, in the context of Aceh, most of teachers still use traditional forms of assessment, specifically summative assessment. There is critique on traditional assessment, “The critique has been based on the assumption that these forms of assessment do not support high quality of leaning associated with ‘deep’ learning, critical thinking, sustainable knowledge and lifelong learning” (Havnes & McDowell 2008). Therefore, diagnostic assessment is one form of assessment that can be used by the teachers to support high quality of learning. Diagnostic assessment aims to determine students’ prior knowledge. In order to plan the effective teaching, it is important for teacher to determine students’ prior knowledge, because the students have their own conceptions on phenomena in the world before they study in the classroom (Tytler, n.d).
This essay is part of assignment in assessing learning unit (EXE733). It aims to review and discuss an example of exemplary assessment task for diagnostic assessment. Before further discussion about example of exemplary diagnostic assessment, it might be important to review the definition, purposes, types of assessment, as well as characteristics of effective assessment.
Assessment derived from the Latin assessare which mean to impose a tax or set a rate (Athanasou, 1997). According to Athanasou, Assessment is “the process of collecting and combining information from test (e.g., on performance, learning, quality) with view to making a judgement about a person or making a comparison against an established criterion. Further, Satterly defined assessment as “an omnibus term which includes all the processes and products which describe the nature and extent of children’s learning, its degree of correspondence with the aims and objectives of teaching and its relationship with the environments which are designed to facilitate learning” (1989 p.3, cited in Carrol, 2005). Moreover, Rowntree (1977) said “assessment in education can be thought as occurring whenever one person, in some kind of interaction, direct or indirect with another, is conscious of obtaining and interpreting information about the knowledge and understanding of abilities and attitudes of that other person” (p. 4, cited in Carrol, 2005).
The purposes of assessment can be divided into three levels, namely: classroom level (students and teachers), school level, and system level. Firstly, at classroom level, assessment aims to provide the students with appropriate learning based on their needs, provide the students feedback that they can use to identify their next steps of learning, to develop good partnership with parents, help the teachers to plan next teaching, and guarantee continuity of education for the students (Te Kete Ipurangi, 2007).
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Secondly, at school level, assessment can be used to evaluate the success of the schools in applying their curriculum and teaching programs, collect the information to plan strategies for school development, and to improve the achievement of particular students and groups (Te Kete Ipurangi, 2007). Cohen supported that assessment can be used to evaluate curriculum and teaching (1994).
Thirdly, at the system level, assessment can be used as quality assurance of education (Te Kete Ipurangi, 2007; Mutch and Brown, 2002). Moreover, it can “provide the means of evaluating progress towards raising achievement and reducing disparity, certify the achievement of senior secondary students, and provide the foundation for further study and the world of work” (Te Kete Ipurangi, 2007).