Easy Assessment Vs. Easy Marking

26 Mar

Which would you choose?  The ability to assess easily, or the ability to mark easily.  I suppose for some teachers this could be a difficult decision for them.

I just don’t see how though.  If the only reason for making a “test” or “assignment” the way you do is because its easiest to mark, who is that benefiting?

I have been marking multiple choice tests recently, and doing them myself also, and find that I can’t even figure out what the question is asking me some times.  I also find that I know nothing about what my students know or don’t know from these questions.

So I ask myself, why would I choose the easy marking?  Sure it might take longer to go through different assessment tools, or even just making notes about the students from day to day, but it’s easier for me to assess in the end.  The actually assessment, not the evaluation of marks, but the assessment, is incredibly easier when I can see the progress my students have been making every step of the way.

The easy marking might save the time when having to fill a report card with marks.  If I’m filling this report card with numbers that don’t mean anything, what is the point?  I can see that my students are purely motivated by the marks that they get, but there are still ways to give marks for authentic assessment.

Some may think that giving marks for the things a teacher observes isn’t as credible as having concrete marks from an assignment or an exam.  The numbers might seem to be “made up” by the teacher.  My question is:  What is the difference between numbers “made up” by teachers from their actual assessment of a students progress, and the numbers given from a multiple choice.  A number given from a multiple choice test can be just as pointless, considering you can’t really see the knowledge from a multiple choice question.  What is more beneficial for the student?

It’s sad to think that a reason someone would do less actual assessment because its less work than marking, say, a multiple choice test.  I choose to do more work, if by more work it means more time on my students, because it will be easier to assess, because I can see much more clearly what my students know and, more importantly, need.

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One Response to “Easy Assessment Vs. Easy Marking”

  1. Elona Hartjes March 26, 2011 at 4:16 am #

    I agree with you whole heartedly. There are a number of effective assessment tools beyond simple quizzes and tests. These do take more of our time but provide a richer assessment. For example

    • Conferences and Personal Communications
    • Logs and Journals
    • Observations – e.g. cooperative learning strategies, risk taking, expressive and receptive language skills, leadership, attention to task
    • Performance Tasks – e.g. demonstrations, presentations, simulations
    • Portfolios
    • Projects – e.g. models, experiments, work samples, investigations.
    • Reflections – e.g. personal learning, experiential, metacognitive
    • Self and Peer Assessments
    • Text Forms – e.g. Narrative, Recount, Procedure, Report, Explanation, Exposition e.g. Essays

    Reference
    http://www.peel.edu.on.ca/departments/diroff/policies/policy_14.htm

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