Sunday, August 7, 2011

How do you know students have learned what you taught them?

Q:  How do you know students have learned what you taught them?
A:   Evaluation is an integral part of the learning process.  As such, it must be sensitive to the needs, attitudes, and abilities of individuals students as well as the class as a whole.  I must be careful that I do not over-rely on one form of evaluation just because it is easy or convenient for me to use.  Rather, I need to utilize a multi-faceted evaluation program if I am to determine whether students are mastering the objectives for each lesson. To that end I need to use formative evaluation measures in order to assess student progress with the material being presented, as diagnostic instruments to determine student strengths and weaknesses, and to provide student and teacher feedback.  I also need to utilize summative evaluation measures at the conclusion of a unit of study in order to asses the extent of pupil’s achievement, to provide a basis for the calculation of course grades, and provide data from which parent reports and school transcripts can be prepared.

            I like this question for several reasons…and so do a large number of principals.  Your response demonstrates the extent of your knowledge about assessment and evaluation, your plan for putting that knowledge into practice, your understanding of the connection between lesson objectives and student performance, and your comprehension of both product and process evaluation.  It’s a tall order, but one you need to master.