If We Assess Our Students More Often, Will They Perform Better?

Students dub the week before their final examinations "hell week" because during this week, they have to focus on studying hard in order to at least get a decent B- in each of their subjects. They cringe at the sound of the words "pop quiz" because they might not have been listening to their teacher's lectures on the subject the quiz is about. Student assessments take many forms-- quizzes, exams, projects, and many more. But if we assess our students more often will they perform better?

Teachers use quizzes to determine if their students have learned anything from their previous set of lessons. When teachers announce quizzes, some students review either because they want to recall their lessons or because they don't know the content at all; since they were not paying attention when they were discussed. Some, however, just slack off either because they think they know the lessons perfectly or they just don't care.

If teachers are going to administer quizzes and tests more often take the testing format of multiple-choice test questions, matching identification and true or false would become more frequent, simply because there is not enough time in the day to grade these assessments. Do you think these testing formats actual give you a quality picture of what students know and can do?

The more frequent quizzes are done, the lesser the percentage it will affect the student's class averages. This might be a benefit as students will have more time to be human, if you will, and make mistakes more frequently.

Quizzes require students to memorize facts and figures. While some students remember them exactly all throughout the year, there are those who just remember them in time for their quizzes. Some just memorize without even understanding the lessons, how one concept is connected to the others, and how important what they're studying is. There are those who are gifted with photographic memory and those who understand concepts well but cannot memorize well.

There's a big possibility that the higher the frequency of quizzes, the less students will focus on learning and understanding what is taught to them. They will just focus on studying for and passing quizzes. While they may perform better in the quizzes, they may not learn anything at all. Because what a student studies in one level provides the foundation for what he'll be studying in the next level, they need to have a thorough understanding of concepts taught to them and not have a stock of memorized facts in their minds. There must be moderation in terms of giving students quizzes. You wouldn't want your students' education to be sidetracked just so they get better quiz scores.

In terms of classes that require expression, such as Art, Drama and Writing classes, if we assess our students more often will they perform better? The said classes often require students to perform. The idea behind these classes is that the more a student performs, the more he will improve.

In art and writing classes, students are required to have portfolios that they will complete within a year. Through these portfolios, teachers and students will get to monitor the progress of students. Because students get feedback for every work in their portfolio, they are able to know what their works lack and improve on them. For example, a student who confuses his subject-verb agreements will know how to make them right next time. He will learn grammatical correctness and will be well on his way to becoming a better writer.

In art, drama and writing classes, giving them frequent assignments allows them to exercise and improve their creative abilities. The frequency of assessments gives them the impression that they have a lot of room for improvement. They are thus challenged to get better and eventually improve at every assessment. You'll notice this in art portfolios. As you move to the final pages, you'll see how the composition and rendering of the drawings improve and become more pleasing to the eye.

In quizzes, students review to pass and then move on to reviewing for another quiz and so on. In assessments for creative classes, students learn from every assessment and get to incorporate what they learned for subsequent assessments. Hence, the more frequent performance assessments are given, the more opportunities there are for a student to improve. Compared to frequent quizzes, frequent performance assessments are more helpful in bettering student performance.

Educational Literature on Assessment

Alternative Assessment
Criterion-Referenced Assessment
High-Stakes Testing
  1. Assessing Employability Skills- ERIC Document
  2. Assessing Listening and Speaking Skills- ERIC Document
  3. Assessment and Testing: Measuring Up to Expectations- ERIC Document
  4. Assessment & Evaluation on the Internet- ERIC Document
  5. Assessment for National Teacher Certification- ERIC Document
  6. Assessment of Abilities- ERIC Document
  7. Assessment of Preschool Children- ERIC Document
  8. Assessment of Self-Concept- ERIC Document
  9. Assessment of Temperament- ERIC Document
  10. Emerging Student Assessment Systems for School Reform- ERIC Document
  11. Ethics in Assessment- ERIC Document
  12. Interest Assessment- ERIC Document
  13. National Assessments in Europe and Japan- ERIC Document
  14. Neuropsychological Assessment in Schools- ERIC Document
  15. Testing Literature: The Current State of Affairs- ERIC Document
  16. Testing Students with Disabilities- ERIC Document
  17. The Assessment of Educational Outcomes- ERIC Document
  18. The Assessment of Entering Students- ERIC Document
  19. Writing RFPs for Assessment Programs- ERIC Document