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Assessment Based Instruction

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Assessment based instruction is instruction that evolves from assessment to assessment. The assessment dictates the instruction, instead of the instruction dictating the assessment. In this paper the following is discussed: key components of assessment-based instruction, how assessment has shaped instruction in the last 20 years, how assessment improves instruction and learning, and the challenges of using assessments in a GED Program. Key Components of Assessment-based Instruction

The New Jersey World Languages Curriculum Framework (n.d.) identifies the following key components of assessment: Assessments that are an integral part of the learning process: oreflect instructional objectives, are performance-based, and meet the criteria for authenticity; oinclude all methodologies teachers use in daily instruction with students to monitor their progress; oinclude an evaluation of skills in a systematic, ongoing way at each level of instruction to demonstrate progress along the proficiency continuum; oprovide consistent feedback to students to facilitate assessing their own achievement and to modify and adjust their individual learning strategies and goals; and Empower both students and teachers by fostering consciousness rising and critical thinking. (p. 54)

The Wisconsin Education Association Council (2012), states that Wiggins argues that assessment and instruction need to accomplish the following four criteria: (1) to equip students with the ability to further their superficial knowledge through careful questioning; (2) to enable them to turn those questions into warranted, systematic knowledge; (3) to develop in students high standards of craftsmanship; and (4) to engage students so thoroughly in important questions that they learn to take pleasure in seeking important knowledge. (Para. 23) How Assessment has Changed Instruction in the Past 20 Years

In the Twentieth Century it was common to have instruction in the lecture format and then assessments based on the lecture. Today with performance assessment at the forefront, instruction is based on the assessment. “Those who propose changes in assessment rest their argument on the premise that what we assess and how we assess it affects both what are taught and the way it is taught. Critics of current assessment practices argue that the goal should be to have students who can create, reflect, solve problems, collect and use information, and formulate interesting and worthwhile questions” (Wisconsin Education Association Council, 2012, Para. 1). In the past, assessment gave too much attention to content rather than skill (Wisconsin Education Association Council, 2012, Para 2). Memorizing dates, names, locations, and other facts are good and have their place, but they do not assess the student’s ability to perform said task. “Ten or fifteen years ago, few persons questioned the widespread use of standardized achievement tests in our schools.

After all, standardized achievement tests take relatively little time to administer and are inexpensive. In addition, the results are simple to report and understand” (Wisconsin Education Association Council, 2012, Para 5). These objective assessments were fundamentally separate from instruction. “We must no longer treat assessment (testing) as fundamentally separate from instruction. If curriculum, instruction, and assessment are integrated, the assessment itself becomes a valuable learning experience. Their conclusion is that by requiring students to complete high quality performance tasks we have the potential to bring about significant and positive changes in instruction and learning” (Wisconsin Education Association Council, 2012, Para 2). Traditional assessment is slowly being challenged by the efficacy of performance based and authentic assessments. Active learning and skill driven assessments are more effective and useful in the teaching process. This is changing the landscape of education in the Twenty-first Century. Assessments Improve Instruction and Learning

High quality performance assessments improve instruction and learning by creating a scenario of active learning driven instruction. Instruction is shaped around the performance of the student during assessment. “Teachers who develop useful assessments, provide corrective instruction, and give students second chances to demonstrate success can improve their instruction and help students learn” (Guskey, 2003, p. 6).

Assessments inform both the instructor and student and propel learning. If the assessment is followed by exemplary corrective instruction to rectify learning errors, then the student learns from those mistakes. If the assessment is ignored and teaching moves forward, the student loses valued learning to build upon. “High-quality, corrective instruction is not the same as reteaching, which often consists simply of restated the original explanations louder and more slowly. Instead, the teacher must use approaches that accommodate differences in students’ learning styles and intelligences” (Guskey, 2003, p. 8). Most challenging Aspect of Creating and Using Assessments in a GED Program A GED program is comprised of students of varied learning levels, most with a discouraging outlook on education. These students have been lost in the system. They may feel that the system failed them; therefore, assessments need to be designed specifically to build confidence and success.

Because of the varied learning levels assessments can be challenging. They should be tailor made per student. This is very time consuming, but worth it. The assessment should be designed to allow learning to be built on it. Start out with what the student knows and build on it. Promote success by creating “easy” assessments. These are designed to be at the level the student is or slightly above. The student will feel comfortable answering the questions and feel they are smart, erasing false thinking from prior experience. Frequent assessments with slow change to encourage learning, will best prepare the student for educational success. Success breeds success. Once the student feels he or she can succeed him or she will be encouraged to continue that success and study harder. A failing student can become an A student with the use of this technique. Gradually harder and harder assessments are introduced as confidence is built and active learning is promoted. The goal is to bring these adult students up to college level. Conclusion

In conclusion the face of education is evolving due to the improved usage of assessments. The key components of assessment-based instruction were identified. In the past 20 years, instruction has changed from fact based traditional assessments to performance, authentic assessments that change the way instruction takes place. This type of assessing improves instruction and learning. Finally the challenges of using assessments in a GED Program were discussed.

Guskey, T. R. (2003, Feb). How Classroom Assessments Improve Learning. Using Data to Improve Student Achievement, 60(5), 6-11. Retrieved from New Jersey World Languages Curriculum Framework. (n.d.). Chapter 6: Rethinking Assessment. Retrieved from Wisconsin Education Association Council. (2012). Performance Assessment. Retrieved from

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