Assessment describes a broad range of practices from informal evaluations of student learning and progress to formal summative examinations for the attainment of recognised qualifications such as NCEA. Assessment can be both formative, which means that it is used to inform ongoing teaching and learning, and summative, which is used to provide a measure of learning and progress. However, this is not a fixed distinction, as summative measures can also be used to inform the focus and direction of future teaching and learning. Sound educational assessment is characterised by validity, reliability and fairness in all assessment practices.
Assessment is crucial to learning and is an integral part of the learning process. It also serves as a tool for summative measures that may be used for reporting and certification purposes. Effective assessment practices are fundamental to an education system that learns.
Advances in educational assessment globally continue to influence thinking about assessment for and of meaningful outcomes for today’s students, as do considerations of how technology can be used for assessment to inform teaching and learning. There is a growing body of convincing evidence regarding the impact of effective formative assessment, although some aspects of assessment, such as self and peer assessment, remain under-researched.
Professor Stuart Kime discusses the role of assessment in teaching and learning with a particular focus on practical strategies for how teachers can enhance their assessment practice and embed effective assessment into their day-to-day teaching.
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