The purpose of Assessment


The purpose of Assessment: Education is concerned with preparing citizens for a meaningful and productive life, and evaluation should be...

The purpose of Assessment:

Education is concerned with preparing citizens for a meaningful and productive life, and evaluation should be a way of providing credible feedback on the extent to which we have been successful in imparting such an education. Seen from this perspective, current processes of evaluation, which measure and assess a very limited range of faculties, are highly inadequate and do not provide a complete picture of an individual's abilities or progress towards fulfilling the aims of education. 

But even this limited purpose of evaluation, of providing feedback on scholastic and academic development, can be achieved only if the teacher is prepared even before the course of teaching begins, armed with not only the techniques of assessment but also the parameters for evaluation and the various tools that will be employed. In addition to judging the quality of the students' achievements, a teacher would also need to collect, analyse and interpret their performances on various measures of the assessment to come to an understanding of the extent and nature of the students' learning in different domains. The purpose of assessment is necessarily to improve the teaching-learning process and materials, and to be able to review the objectives that have been identified for different school stages by gauging the extent to which the capabilities of learners have been developed. Needless to say, this does not mean that tests and examinations will have to be conducted frequently. On the contrary, routine activities and exercises can be employed effectively to assess learning. 

Well-designed assessment and regular report cards provide learners with feedback, and set standards for them to strive towards. They also serve to inform parents about the quality of learning and the development and progress of their wards. This is not a means of encouraging competition; if one is looking for quality in education, then segregating and ranking children and injecting them with feelings of inferiority cannot do it.

 Last, credible assessment provides a report, or certifies the completion of a course of study, providing other schools and educational institutions, the community and prospective employers with information regarding the quality and extent of learning. 

The popular notion that evaluation can lead to identifying the needs of remediation, to be attended to with remedial teaching, has created many problems in curriculum planning. The term remediation needs to be restricted to specific/special programmes that enable children who are having a problem with literacy/reading (associated with reading failure and later with comprehension) or numeracy (especially the symbolic aspects of mathematical computation and place value). Teachers require specific training for effective diagnostic testing that can be of assistance in remediation efforts. Similarly, remedial work would require specifically developed materials and planning so that the teacher is able to give one-on-one time to work with the child  beginning with what she/he knows and moving to what she/he needs to learn, through a continuous process of assessment and careful observation. Indiscriminate usage of the term distracts from the general problems of effective pedagogy, and makes the child solely responsible for her/his learning and also learning 'failure'.

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CLEAR CTET: The purpose of Assessment
The purpose of Assessment
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