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An introduction to assessment

Assessment is how we attempt to make learning visible; it includes any procedure or strategy used to collect information that will help us make inferences about our pupils’ learning (The American Educational Research Association, 1999). 

To gain confidence in how, why and when we use assessment in the classroom, we need to understand four key principles (Evidence Based Education 2017):

This figure shows a table with four columns and one line. The columns and texts in the line are: "Purpose - For assessment to be purposeful in eliciting useful evidence about our pupils, we need to be clear about the aims and strategies being employed.", "Validity - For assessment to be valid it must successfully achieve its purpose and be able measure what it was intended to.", "Reliability - Assessment reliability refers to its accuracy and consistency across contexts and assessors.", and "Value - The value of an assessment is based on if it was worth it. In other words, are the benefits gained worth the time and resources required?".

In this video, we hear from Daisy Christodoulou, Director of Education at No More Marking about the key principles of effective assessment. As you watch, consider:

  • What is the purpose of assessment in your classroom?
  • How might you make your assessments more reliable?


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American Educational Research Association (1999) Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, Washington DC: American Educational Research Association

Evidence Based Education (2017) Four Pillars of Assessment: Purpose. Available at: https://evidencebased.education/pillars-assessment-purpose/ (accessed April 2020)

Evidence Based Education (2017) Four Pillars of Assessment: Validity. Available at: https://evidencebased.education/pillars-assessment-purpose-validity/ (accessed April 2020)

Evidence Based Education (2017) Four Pillars of Assessment: Reliability. Available at: https://evidencebased.education/pillars-assessment-reliability/ (accessed April 2020)

Evidence Based Education (2017) Four Pillars of Assessment: Value. Available at: https://evidencebased.education/pillars-assessment-value/ (accessed April 2020)


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