When defined within an educational setting, assessment, evaluation, and testing are all used to measure how much of the assigned materials students are mastering, how well student are learning the materials, and how well student are meeting the stated goals and objectives. Although you may believe that assessments only provide instructors with information on which to base a score or grade, assessments also help you to assess your own learning.
Education professionals make distinctions between assessment, evaluation, and testing. However, for the purposes of this tutorial, all you really need to understand is that these are three different terms for referring to the process of figuring out how much you know about a given topic and that each term has a different meaning. To simplify things, we will use the term “assessment” throughout this tutorial to refer to this process of measuring what you know and have learned.
In case you are curious, here are some definitions:
- A test or quiz is used to examine someone’s knowledge of something to determine what he or she knows or has learned. Testing measures the level of skill or knowledge that has been reached.
- Evaluation is the process of making judgments based on criteria and evidence.
- Assessment is the process of documenting knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs, usually in measurable terms. The goal of assessment is to make improvements, as opposed to simply being judged. In an educational context, assessment is the process of describing, collecting, recording, scoring, and interpreting information about learning.
Why is Assessment Important?
Hopefully by this point in your life you have discovered that learning can be fun! You have probably also realized that you are constantly learning, whether you are in a classroom, a car, or a kitchen.
Assessment helps you build confidence in your ability to learn.
Perhaps you have heard that the global work culture is changing. Unlike your grandfather, you will probably have a number of different jobs and careers during your lifetime. In order to be successful, you will need to have confidence in your ability to learn and you will need to become a lifelong learner. Assessment plays a key role in developing your confidence in your ability to learn, as well as in developing your lifelong learning skills.