Literature Review Analysing Theories and Principles of Assessment

Enabling Learning and Assessment (EAL) Assignment

Part A – Literature review analysing theories and principles of assessment

Assessment can be defined as any process that provides information about the thinking, achievement and progress of students, and is carried out for many reasons including:
    • The determination of intended learning outcomes for the course.
    • The provision of feedback to learners on their learning, enabling them to improve their performance, and to provide guidance and support to learning.
    • Motivation of learners to undertake appropriate work
    • The demonstration of achievement of appropriate standards and the evaluation of the effectiveness of the teaching.

It can be principally defined as summative, intended to summarise student achievement at any point in time, typically examinations, and formative, which is ongoing assessment designed to develop learning to promote further improvement.

Crooks (1988) promotes summative assessment as a potent force influencing education, guiding the students to what is important to learn, affecting their motivation and their approach to study. However, Black and Wiliam (1998) in their review of research on classroom assessment and its impact, resulting in their publication ‘Inside the black box’, concluded that, when carried out effectively, informal classroom assessment with constructive feedback to the student will raise levels of attainment across the board, but high quality feedback would have most effect on the weaker learners, allowing for equality and differentiation amongst learners. Their work focuses on the “find fault and fix” approach of mastery learning, concluding that most effective teaching should be centred on the areas for improvement, and not the whole process. Essentially, one cannot do assessment without feedback, or indeed provide feedback without assessment. Effective feedback should be timely, but not so quick that learners cannot reflect on their own...