The learning process and its effectiveness can be revealed through quantitative and qualitative results gathered on a regular schedule. The key is to measure learning before the action of teaching takes place, during instruction and then again after the learning takes place. One effective method is to embed assessments in the pre-, mid- and post- timing format. Embedding assessment into instruction means collecting results in an ongoing, low-key and comfortable way. This format yields more accurate evidence of student learning.
An example of embedding three assessments into one class is as follows:
Introduce scene writing and ask students to write what they already know about this topic (pre- assessment). Then teach students about scene writing and ask them to write down what they have now learned (mid- assessment). After students share out loud what they have learned, ask them to write down what they have learned from other students about scene writing (post- assessment). The outcome reflects steady progress of student results to analyze.
Regular assessment helps provide validity and reliability in your conclusions about student learning. Validity is established by assessment that gathers better evidence of student learning. Reliability is established by assessment that compares student progress. Pre-, mid- and post- assessments are three excellent sampling points. Another method of assessment could occur once a week over the course of six weeks:
Another example of regular assessment use is charted above. Quantitative analysis of two series of students (i.e. different classes with the same curriculum) can provide a lot of information. In the chart above, the percentage of students attaining a particular standard in two different classes are compared at regular points during the same six-week period. The analysis of these results reveals that the Series 1 students underperformed the Series 2 students. The quantitative results indicate a difference between the two series of students that may have gone un-noticed without this comparison analysis. Perhaps some qualitative analysis, where students reveal the “how and why of their learning” might help?