Experiences / Blog

Student-Centered Assessment

Richmond Solution
August 3 2023

Assessment is an essential part of the learning process. The only way a teacher can know if their students are achieving the established learning objectives is through different types of evaluation.

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Evaluation is an essential part of the learning process. The only way a teacher can tell if their students are achieving the set learning goals is through different types of evaluation. Parents and students immediately think about tests when they hear the word evaluation. Nevertheless, testing is just a component of evaluation as a whole.

In this blog, we will focus on the testing aspect of evaluation, since this aspect impacts our learners the most when the objectives of taking a test aren't clear to them.

Testing has been an inescapable part of the learning process for as long as most can remember. It has been essential in language learning and will continue to be since it has been proven beneficial for providing teachers with information and giving students a chance to demonstrate their competence or knowledge.

The results of testing are significant for both. For some, assessment is a necessary and useful part of learning . For many, it causes anxiety and stress for several reasons, sometimes as the result of the approach to assessment taken by the teacher or the institution. One of the questions we should ask ourselves is if our current assessment program measures the learning we want to achieve.

Recently, a student-centered approach to assessment has been discussed and often praised. This type of assessment is focused on the student's learning and growth. It aims to motivate and engage the learner to self-regulate their learning. It should be constructive and contextual, not only about grading but also about learning, encouragement, reflection, and self-awareness. From a traditional perspective, this may sound unrealistic. Still, we already have some tests that could be helpful if we want to change our approach to assessment. Let's look at one type of test to exemplify this.

We can find different categories of tests depending on the reason for testing. Diagnostic tests help teachers to get information on the learners' strengths, weaknesses, and existing knowledge. Teachers can use this information to identify the learners' problem areas and address them in the course plan. This kind of testing is probably the most student-centered test in the traditional categories.

The results of a diagnostic test will almost certainly impact the design of a course, the creation of materials for it, and the teacher's expectations. More importantly, diagnostic tests can help students realize what areas of the language they need to work on. Students can use this information to ask the teacher for advice on improving these areas or design a plan for independent practice. Giving the students information about their language skills helps get them involved in their learning process and take responsibility for their progress. That single step can move us in the right direction to a more student-centered approach to assessment. Furthermore, students who are highly involved in their learning trajectory and focused on reaching agreed objectives are more likely to be successful than those who aren't.

Student-centered assessments are formative. They measure the student's capabilities against a set of established goals, rather than a standard. They tend to show a clearer picture of what is missing and what worked best, helping us understand each student's progress. At the same time, it empowers the learner to take control of their learning process and boosts their self-efficacy and self-awareness.

The shift toward student-centered assessment is complex and slow. We might only partially turn to a student-centered approach, depending on the context. However, the more we can integrate student-centered assessments into our lessons, the better prepared our students will be to become lifelong independent learners.

What about your school? Do you use any student-centered assessment? Do you have a more traditional approach? Can both be combined? Please share your opinion with us! #RichmondSolution #Let'sBlog

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