Checking for learning

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Checking for learning – an experience from Armenia

Usually in educational practice, all the students of the same grade are given the same tasks for summative assessment. However, given that the students’ abilities are different, it may not seem fair to limit the appreciation to only this type of assessment.

One type of assessment for learning, which can be done individually or in groups, relates to formative assessment. The goal is to measure the student’s educational progress so as to reveal knowledge, skills and behaviour to promote his/her development. Tasks are developed according to the student’s abilities and contribute to his/her educational progress by making the learning process more active. It may either take the form of a self-assessment / self-test or it may involve a kind of collaborative work on given theme/topic that has been previously taught. These may be completed in class or at home. Examples include questionnaires (or formative tests), individual work, presentations, discussions, a card or a poster to be completed in groups and practical work. For instance, a homework assignment could include the creation of a questionnaire, poster, crossword, research work, or another suitable tool to check and to promote the understanding of a subject that has been addressed in class.

Such means for checking the progress in learning are particularly useful for teaching learners with special educational needs. It should be noted however, that much effort is needed on behalf of teachers for increasing the efficiency of these methods.

The difference between summative and formative checking for learning can be distinguished in the following examples.

Summative task

Formative task

 

 

 

Is the number 7452 divisible by 9(3)?

What is the condition for the digits of any number that makes 7452 to be divisible by 9?

How can you make a number which can be divided by 3, but cannot be divided by 9?”

or vice versa

Can you make a number which can be divided by 9, but cannot be divided by 3?

The application of formative learning promotes the quality of education. Formative works are applied by means of written, oral, and practical works. This approach can be used for all subjects and the formative nature of the questions helps reveal the student’s thorough knowledge or identifies what exactly is learnt by the student or what the drawbacks are. While constructing a task for learning, one must take into account that the answers are going to be evaluated and assessed mainly for awareness, competences and authenticity.

For further information about the project, please contact: Onik Mikayelyan and Lilit Mikayelyan (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), National Institute of Education of Armenia.