The existence of multiple learning styles has prompted educators to investigate the use of various assessment methods. For instance, although students may have a full grasp of material to be tested, they may not be able to read, write or provide answers orally that would provide an accurate reflection of comprehension. Therefore, it may be necessary to match individual learning styles to different assessment methods. While some students may perform fine on written tests, others may perform better via an alternate evaluation technique.
The use of a portfolio as an assessment method is becoming increasingly popular. Portfolio assessments provide a way to reveal ongoing and evolving thinking throughout portfolio development to the final product. A portfolio assessment is a collection of best student work that demonstrates the level of competency on a concept or group of related concepts. Portfolio assessments allow students to demonstrate competency via a variety of avenues: writing, drawing, and through project completion.
Traditional Written Assessment
Traditional written assessments can be very effective in measuring level of student understanding. Teacher-made tests, textbook publisher tests and standardized tests are all traditional written assessments. However, these traditional written assessments may or may not be appropriate for all students. Consider for example, the student who does not read and comprehend the written word well. This student may have a good understanding of material to be tested but may not be able to read or comprehend the test.
Oral assessment methods include assessments that rely on the student's oral performance to demonstrate competency. This may be in the form of an oral presentation or a public or private question-and-answer segment between teacher and student. Oral evaluations work great for students with reading or writing impairments but may not be appropriate for students with hearing difficulties, speech impediments or those who are prone to extreme anxiety.
The use of practical assessment methods are on the increase as teachers are encouraged to assess student understanding as well as student ability to think critically, work independently, and provide real-world evidence of learning. Using a project-based learning approach provides the opportunity for students to show that they understand and can apply what they have learned. It also allows students to be creative in their demonstration of learning.
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images