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Formal and Informal Testing - Research Paper Example

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Formal and Informal Testing

Let us discuss some formal and informal assessment techniques in order to know how they can help teachers assess the learning level of their students. Formal Assessment Techniques Weaver (n.d.) states, “Formal assessments have data which support the conclusions made from the test”. Such assessments provide ways to the teachers to assess their students’ performance using standardized measures. Two of the widely used formal assessment techniques include non-referenced tests and criterion referenced tests. Non-Referenced Tests Using norm-referenced tests, teachers compare performance of each student to a large number of other students. Teachers prepare one test for all students to compare the performance of each student with the performances of other students. Such tests make teachers know which students is the best performer among all other students. Another advantage is increase in the level of motivation for the students. Such tests provide motivation and appreciation to the best performer. When a student is told that his/her performance is the best in the class, it increases motivation of the student. Along with advantages, there also exist a couple disadvantages of using non-referenced tests. First one of those disadvantages is that scores do not show actual knowledge of the students, which students of a specific grade level must possess, rather they show the performance in relation to the individual performances of other students. Moreover, the goal of excellence in class performance cannot be achieved because there is no standard criterion set for exams. Teachers measure performances of students against each other instead of a specific criterion, which does not reflect actual learning of the students. Criterion Referenced Tests In these types of tests, performance of the students is compared to a standard criterion set by the teachers instead of comparing with other students. Such tests provide accurate assessment to the teachers. These tests help teachers know whether there students have acquired the required amount of knowledge or they need to improve their learning skills. The results of such tests reflect actual skills of students instead of reflecting individual edge of students over other students. If a student meets the set criterion, it means that he/she is learning well in the classroom. Some of the concerns regarding use of these tests for assessment include criterion validity and individual rankings. For these tests, a proper criterion needs to be set. Sometimes teachers set improper criterion that does not properly measure what it should actually measure. Moreover, students like to know their individual rankings but in these tests, they cannot know it because their performances are not compared with others. Informal Assessment Techniques In informal assessment, teachers use multiple ways to assess students’ performance. Sawetch (2009) states, “An informal assessment can compromise of almost any teaching in the classroom that an individual student has to participate in”. Some of the widely used informal assessment techniques include checklists and oral interviews. Let us discuss both of these methods in some detail. Checklists A checklist is a list of skills, knowledge, and other qualities that teacher creates to know whether their students possess those qualities or not. If a student is short of any specific quality, the teacher can work to improve that quality of the student. Checklist method is not a very time consuming one. A teacher can ...Show more


According to Wortham (2011), assessment of the skills and knowledge of the students holds critical importance among the job responsibilities of a teacher…
Author : pollicheusebio
Formal and Informal Testing essay example
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