Assessment & Grading in the Classroom
Grading and testing is usually a mandatory part of teaching. Most schools let the teachers decide how and when to test, as long as the letters A, B, C, D, or F appears on a student’s report card. Teachers may not like the fact that some failing grades will have to be given, but as long as their way of grading is fair to every student, it is something that they will have to deal with. There are many methods of measuring a student’s ability to accomplish a task. However, many students freeze under normal testing procedures and may need to be evaluated in another manner. Also, it is important for teachers to understand fair grading procedures so students can best benefit from effective tests. By knowing the main ways of measuring student achievement, and proper formats for grading, students can be evaluated correctly. (Fairtest, 98)
There are two main ways of evaluating a student’s work: objective tests and essay questions. Objective testing places emphasis on a precise, efficient focus on a student’s knowledge of defined variables (Kopeikin, 2000). That is, a teacher can use this format to measure a specific amount of a student’s knowledge. This can include multiple-choice, matching, true-false, and fill in the blank formats of testing. These kinds of testing are best used for checking whether students have learned facts and routine procedures that have one, clearly correct answer. In some subjects, carefully written test questions with planned outcomes can accurately distinguish students who grasp a basic concept from those who do not (Fairtest, 98?). With multiple-choice questions, a teacher can strategically place answer choices in a manner that will best evaluate what her students have learned. The National Center for Fair & Open Testing says that if you look at a particular question, those who don't quite get it often are attracted by answer B, and those who have little or no knowledge usually select C, D or E. A teacher can successfully identify which of her students understand, and what exactly other students have not yet grasped. The goal in writing test items is to design them so that they measure student achievement, not test-taking skills or guessing skills. Objective tests should be designed in a way that they accurately measure what a teacher has taught and not be a form of “busy work” or simply be a “lucky guess” test.
Another format of testing is essay tests. Essay tests are beneficial when the teacher wants to evaluate the deep thinking of a student, how a student feels on a certain subject, or measure the ability of a student to present their ideas clearly and in an orderly fashion. Essay questions should give students a clear task and should indicate every answer that is supposed to unfold in the paper. Some types of essay questions are: compare and contrast, analyzing a list in paragraph form, narratives, and summaries. (Trice, 2000) Each of these is a different type of thinking and...