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What is assessment?

Derived from a Latin term meaning "to sit beside," assessment is the process of gathering evidence from students in order to inform and guide our instruction.

However, to many of us, assessment has come to mean something someone outside the classroom has mandated at a specific date and time. You know, THE TEST.


What is the purpose of assessment?

Grant Wiggins says that “testing is a small part of assessment.”

He assures us that one of the challenges in teaching is designing... “and to be a good designer you have to think about what you are trying to accomplish and then craft a combination of content, instructional methods, and assessment.”


Good assessment is simply part of the learning process, not just a means of documenting or judging that learning. Assessment can’t really be separated from instruction. Good assessment tasks are interchangeable with good instructional tasks. Good teachers are continually gathering evidence and providing feedback about how well students are performing, but they often don’t consider this work to be assessment - It’s just good teaching.

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