Principles of Quality Assessment
CAESL advocates the use of quality assessment as an essential part of teaching and learning in the classroom and the educational system as a whole. The work of the center focuses on assessment in the classroom because that is where the majority of science learning occurs. Our work is also aimed at influencing the improved quality of large-scale assessment. The following principles are intended as a guide to all those involved in educating our young people in science.
Quality assessment is:
- SUPPORTIVE OF STUDENT LEARNING
Quality assessment aims to increase student achievement. It is integrated with the teaching and learning process. During that process, it measures student understanding many times and in many ways, building a picture of student progress towards learning goals. Quality assessment uses different types of tasks to track student growth within several aspects of performance at once. It provides a coherent system to assess student learning along the continuum from the classroom to the large-scale test.
Quality assessment is based on research about how students learn and on research about best teaching practices. Quality assessment measures the important dimensions of science learning based upon an understanding of student learning and cognition that is grounded in research. It is built around a conception of how students' science knowledge and skills develop over time.
- ALIGNED TO IMPORTANT SCIENCE CONTENT
Quality assessment is consistent with student development and mastery of essential content understandings and content standards. Quality assessment involves scientists in developing accurate science content that is aligned with important science knowledge as defined in accepted and rigorous standards. It assesses students' skills in scientific inquiry as well as their reasoning skills.
Quality assessment takes account of students' opportunities to learn and their diverse backgrounds. It provides valid, reliable, comparable and fair information about students' learning. It takes into account students' opportunities to learn the science content and students' proficiency in the language of instruction as well as their ability to read the assessment and write proficiently.
- ACCURATE AND EFFICIENT
Quality assessment has sufficient accuracy to serve the decision-making purposes for which it is used, but recognizes appropriate limitations in applicability and strives for efficient use of available resources. It provides timely and accurate feedback to monitor student progress and make instructional decisions to improve learning. Such assessments generate clear and useful data for educators, students, parents and others interested in student progress.