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Informal assessment in a secondary school

Дяченко С. Л., ХГ № 65, м. Харків

The problem of assessment attracts the attentionof the teachers constantly. The diversepossibilities of it are far from being exhausted.However, of course we have a significant theoreticaland practical experience in control organization.

The brain is better for the teacher than a National Curriculum.
At the same time, many teachers will find that amongst their pupils there is a wide diversity of level and ability. This must be taken into account when assessing. While there exists a series of minimum objectives, it is important in compulsory secondary education to be flexible, in order to encourage the pupils both at the bottom and at the very top of the spectrum. If this does not happen and if a rigid pass / fail barometer based only on tests is used, the weaker pupils will inevitably give up as they will realize at the outset that they have no chance of passing and doing well. In addition, if assessment is based on test results only, the better students in the class will probably realize that they have to make no effort in order to pass and may waste the year and even cause discipline problems because they are bored.
Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater.
Gail Goldwin
Possible way of carrying out assessment and taking into account diversity is balancing formal and informal assessment (for example, giving performance in tests 50% of the marks and giving class and homework the other 50 %). This will mean that weaker pupils who make an effort and who actually make progress, can pass even if they do not do well in all tests. It will also mean that the very best pupils cannot get away with doing nothing in class, knowing that they will easily be able to pass the tests.
It is also possible to award marks for group as well as for individual performance. This can be done for instance when assessing final written tasks. The finished task or project done by a pair or group is assessed, even though each member of the group will have contributed according to his / her own ability. However, it is important to make sure that the groups are working well and that one or two people are not doing the work for the rest of the group. One way of checking this is by giving pupils a peer assessment form, to assess the working of the group and that of its members.
The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth. 
Dan Rather
Implementing self-assessment is very helpful too. Students have to think about how much progress they are making and what problems they are having. As well as increasing awareness, self-assessment can help the teacher by providing more individualized information about each pupil on which to make judgment.
Of course, each teacher has his / her own methods of carrying out informal assessment. But one must remember: the assessment is to improve both learning and teaching.
  1. Алёшин Л. И. Контроль знаний без традиционных оценок как элемент совершенствования методов обучения // Иностранные языки в школе. — 2003. — № 4 — с. 29.
  2. Assessment and Feedback. Audit at Bristol. http://www.bristol.ac.uk/tsu/ext
  3. Sophie Loannou — Georgiou & Pavlos Pavlou. Assessing Young Learners (Resource book for Teachers). — Oxford University Press, USA, 2 003. — 192  р.


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