Assessment and Evaluation – Compare and Contrast Essay

Academic institutions in every nation are required to meet the education standards that have been set by the government. Many sectors of the society have continuously been concerned about whether academic institutions meet the set standards. For educators to understand the significance of improvement in learning and teaching, they must appreciate the different role played by assessment and evaluation in the educations sector. Many people have frequently confused assessment with evaluation, yet these two terms are different in nature and purpose (Raupach et al., 2013).

Assessment as the process through which educators measure performance, learning skills or work products of learners, and provide them with feedback that helps to provide direction for improvement (McCawley, 2009). The information collected during assessment is used to make necessary changes in the learning environment. The purpose of assessment is therefore to improve the future performance of learners by providing what the learners need (McCawley, 2009). On the other hand, evaluation is defined as the process through which educators judge and determine the quality of performance while comparing such performance against given standards. Evaluation often focuses on grades but may at times focus on mastery level of the learner. The main purpose of evaluation is to determine what can be known about the leaner’s performance capabilities as well how these capabilities can best be measured. While assessment and evaluation may differ in their purposes, these two concepts are similar in the sense that, they both involve specification of criteria and data collection (Han, Hu and Li, 2013).

Assessment can be divided into two broad categories namely formative assessment and summative assessment depending on the goal of each. The general purpose of formative assessment is to monitor student learning to provide ongoing feedback that the student can use to improve learning and that the teacher can use to improve teaching. Specifically, the purpose of formative assessment it to assist learners recognize their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the specific areas that need additional effort. In addition, formative assessments are conducted with the aim of assisting faculties identify where students are having problems and to address those problems as fast as possible (Kaya and Tan, 2014). An instructor can conduct formative assessment in various ways. For instance, a teacher can draw a concept map on the classroom board to find out whether students have effectively understood a taught topic. In another example, a teacher can summarize a topic in one or two sentences. Moreover, an instructor may decide to provide early feedback to learners by turning in proposals (Dargusch, 2014; & Cornelius, 2013).

The main purpose of summative assessment is to evaluate student learning at the end of a unit by using some standard or benchmark as the basis of comparison (Raupach et al., 2013). An instructor can use various methods to conduct summative assessment. For instance, the teacher may give learners a midterm exam to assess whether they have understood the content of an instructional unit. The main interest of summative assessment is to measure student’s performance is more details than in formative assessment. In some instances, learners may use information obtained from summative assessment to guide their activities in subsequent units (Raupach et al., 2013).

Evaluation is often divided into two main categories namely formative evaluation and summative evaluation. Formative evaluation is the process through which an instructor judges the worth of a program, normally when the program is in progress. The goal of formative evaluation is always to assist learners or teachers to monitor whether the instructional goals are being achieved or not (Han, Hu and Li, 2013). The main purpose of formative evaluation is to identify areas of deficiencies to allow implementation of proper learning interventions that will enable learner to master the necessary knowledge and skills (Han, Hu and Li, 2013). According to Han, Hu and Li (2013), instructors can also use formative evaluation to analyze learning materials, their effectiveness and student’s achievements. Formative evaluation is important because it assists an instructor to make changes that will have a direct impact on current students. An example of formative evaluation is one-minute paper that involves asking learner to take a piece of paper and explain a specific concept within one minute. A one-minute paper helps the teacher to check students’ understanding in a lesson.

Summative evaluation is the process by which the instructor judges the worth of a program normally at the end of the program activities (Surgenor, 2013). When conducing summative evaluation, -the evaluator normally focus on the outcome of the program. According to Surgenor (2013), not all evaluations can perform formative functions but all assessments can be summative. Summative evaluations can be carried out using various instruments including surveys, observations, testing, interviews, or observations. Irrespective of the method of summative evaluation used, it must be designed and executed with a lot of care to ensure that the data obtained in highly accurate and valid. Example of summative evaluation is standardization of outcomes in terms of their dollar costs and values in order to determine the efficiency of a given program with respect to cost (Surgenor, 2013).

Both assessment and evaluation have significant roles to play in instructional design process. According to Carnahan and Mensch, (2014), instructional design is the process that an instructional designer uses to plan instruction that will enable his or her to determine the current state of the learner, to define the end goal of the instruction, and create some form of intervention that will assist the learner to understand a given concept. Instructional design process occurs in steps that require comprehensive assessment and evaluation. Instructional designs are developed on the basis of various theories and models, which give rise to various instructional design models. The ADDIE Model of instructional design will be used as a reference when discussing how assessment and evaluation are used in the instructional design process (Carnahan and Mensch, 2014).

The ADDIE model of instructional design is the core of instructional design that was largely used by traditional training developers and instructional designers. . This model is the basis of instructional system design. The ADDIE model of instructional design consists of five phases namely; Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. The analysis stage of ADDIE instructional design model involves clarification of instructional goals and objectives as well as identification of the best learning environment for the learner. During analysis stage, the instructional designer uses assessment and evaluation to determine factors in the learning environment that impact the course and how a given course fits into a whole curriculum or leaning program respectively (Carnahan and Mensch, 2014).

The design phase of the ADDIE model of instructional design involves creation of an instructional design instrument that includes objectives, activities feedback, assessment, and instruction. It is during the design phase of the ADDIE model of instructional design when assessment is largely used. Specifically, assessment is used to determine whether the objectives, activities, feedback, assessment, and instructions are aligned with the desired outcomes. In addition, instructional designers use assessment and evaluation to identify how the design of the course is shaped by orientation to educational theory. Development phase of the IDDEI instructional design model involves creation of content assets that will be necessary in giving instruction. During this phase, the instructional designer determines the optimum delivery method for the course. Assessment and evaluation are used during development phase to identify the best method of delivering course contents (Carnahan and Mensch, 2014).

Implementation phase of the ADDIE model of instructional design involves development of the best procedure for training learners and facilitators. The training needs to cover the course curriculum, learning outcomes, method of delivery, and testing procedures. During implementation phase, assessment and evaluation are used to identity some of the considerations that must be taken into account to ensure that the course is successful.

Evaluation phase of the ADDIE model of instructional design consists of both formative and summative parts. While formative evaluation in done in each stage of the ADDIE process, summative evaluation is also included in the evaluation phase to assist the instructional designer to identify referenced items that will enable him or her to provide feedback  to the learners. During evaluation phase, the instructional designer must ensure that learners are able to meet the necessary performance standards when they complete their training. Additionally, the instructional designer must ensure that the faculty is able to meet its goals. Consequently, evaluation is very useful in determining the value and effectiveness of a learning program (Carnahan and Mensch, 2014).

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