Formative or Teaching - Constructive Assessment

Nune Movsisyan

Armenian reality or the description of the situation

In the State Standard for General Education assessment is presented in the section of   "Principles of Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes".   According to these principles, the current assessment in general education institutions is carried out in quantitative (in points) and formative ways. A 10-point scale is used for quantitative evaluation. Quantitative assessment starts from 1 point, does not have an unsatisfactory scale and shows the student's academic success.

According to the state standard of general education, general education institutions can use another assessment system, which corresponds to a 10-point scale. That is the formative (teaching) assessment methods which are chosen by the general education institutions in case of alternative programs.

To understand what the quantitative and formative ways of assessment are let’s open the Standard of Armenian Language and Literature. In the "Assessment" section of the standard, it is mentioned that the following types of assessment are used in the process of learning the Armenian language and literature:

• Diagnostic

• Formative

• in points

After reading the explanations of these types of assessment it is still not clear how the points are practically formed. There is no toolkit, a mechanism through which it will be possible to imagine the assessment. Instead, “Emphasis is placed on preserving the academic honesty in the evaluation process”.

Studying the World Experience: Constructive Teaching

Studying the experience of the countries providing advanced education in the world, the methodological developments of teaching, it becomes clear that they carry out constructive teaching. In order to realize effective teaching, there exist learning assessment criteria which were initially created to help teachers. The practical application of these criteria contributes to the effectiveness of mastering the material being taught.   

The steps of constructive teaching are also described:

Orientation

When the learner's goals and motivations for learning are given some meaning. The learner should clearly realize what he/she is going to learn, and how important that new knowledge is and where it will be applied.

Questions and Answers (a dialogue)

When the learners exchange ideas.

Reconstruction of Ideas 

When the learners improve their ideas so that they can formulate them with words and to oppose other ideas.

Variety of New Ideas, Evaluation, Application of Ideas

When the learners apply their knowledge in both familiar and unfamiliar situations.

The ways of assessment in constructive teaching are

There are various ways of assessment in constructive teaching:

  • electronic files
  • written reports
  • oral reports
  • group discussions
  • debating
  • impressive presentation of the material 
  • video films, radio materials, breaking news
  • slides
  • media reports
  • audio books, video books.

Author Educational Program: Evaluation of Activities

In the Mkhitar Sebastatsi Educational Complex, the evaluation of the educational work done by the student is realized according to the order of evaluation of the educational work of the author educational program. According to this procedure, the student's self-control and self-examination practice of their educational activities and the publication through the media are encouraged.

 

That is to say, the learner is evaluated not for what is fixed by mechanical memory, but for the performance of the educational activity. And in order for that activity to become as visible and measurable as possible for a certain period of time, the learner needs to be encouraged and evaluated. The teacher, student and the parent need this evaluation to note the student’s progress and to determine the scope and content of further work. The learner can change his/her semester grade in case he/she has a wish and enough skills and knowledge.   

Let me present the toolkit for the assessment of the students’ progress in the Armenian Language and Literature in the High School. This tool kit was introduced at least 10 years ago and has been revised by the students several times.

This evaluation scale is flexible, simple and comprehensive. It makes the student’s work visible and measurable and, actually, has three levels: 

  • the first level – general education
  • the second level – author educational program
  • the third level – development of author educational program. self-education.

 

The First Level – General Education, 4-6 points

Practical grammar, the minimum obligatory part of reading pieces of literature, performance of grammar exercises and literary criticism tasks.     

The Second Level – Author Educational Program, 7-8 points

In addition to performing the minimum obligatory part of practical grammar and literary reading, the students do speech development work:

  • participation in project work
  • creating materials for the school website and the blog
  • translations from foreign Mass Media
  • creating audio and video materials
  • voluntary reading, analysis.

 

The Third Level – Self-education, 9-10 points

In addition to practical grammar, literary reading and speech development work the students should also:

  • participate in project work, coordinate a project
  • run his/her blog effectively, conduct a creative blog
  • carry on research work

The current system of assessment activities presupposes constructive learning, with an emphasis not on assessment points but on ongoing evaluation.

The semi-annual, annual assessment reflects the result of the student's work throughout the year, including what he / she did during the school holidays.

I would also like to add that the evaluation of activities refers to the variety of tasks and situations in which the learner gets the opportunity to demonstrate his or her comprehension of knowledge, is able to apply the acquired skills and the ability to think.

Evaluation is performed in the course of time based on tangible results or observable activities. Such an approach encourages self-assessment and review of own results, requires publication-evaluation of results. This system of activity assessment is not aimed at grading the learner, but at developing a number of necessary skills:

  • self-assessment, self-examination
  • creative thinking
  • the ability of learning to learn
  • the ability of learning to teach
  • the ability of collaboration
  • the ability to choose and make decisions.

 

Nowadays, knowledge is more than just information. And the more real, tangible and applicable it is today, the more likely it is to be used in the future. We are more than convinced that the real aim of education is not to make the learner's head a "repository", but to develop the necessary abilities and skills.

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