Formal Versus Informal Assessments in Education

Basic concepts

Assessment, a basic technique to evaluate the students’ performance is of many kinds according to the methods the teachers adopt. Whether it is formal or informal, the ultimate objective is to analyze the pupils. Formal assessment, generally termed as test and data driven method, is a conventional method of analyzing the students. The utilities may differ in type such as test, quiz, homework or paper. According to their performance in the conventional tests the formal assessment records their grade or numerical score.

Using this assessment method the overall achievement of students involving their strengths and weaknesses are evaluated. “Informal assessment is not data driven but rather content and performance driven.” (Weaver). That means in this assessment method student’s final grade or mark has no significance. It works in a very casual manner. This method adopts the techniques of observing students’ activities and performance, preparing checklists, rating scales, assessing their portfolio and progression, group discussion, and peer/self evaluation.

Are Teachers cautious in adopting the Assessment Techniques?

Apart from conventional tests and quizzes, the assessment is a continuous process as Teachers always watch students learning and reciprocating and judge based on them. By adopting formal assessment methods the teachers can collect some valuable information on students’ performance through questions, exams, etc. But this assessment method too has its limitations like by using this technique no teacher can comprehensively analyse a student. The teachers should keep in mind the following before applying assessment techniques.

Assumptions for Students Assessment

First of all adequate importance is to be given to the quality of teaching. The students learning quality is directly proportional to the teaching quality. Hence teachers, who expect learning improvements in their students, should concentrate on their teaching. Teachers need first set their goals explicit and make it specific for the students. Monitoring whether the students are achieving those goals is an important initiative from teachers’ side.

This way teacher can improve their effective assessments. Students also need to evaluate their own learning. The teachers don’t require any sort of specialized training for classroom assessment. What is the requirement is a sort of dedication and devotion of teaching professionals from all disciplines.

Every student of the class may have of different level of intelligence and grasping power. Considering these aspects of the students, teachers should make a strategic approach of assessment. This approach includes Planning, implementing and responding. Planning defines analyzing every students based on their initial responses. Then comes implementation, which ensures students’ participation in teachers’ assessment process. It also analyse the responses on priority basis. Once the students active involvement in this process takes place, next would be responding, which means analysing feedback as to what is learned from the assessment.

One more significant factor to be kept in mind during the process of assessment is the pupils’ physical and mental disabilities. Special care and methods are to be adopted before taking any initiatives on this specific type of students. For that purpose modernised training for teachers is available to equip the teachers in dealing such students. The teachers, who identify performance objectives, plan according to these goals and after that making effective assessment, generally deliver purposeful teaching.

Works Cited

Weaver, Brenda. Formal Versus Informal Assessments. Scholastic. 1996. Web.