Educational evaluation is the methodical measurement of educational activities in order to determine the outcome. The starting point of evaluation is based on the instruction program adopted, the goals of education and the initiative of the school towards education.
Educational evaluation aims at assessing the merits of educational programs as well as the impacts of the initiatives. One way through which evaluation of skills can be achieved is through test administration. There are various types of assessment both formal and informal which can be used by educators to gauge the outcome of educational activities such as reading.
This is a type of assessment where the results of evaluation are used for revision purposes with the aim of improving the performance of learners.
This process of assessment is diagnostic in that it provides feedback to teachers as well as learners in the course of instruction. As a result, the skills tested in reading are improved with time (Center for Educational Research and Innovation, 2005, p. 251).
Purpose of formative assessment in reading
A teacher will often want to know the progress of the students during a reading session. Formative assessment offers grounds for identification of the learning outcome of the students in time. Therefore it is possible to determine their performance.
When the teachers are aware of the students’ progress and the problems arising from comprehension, they can use this information in making essential instructional improvements such as remedial teaching, change of instructional methods or reviewing instructional objectives (Boston, 2002, p. 3). Formative assessment is also significant in identifying and helping students who are low achievers as well as those with learning disabilities. This is successful when the teacher adopts different methods which facilitate effective learning for such students. In administering formative assessment, teachers are interested in getting feedback of the learning activities. This feedback helps the learners to be aware of the existing loop holes in relation to the set goals and their current position in terms of skills, knowledge and comprehension. As a result, the student is motivated to take the necessary action directed towards achieving the set goal.
In administering formative assessment, there are specific considerations to be observed. These include the level of students to be assessed, the content to be assessed and the resources available for assessment. All these determine the strategies to be used in an assessment (Boston, 2002, p. 4). In reading, the basic skill measured is on the student’s understanding of the read text.
A teacher can use brainstorming prior to reading a text for the students to have a picture in mind related to the text. After reading, well ordered questions can be asked concerning the text to gauge the understanding of learners. For instance, in Pollock’s story, ‘Betsy Brandon meets the president’, a brainstorm session would require learners to respond to questions regarding a meeting with a very important person and how they would feel if they were to meet the president. With regard to test 1, of Pollock’s story, the questions are well ordered testing from those which require simple recall of facts by the student such as question one and two. The teacher then goes to question three which tests the student’s vocabulary development and finally to question four, five and six which require the learner to go further by giving a simple critique to test their analysis of the story.
In a formative assessment test such as test 1, every response from the leaner is reinforced by verbal praise or other forms of rewards to encourage participation of learners.
Evaluation in education is an important aspect worth incorporating. Reading comprehension and formative assessment help both the students and the teachers to know their position in the academic endeavor. Educators should therefore make use of this type of assessment so as to improve learner’s comprehension skills in reading.
Boston, C. (2002). The concept of formative assessment. Journal of Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation. 8(9): 1-5. Center for Educational Research and Innovation, (2005).
Formative assessment. Improving learning in secondary schools. Paris, France: O.E.C.D.