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What is Assessment?

What is Assessment Title Image

Assessment is the process of gathering information about what a student knows, understands, and can do, in relation to the learning outcomes. In Edmonton Catholic Schools, all assessments are criterion-referenced, meaning student performances are not compared to one another, as is seen in post-secondary institutions who grade “on the curve”. Rather, student performances are compared to the learning objectives as set by the Ministry of Education in the Programs of Study (Alberta Curriculum).

Types of Assessment

There are three types of assessment, each with different purposes:

Assessment FOR Learning Title ImageAssessment As Learning Title ImageAssessment OF Learning Title Image
  • provides useful feedback on what, how much, and how well students are learning 
  • context-specific: it responds to the particular needs and characteristics of the teachers, students and disciplines to which they are applied 
  • is ongoing, and not based solely on discreet assessment “events”
  • actively involves student reflection on learning, monitoring of his/her own progress, accompanied by teacher guidance 
  • supports students in critically analyzing performance in relation to learning objectives 
  • supports students in answering three crucial learning questions: What am I learning? Where am I in my learning? What's next for my learning?
  • judges student learning and understanding for the purposes of grading and reporting 
  • used to determine the degree to which learning objectives are attained
Formative: used throughout the learning process to monitor student learning and provide ongoing feedback to both students and teachers for the purpose of improving learning

Summative: used to evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional/learning cycle

Multiple Modes of Assessment

Image showing how conversations, observations and products are all intertwinedFor many teachers and parents, assessment is synonymous with evidence of learning apparent in a product, such as an essay or written exam. We can gather a more well-rounded collection of evidence of learning by observing students while they demonstrate skills, or engaging them in conversation to reveal their understanding. The teacher can then capture what they see and hear, in addition to product-based evidence of learning, to provide a balanced and more accurate picture of a student’s level of proficiency in demonstrating knowledge, conceptual understanding, and skill.

Title Image for Observations, Conversations and Products
•   lab skills 
•   debate 
•   physical education skills 
•  art techniques 
•   classroom dialogue: partner work, small group, whole class discussion
•  student teacher conferences
• classroom dialogue
• debate
• oral reflection
•  written work
• creating models
• posters
• quizzes/tests/exams
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