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Using Assessments to Improve Learning and Student Progress

Abstract

"This paper examines the role of assessment in the teaching and learning process, and explores what we can do to help teachers and students utilize both "assessments for learning" and "assessments of learning" to gauge and improve student progress. Assessments provide objective information to support evidence-based or data-driven decision making. We often categorize assessments by purpose (admissions, placement, diagnostic, end-of-course, graduation, employment, professional certification, and so on) but it may be more revealing to understand who uses the information from an assessment to guide their actions and to inform their decisions. The role of assessment in students' learning is commonly misunderstood, perhaps because each stakeholder group--students, parents, teachers, administrators, policy makers, and the business community--has different information needs. The purpose of this paper is to create a better understanding of how the formative use of assessment information can accelerate the teaching and learning process."

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