H. MacDonell

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Resource sheet 5A

Scenario: Assume you want your students to master some specific subject matter knowledge because it represents an important foundation for later work.  To reach this goal, you plan a series of instructional activities to help students master this required material. Now you want to assess to be sure they've got it.  In this particular case, you want them to know the material outright, not through the use of reference materials

Question #1:  Could you assess mastery of this material using selected response modes of assessment, such as multiple choice, true-false, or matching exercises?  Yes or No.  Please briefly explain your response.

Answer:  Yes selected response would be an appropriate task for assessing learning of specific subject matter knowledge, especially if we want the students to show mastery of the content.  For example if I want students to be able to write a critical response to a chosen poem or song, they would need to some of the critical vocabulary before they could begin this work.  In order to ensure that students have acquired this vocabulary I could give a simple matching test wherein the students match a particular poetry term to an example of that device in existing poems.

Question #2:  Could you assess mastery of this material using an essay form of assessment?  Why or why not?  Please write a brief defense.

Answer: Yes an in-class writing assignment or essay answer would show mastery of the given content; however, for the example given above this would be more demanding than necessary, especially since many students struggle with expressing ideas in this form.  They could become distracted trying to meet the formal demands of paragraphing and lose sight of the content.

Question #3: If you wanted to assess students' mastery of content knowledge as specified above, could you use a performance assessment.  Yes of No.  Defend your answer.

Answer:  No, I would not use performance assessment in this case because it is far more work than is necessary at this point.  We are attempting to determine content knowledge and for this purpose we should keep the assessment method as simple as possible.

Question #4:  Do you think the personal communication form of assessment--for example by oral exam, interview, conference, or discussion could provide you with a viable assessment of your students' mastery of this content knowledge.  Why or why not?

Answer:  Yes, an oral exam would work in this case, but once again it would not be the most efficient of assessment methods, especially in most classroom situations.  In order to determine whether each student had attained the required information one would have to schedule individual interviews.  For most teachers this is completely unfeasible.


Resource Sheet #5B

Scenario: Although assessing reasoning proficiency is next on our list, let's hold on to that for just a bit and center next on skills outcomes.  This will permit us to return to reasoning targets from a more informed perspective in Scenario #3.

In this scenario, assume that you teach French and wish to assess your students' skill at communicating in that language in a conversational situation.  So the skill of oral language proficiency is your target.

Question #1:  Can you assess oral language proficiency in  a conversational context using the selected response mode of assessment.  Why or why not?  Defend your answer.

Answer:  No, selected response will not work in this instance because we are assessing oral language proficiency.

Question #2:  Can you assess these skills using an essay form of assessment?  Yes or No. Why>

Answer: No, as above written forms of assessment will not work for this kind of knowledge: it has to be oral to be relevant or useful.

Question #3:  Will performance assessment work as a basis for assessing the foreign language speaking proficiency of your students?  Why?

Answer:  Yes, performance assessment would work well for this learning outcome. For example we could assign the students to role play a conversation and provide a rubric for the assignment that would set the target so that the students understand how they are being evaluated.

Question #4:  Can you use personal communication as a basis for assessing conversational skill in a second language?  Defend your response>

Answer:  Yes personal communication would an obvious assessment method to use in this case.  The teacher could simply have a class discussion  based around the given conversational topic. 





Standard 1