Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment
Course no & title: EER-582: Assessment and Evaluation Technique in Education
Department of Educational Evaluation and Research
Mr. Farhan Azim
Institute of Education and Research,
University of Dhaka
The term ‘Black box’ originally refers to a flight recorder on an aircraft, it records the many different operating functions of a plane, e.g. time, altitude, airspeed and direction the plane is heading. The term used here in this article shares a similar meaning referring to the classroom as a black box. The scenario is more or less the same in most of the countries, inputs from outside such as; pupils, teachers, other resources, management rules and requirements, parental anxieties and so on are just fed into the box, but what goes missing is the fact that nobody cares what’s going on inside it. A class can put a teacher in an unusual situation any day as unpredictable as it is, no outside factors will help if the teacher himself is not comfortable dealing with it. And to cope up with that, the best solution for the teacher would be to develop himself to be able to identify every nook of the classroom, every movement of a student. That will make the teacher an efficient one, one who knows what the students are learning, one who is aware of how their students learn so that they can adapt their work to their needs, and one who identifies students with difficulties and works better towards solving it.
Formative assessment is one factor that proves to be very important for teachers to receive feedback on students’ performance. Now, the prime question is what actually formative assessment is and is it being properly applied in general classrooms as a performance raising component? In the article Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment, a few studies done on how formative assessment increases classroom achievement were discussed, though not much information about these studies were shared, but the discussion successfully shed light on some issues.
This assignment is an attempt to address those issues and discuss all those in the context of Bangladesh.
What is Assessment?
Assessment is the process of gathering, recording, interpreting, using and communicating information about a child’s progress and achievement during the development of knowledge, concepts, skills and attitudes.
The central purpose of assessment is to provide information on student achievement and progress and set the direction for ongoing teaching and learning.
What is Formative Assessment?
Formative assessment should occur regularly throughout the instructional process. According to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing (NCFOT) (1999), it occurs when teachers feed information back to the students in ways that enable the student to learn better, or when students can engage in a similar, self-reflective process.
In its purist form, formative tests are not merely grading students’ performance, rather are used as an ongoing diagnostic tool; hence, the instructor employs the results of formative assessment solely to modify and adjust his or her teaching practices to reflect the needs and progress of his or her students.
Educational researcher Robert Stake explains the difference between formative and summative assessment with the following analogy:
When the cook tastes the soup, that's formative, when the guests taste the soup, that's summative.
‘Assessment for Learning’ In Bangladesh
Formative assessment is a familiar term but more of an unusual concept in a third world country like Bangladesh. The idea encompasses merely the concept of some class tests scheduled by the school authority. And consequentially, whatever good formative assessments do to a classroom of a developed...
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