WHAT EVIDENCE SHOULD BE PROVIDED THAT LEARNERS HAVE MASTERED CONTENT?
The most appropriate content-based assessment method of knowing whether students have mastered content learnt is by using formative assessment. This kind of assessment supports learning during the learning process rather than summative assessments that are carried out periodically such as end-unit exams or quarterlies. Formative assessments should not be graded as they are considered as part of learning just as homework assignments because they serve as practice for students and check understanding of instructions and mastery of content during the learning process (Corwin, 2007, p. 124).
A number of formative assessment are used such as individual, partner, small group and the whole class all of which should remain ungraded and instead focus should be on identifying problems and misconceptions of students both individually and collectively. A feedback is necessary from the teacher with a brief comment or a verbal explanation to guide the students and correct any misconception. When students work in groups before working by themselves, they master content easily. This is true because they learn to think outside the box after brainstorming within the group, besides picking up other useful skills such as teamwork and collaboration.
Types of assessment strategies that act as evidence of student mastery in content learnt include: use of graphic organizers where students will use tables and charts to show relationships, make connections and organize information (Wortham, 2011, p. 78). The use of summaries and reflections that students note down what they have personally learnt using content-specific language while increasing their metacognitive skills. Engaging in collaborative activities where students demonstrate and develop their understanding of concepts through discussions and debates. The use of exit cards which students hand over at the end of a session having answered a question, solved a problem or summarized their understanding of a topic learnt. By writing an essay on the topic learnt based on a student’s own understanding. All these give the student a chance to modify and improve because they encourage the student to gain more knowledge.
Content-based assessment is known to be very time consuming because it involves ensuring that the students have properly understood and mastered a given topic before moving on to the next one. It may result in the syllabus not being finished at all and may affect the overall performance of the students if not properly managed.
Drake, S. (2007). Creating Standards-Based Integrated Curriculum: Aligning Curriculum,
Content, Assessment, and Instruction. Kentucky: Corwin Press
Wortham, S. C. (2011). Assessment in Early Childhood Education, 6th Ed. New Jersey: Prentice