The Connection Between Assessments and Grading

Girl-writing-on-board-in--007Assessments provide teachers with the opportunity to not only evaluate, but improve student learning. Using data, such as grades, as feedback, teachers are able to examine student performance and make any necessary changes to their lesson; grades, however, are not the only measure that teachers use to reflect on the effectiveness of their lessons.  Through observing, engaging, and guiding students through formative assessment activities, teachers are able to evaluate student learning. Using what they have learned from this process, they are able to better accommodate the learning needs of their students and change their lesson if necessary. Still, teachers are less inclined to evaluate student learning through formative assessments due to the nature of these types of assessments (i.e. their focus on the process of learning). Summative assessments, on the other hand, focus on the product of learning. While the method may vary slightly, the nature of summative assessments corresponds directly with grading. This does not imply that formative assessments cannot be graded, but it does suggest that formative assessments may need a different type of grading from that used to evaluate student performance on summative assessments. In a time when formative assessments have become widely discussed, it seems imperative now more than ever to create a grading system that is process-based and not product-based.



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