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Overall, assessments are used either as a Programmatic Assessment or as a Learning Assessment. One of the most familiar learning assessments is the multiple choice assessment that reflects the typical pen and paper traditional classroom test (Popham, 2006). However, these tests are not very easy to construct to ensure validity due to unclear directions, ambiguous statements, unintended clues, complicated syntax and difficult vocabulary (Popham, 2006). Other learning assessments with construct validity, such as the essay and the reflective journal, tend to focus on student-centered pedagogy. These assessments are ideal for assessing the learning outcomes of the individual and increase the student’s personal responsibility for their own learning. This reading document provides a brief summary of assessment tools that are available for both programmatic and learning.
Programmatic and Learning Assessments
Lisa MacLeod – 27 August 2014
Overall, assessments are used either as a Programmatic
Assessment or as a Learning Assessment. One of the most familiar
learning assessments is the multiple choice assessment that reflects
the typical pen and paper traditional classroom test (Popham, 2006).
However, these tests are not very easy to construct to ensure validity
due to unclear directions, ambiguous statements, unintended clues,
complicated syntax and difficult vocabulary (Popham, 2006). Other
learning assessments that are constructive in manner such as the
essay and the reflective journal and tend to focus on the students-centered
pedagogy that increases the student’s personal responsibility
for their own learning.
Students practice critical thinking, problem solving and self-awareness
that are all considered as survival skills in today’s global
community (Wagner, 2010). In addition, the activities around such
activities can also be incorporated into the assessment scheme to
demonstrate the process of the student’s learning (Ballantyne and
Packer, 1995). The only negative aspect of these assessments is the
amount of allocated time that is required to complete the tasks and the
amount of correcting is very time consuming for the teacher (Popham,
Regarding the Programmatic Assessments, although there are
many alternatives to assess programs, the most common non-preferred
instrument is the standardized test. According to Leathwood (
2005), “Assessment is used to provide a rationale and legitimacy for
the social structures and power relations of modern day societies, and
for one’s place within these.” (Leathwood, 205, p.307). Unfortunately,
this tends to be very common among educators. Due to the number of
standardized assessments that are required today, educators need to
take a step back and focus on the learning and the development of the
whole student. A tool that addresses such are the Attitude Surveys: an
instrument that determines the attitudes, interests and the values of
students and to encourage the development of the individual through
the instructed curriculum.
(multiple choice, true/false, short answer)
• Traditional style of pen and paper
assessment ensures a sense of
confidence with the students as
presenting an either or answer
• Provides the student to select the
correct response rather than
• These assessments are the most
widely used selected-response type of
item, and are applicable to a number
of different testing situations.
• They are very difficult to write –often
there are unclear directions,
ambiguous statements, unintended
clues, complicated syntax and difficult
vocabulary (Popham, 2006).
• They Do not test student ability to
develop and organize; ideas. and
present in a coherent argument .
These tests can be used to assess recall of factual knowledge, a variety
of intellectual skills, or significant attitudinal dispositions. These tests
are both used as programmatic and learning outcome assessments.
• Promotes the development of effective
written communication skills, critical
thinking and academic development.
• Effective in assessing the broader
kinds of subject matter.
• Most common type of construct-response.
• Assessment is subjective.
• A detail criteria needs to be set and
outlined to the students prior to the test
• Crafty students can write a lot but may
be way off topic.
• The amount of time required to take
the test is extensive.
• Correcting the responses is very time
consuming (Butler and McMunn,
Is used as a learning tool for students to demonstrate knowledge in a
constructive manner while emphasizing on the organization skills,
planning skills, use of vocabulary and being able to express through
written communication. This tool is for both programmatic and learning.
• Provides a benchmark and sets the
• Easy to grade and construct; Student
answer choices limited.
• Only provide a snap shot of the
• Difficult to report the scores to the
families and to the public.
• Standardized tests are bias
These are large-scale tests that are used to collect information about
student learning and are administered in the same way across many
classrooms so that the data can be used for making comparisons. This is
for both programmatic and learning.
• The goals based evaluation can
determine how the predetermined
goals are being met of a program.
• Allows the learner and instructor to
mold their respective efforts based on
• An evaluation confirms whether or not
a goal has been attained.
• The data is not able to predict long
• Do not list specific objectives based on
A Goals Based Evaluation is “any type of evaluation based on and
knowledge of—and referenced to—the goals and objectives of the
program, person, or product, (Scriven, 1991, p. 178).” This assessment is
for both learning and programmatic.
• The learner’s take more responsibility
of their own learning and reflect on
• Promotes lifelong learning and
learning to learn.
• Focuses on student attitudes, interests
• Very subjective
• Students tend to be more critical with
personal performance that the teacher.
• One dimensional assessment with one
point of view.
The teacher encourages students to come up with personal appraisals of
their own work. The students reflect and can compare their work with
earlier work. This assessment is for learning.
• Student schema is activated.
• Real life experiences are related to the
• Continual assessment of the
individual’s learning is being reflected
• Difficult to assess.
• Grading scheme needs to be clearly
defined in a rubric.
• Not all students bring to class the
same background knowledge which
makes it difficult to incorporate
everyone as part of modifications to
the curriculum if any.
Student incorporate their schemata to draw and outline a mind map of
what they know prior to learning and continuously are adding to their
mind map as they go through the class. This assessment too is for both
learning and programmatic.
• There is not one snap shot of the
student’s learning but a series that
determine what and how the students
• Provides order and accuracy to the
• This type of evaluation does not and
cannot compare with outcomes of
other programs to ensure goals are
being met in the program that is being
• May contain inaccurate data not based
This is a process of stringing along assessments or evaluations the
determine the students’ learning. This assessment is programmatic and
• Students search out evidence and
• Students reflect on it, reflect on it
• Students draw conclusions based on
• Students evaluate in order to make a
pronouncement about value, Students
provide constructive comment about
each other's work.
• Students make changes to improve
student learning (Ballantyne and
• Very subjective
• Difficult to assess
• Length of time to assess is extensive.
Students are encouraged to write freely as a process of learning that
helps them reflect of what they are experiencing in the classroom. This
assessment is for learning outcomes.
• Promotes positive attitudes towards
• Promotes a positive attitude towards
• Promotes positive attitude towards self
as a learner.
• There are numerous other subject-specific
kinds of attitudes that teacher
• These can be very complex and not
• Very subjective
To determine the attitudes, interests and the values of students and to
encourage the development of the individual through the instructed
curriculum (Popham, 2006). This assessment is for learning outcomes.
Ballantyne, R & Packer, J; (1995). Making Connections: Using Student Journals as a
Teaching/Learning Aid. HERDSA ACT. Retrieved
Butler, S. M., & McMunn, N. D. (2006). A teacher’s guide to classroom assessment:
Understanding and using assessment to improve student learning. San
Leathwood, C. (2005). Assessment policy and practice in higher education: purpose,
standards and equity. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 30(3),
307-324. Retrieved March 10, 2011 from EBSCOhost database.
Phillips, Fred (2009, November 6). Philosophies of Evaluation. SciTopics. Retrieved
March 14, 2011, from
Popham, W. J. (2006). Assessment for Educational Leaders. Boston: Pearson/Allyn and
Scriven, M. (1991). Evaluation Thesaurus (4th ed,). New York: Sage
Wagner, T. (2010). The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don't
Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need and What We Can Do About
It. Basic Books, New York.