Academic assessment encompasses a variety of forms and levels of intensity. An immense amount of importance has been placed on state and national standardized testing to provide an evaluation of student skills and growth (ACE, 2019). The relevance and meaning behind assessments and the data they provide differ with each increasing capacity level. For instance, a classroom assessment is student specific whereas district assessments are community specific. State assessments give data reflective of a region whereas national assessments are based on data gathered from a population. Assessment data becomes less significant and more generalized as it moves through this tiered system of evaluation (ACE, 2019).
There are many relevant purposes for assessment such as evaluating instruction, examining academic growth, and assisting in learning. A balanced assessment system is aimed at gathering data from multiple sources designed to address various aspects of the learning and instructional environment (Pellegrino, 2014). Assessments must be created by academic stakeholders with knowledge of student behaviors, target learning goals, and levels of achievement. Maintaining a pulse on the educational climate and culture of the learning environment will produce meaningful assessments with relevant data to guide future instruction.
It is common for educators and students to fail to differentiate between goals and objectives and the value the each represents in the scheme of learning and academic outcomes. However, goals are intended to provide a clear, pre-determined purpose where the outcome is known. On the other hand, objectives are processes and mechanisms by which the goal can be achieved and the outcome facilitated (Bialek & Peterson, 2017). Learning goals are channeled by learning outcomes. When considering goals, general statements should be replaced with specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (SMART) motives. When outcomes are known and include the 'what' and 'why' of the initial learning goal, achievement is more attainable (Michou et al, 2014).
Implementation of tiered model of academic achievement that begins with specific goals and is leveraged by actionable objectives will lead to positive outcomes (Bialek & Peterson, 2017). Within this process of learning and development, it is most important for students to understand goals, which represent the purpose. Students often confuse goals with generalizations about effort or behavior. However, when presented with the task of developing SMART goals and subsequently aligned objectives, the outcomes prove to be more significant and the motivation and momentum for achievement builds (Bialek & Peterson).
American College of Education. (2019). The function of assessment: Balanced assessment. Retrieved from file:///Users/devan/Downloads/ci6123-m1p2-script.pdf.
Bialek, T. K., Peterson, S.L. (2017). The nature of peer coaching: definitions, goals, processes, and outcomes. European Journal of Training and Development, 41(6), 540-558.
Michou, A., Vanstennkiste, M., Mouratidis, A., Lens, W. (2014) Enriching the hierarchical model of achievement motivation: Autonomous and controlling reasons underlying achievement goals. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 84, 650-666.
Pellegrino, J. W. (2014). Assessment as a positive influence on 21st-century teaching and learning: A systems approach to progress. Psicología Educativa, 20(2), 65–77. doi:0.1016/j.pse.2014.11.002