Assessment seemed so simple when I first began this journey in education. It didn’t seem at all complicated; teachers mark assignments, test, projects, reports, etc. either right, wrong or with the comment “could you expand on this please”. This, of course, was based on what my schooling was like way back in the eighties and nineties. Since delving into the subject, I have begun the process of analyzing how my teachers assessed my work and how teachers today are doing it. Education has made a dramatic change from being subject centred only, to student oriented. This has change their views on assessment as well. If the process by which teaching students has changed, then the assessment must be re-evaluated, as well, in order to ensure the goals, objectives and standards are being met. This brings up the issue of affective assessment. What does it truly mean? For me, affective assessment is the ability for a teacher to take the material being taught, developing a unit plan, subsequently the lesson plans, and developing a scheme or a strategy that encompasses material that is being taught, the academic level of students in the class and creating an assessment strategy that
1) encourages students to want to learn or strive for understanding,
2) develops, in students, the self-discipline required to work successfully,
3) ensures the material being taught is assess effectively for understanding, completeness or comprehension,
4) is an effective means by which to assess a given objective, and
5) nurtures a desire for the student to continue in their process of learning either in the subject at hand or in other areas of their academic or personal life.
As mentioned above, this strategy is a package deal. It is impossible for teachers to separate learning and assessment. This is the partial answer to the question; how is affective assessment related to teaching and learning? In order for assessment to be relevant and reliable, it must be based on the material being covered, the students and their needs and what is considered to be success in mastery of the subject material and skills. How we assess these successes is part of planning the process by which we teach. Since students learn in many different ways, it can be expected they can be successful in testing based on their learning styles. An example of this would be of a student who learns effectively by manipulating and working “hands on”. A written exam, testing how that student would repeat the process may not be affective in actually assessing their comprehension. A better way may be to have to student repeat the actions, in a hands on test. Developing separate assessment strategies for all the students in the class for a given project would not be a very wise choice. Teachers today find their time is limited as it is. Creating 26 assessments for 26 students would require a lot of time and energy. Instead, I would recommend adjusting how you assess students based on the projects they are doing and using many forms of assessment throughout the semester. If assessment is done all the time using only one form, students may not gain the valuable information they need in order to improve in their work.
Business education seems to be a subject that has been based on write or wrong answers. Through my learning process of assessment and the understanding of affective assessment, I have realized the potential that is available for students to gain the cross-curricular support. Assessment does not have to be based only on right or wrong. Nurturing a students English skills through response journals, letter preparation, case studies and group work can develop some of the necessary skills required to work in a business environment today. As the students are investigating business issues, they are developing a greater sense of social comprehension and global awareness. These are only two examples of how the horizontal curriculum can be addressed. With cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains needing to be met, collaboration with colleauges who teach your students in other subjects can help to ensure your teaching strategies are affective in encouraging students learning process in other areas.
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