There are advantages and disadvantages when using assessment strategies for IBL. Possible advantages and disadvantages include, but are not limited to the following:
- Pre-assessments can be used to develop essential questions and measure individual student’s prior knowledge.
- Pre-assessment provides the teacher a window into students’ understanding of content that will be explored.
- Pre-assessment results may be limited as a result of the pre-assessment strategy used and whether or not the educator assessed the class as a whole.
2. Teacher Observations/Anecdotal Records
- Observation provides students with feedback and ensures their learning meets curricular outcomes.
- Anecdotal records offer ways of recording aspects of students’ learning that may not be identified by other techniques (Saskatchewan Education, 1991, p. 69).
- Educators need to be aware of their own biases and assumptions as their judgments influence their observations and anecdotal records.
- Anecdotal records can be difficult to manage due to the documentation and commitment of time needed to observe each student.
3. Effective Questioning
- Employing effective questioning strategies introduces and increases students’ critical thinking skills (Harlen, 2000, pp. 88, 91).
- When using effective questioning an educator must have an understanding of how to ask effective questions (Harlen, 2000, pp. 91, 92).
4. Peer and Self-Assessments
- Peer and self-assessment empowers students and promotes further learning as students have the opportunity to assess their own learning and provide meaningful feedback to peers.
- Through peer and self-assessment “Students learn the expectations concerning their work in greater depth” (Saskatchewan Education, 1991, p. 59).
- Students may find peer-assessment difficult due to the competitive or individualized nature of some schools (Macdonald, 2005, p. 89).
- Students may find self-assessment difficult due to having to make judgments about their work (Macdonald, 2005, p. 90).
- The value in these types of assessments depends on students’ understandings of how to peer and self-assess and the criteria-referenced guidelines students are given.
- Using portfolios allows for student choice and encourages student reflection (Saskatchewan Education, 1991, p. 65).
- Assignments have been collected over a period of time therefore portfolios are an effective tool for measuring students’ growth.
- Portfolios demonstrate the partnership that should exist between formative and summative assessment.
- Portfolios allow students choice of the work they want to have evaluated.
- Portfolios may be time consuming as some students’ work may lack clarity therefore the educator will need to take time to conference with students.
- Using portfolios can be difficult to manage and assess if they are not well designed (Macdonald, 2005, p. 89).
- Checklists can be given to students to assist them throughout the inquiry.
- Checklists can be used for ensuring the integration of relevant vocabulary, productive group collaboration, and assessing understanding of content.
- Allows the educator and students to use the same checklist so expectations are clearly defined and understood.
- Affords the teacher the flexibility to use checklists in various contexts of the inquiry.
- If the requirements on the checklist are too vague it may affect the observations of the teacher (Saskatchewan Education, 1991, p. 73).
7. Rating Scales
- Rating scales can provide students with structure and guidance for their inquiry.
- Rating scales foster student empowerment because students have agency to choose which area of the rating scale they want to attain.
- Rating scales have the potential to limit student learning and creativity due to their constricting nature.
- Educator biases may appear throughout the rating scale if the educator does not consult with colleagues and students.
Harlen, W. (2000). Assessment in the Inquiry Classroom, 87-97. Retrieved from http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2000/nsf99148/ch_11.htm
Macdonald, R. (2005). Assessment Strategies For Enquiry and Problem-Based Learning. In T. Barrett, I. Mac Labhrainn, H. Fallon (Eds.), Handbook of Enquiry & Problem Based Learning (pp. 85-93). Retrieved from http://www.aishe.org/readings/2005-2/chapter9.pdf
Saskatchewan Education. (1991). Student Evaluation: A Teacher Handbook, 1-120. Retrieved from http://www.education.gov.sk.ca/adx/aspx/adxGetMedia.aspx?DocID=3890,88,Documents&MediaID=10895&Filename=eval1991.pdf