Classroom Assessment Techniques are decisive methods of evaluation that are useful in two major areas. The level of which the student has understood the content of the course can be assessed and provides information regarding your teaching methods efficiency. It's an approach which bases on the fact that the planning of learning activities and structuring of teaching is better when one knows the how and what the student is learning. It's also a simple technique which is anonymous and non-graded activities of in-class that provided useful feedback to the teacher and the students on the learning and teaching process. The difference of Classroom Assessment to other methods of assessing the students is that its objective is to improve the course and not grade assignment. It's primarily aimed at understanding of the learning process of the student and improvement of the teaching approaches (Angelo, & Cross, 1995, p.257).
The concerns regarding effective teaching and better learning are addressed directly by Classroom Assessments and other Classroom research methods. Classroom Assessment is a major component of classroom research which was developed purposefully to ensure college instructor are more sensitive and systematic observers to the learning process in the daily classroom activities. The student's learning is continuously monitored by the student and teachers. The measure of the progress of learning is provided to the student while feedback is provided to the faculty regarding their effectiveness as teachers. The is high likelihood that the teachers will apply the assessment result to their own teaching because they are the ones that develop, administer and analyze the Classroom Assessment on issues regarding learning and teaching which are of importance to them. The teacher can be learn a lot about the response of the students to different teaching approaches through observation of the students closely in the learning process, frequently collecting feedback and modest classroom experiments design. Too often there is assumption by the college instructors that the student learning process was effective only to be disappointed when grading the term papers and tests. Usually they haven't leant much of what was expected and by the time the faculty notices this, it is too late to deal with the problem.
The teaching and learning processes are improved by CATS in several ways for both the faculty and the students. For faculty: The student misconception or poor understanding to be addressed in a timely manner; feedback is provided can be provided on daily basis hence applied immediately; while not using amount required for test and reading papers preparations, useful information can be made available and healthy working relationships to be fostered with the students while encouraging them to know that full participation is required because learning and teaching are continuous process. For students: learning management and self-assessments skills can be developed; in large classes the feeling of isolation is reduced; the ability to critically think about the course content and the proper understanding is increased and long-term retention and understanding attitudes are fostered.
There are several evaluations that CATS are intended to perform. The first one is skills and knowledge that are course related consisting of knowledge understanding and recall; creative thinking and synthesis skills; critical and analysis skills; problem solving; performance and application skills. The second one is student attitudes, self-awareness and values consisting of the student being aware of learning process; attitudes and value and awareness of study skill. The third one is reactions towards the methods of instruction consisting of reactions of student and peers to class activities; teachers and teachings; materials and assignments.
Self-paced vs. structured instruction
The structured instruction is whereby the course pace is already predetermined and the individual is expected to reach specific points of the course at specific times. In structured instruction, information which has been organized into manageable pieces is systematically taught sequentially in stages so that mastery of is attained at each level. This is characterized by learning targets which are very specific. The course objective is clarified by the instructor though telling the student the importance of the contents. The student gains are also relatively easy to be measured. The self paced instruction is the learning program which the individual directs so as his learning objectives are met. The learning pace is controlled by the individual so that if it is a computer base course which is self paced, two individuals starting at the same time may not necessarily finish at the same time (Bosner, Daugherty, & Palmer, 1998, 13).
The problem with structured instruction programs is that the information is presented to the average or the typical learner by the trainer. This approach may be overwhelming to the less capable learner while boring or frustrating to the learners who are more capable. In the self paced instruction approach the trainer acts as either a facilitator or guide of learning while the student is allowed to decide where, when and how fast he learns. This allows the skill and information required by the leaner to be pursued at his volition. The structured instruction makes the learner to depend mostly on the pace and structure set by the trainer and this is not the case for the self paced instruction. The learner can also be highly motivated by assuming control of the learning pace though this brings controversy because if the motivation is not sustained then the take too long or fail to meet the set objectives unlike the structured approach. In the self pace instruction process of learning there is equal participation levels and the participants are not passive but active and greater learning responsibility is assumed by the learner. The drawback or structured instruction system is that it doesn't usually have the flexibility of the student starting and ending the course segment at whatever time. However other challenges to the self paced instruction system include the lack of familiarity to this system because most individuals are used to the structured system of learning. Poor management skills which might lead to the procrastinations of learning and the structured learning process are useful in overcoming this (Kern, & Matta, 1988, p.106).
Self paced is more flexible than the structured instruction because the student is allowed to register for a fixed module of which he is comfortable of finishing within a specified time frame. A case of self pace program was initiated in parallel to the traditional Russian elementary course where the students registered for a variable content which could be changed from a five credits maximum downwards dependent on the pace of the student. The self paced instruction saw increased enrollment from students who defected from the traditional program because they were not able to synchronize with the pace of the traditional system. If the self paced instruction program had not existed, then the level of drop out would have increased. The enrollment ratio for the self paced program to the traditional instruction program was 16:38 to 31:25. Again the self paced instruction program had increased the enrollment at a lower the cost compared to the traditional instructional program.
The self instruction program has other advantages over the traditional instruction system. For the student there is the flexibility of beginning the study program at whatever time of the academic year and therefore the opportunity in most institutions to transfer from the traditional program to the self paced program at anytime in case of inability to lockstep. However the self paced instruction has its limitations which the structured instruction system overcomes. These include the lack of the ability of the student to push themselves hard enough and accomplish sufficient content. The major problem is because of student's procrastinations, motivation sustenance inability and the lack of sufficient self-discipline.
The control of availability of content is permitted by adaptive release through use of various denying criteria so that the access to the resources like lecture materials, discussion board and quizzes is controlled. Therefore the teaching staff have the ability to ensure a learning path that is flexible for the groups or individual and the resources availability are structured depending on the purpose for instance the material is accessed by the student in a specific order in task completion. There are several adaptive release criteria which can be implemented either in combination or individually and these include the specific user, time or date, group membership, quiz grade, quiz or survey attempt and another item review. The developers and instructors may use this adaptive release feature. Sophisticated combinations for the items release rules can be created by use of the advanced functionality by the developers and course instructors.
Alexander, B. (2006). Web 2.0: A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning? Educause
Review, 41(2), 32-44. Retrieved March 29th 2010 from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erm0621.pdf
Angelo, T.A., & Cross, K.P. (1995). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Bartram, D. (2007). Guidelines and standards for computer-based testing. Retrieved March, 30th,