Assessment and Evaluation

The Role of Assessment in Learning

Assessment plays a major role in how students learn, their motivation to learn, and how teachers teach.

Assessment is used for various purposes.

  • Assessment for learning: where assessment helps teachers gain insight into what students understand in order to plan and guide instruction, and provide helpful feedback to students.
  • Assessment as learning: where students develop an awareness of how they learn and use that awareness to adjust and advance their learning, taking an increased responsibility for their learning.
  • Assessment of learning: where assessment informs students, teachers and parents, as well as the broader educational community, of achievement at a certain point in time in order to celebrate success, plan interventions and support continued progress.

Assessment must be planned with its purpose in mind. Assessment for, as and of learning all have a role to play in supporting and improving student learning, and must be appropriately balanced. The most important part of assessment is the interpretation and use of the information that is gleaned for its intended purpose.

Assessment is embedded in the learning process. It is tightly interconnected with curriculum and instruction. As teachers and students work towards the achievement of curriculum outcomes, assessment plays a constant role in informing instruction, guiding the student’s next steps, and checking progress and achievement. Teachers use many different processes and strategies for classroom assessment, and adapt them to suit the assessment purpose and needs of individual students.

Research and experience show that student learning is best supported when

  • Instruction and assessment are based on clear learning goals
  • Instruction and assessment are differentiated according to student learning needs
  • Students are involved in the learning process (they understand the learning goal and the criteria for quality work, receive and use descriptive feedback, and take steps to adjust their performance)
  • Assessment information is used to make decisions that support further learning
  • Parents are well informed about their child’s learning, and work with the school to help plan and provide support
  • Students, families, and the general public have confidence in the system

The Department believes that the primary role of assessment is to enhance teaching and improve student learning and supports this through the Provincial Assessment Initiative and the Provincial Assessment Program.