Senior 2 English Language Arts: A Foundation for Implementation

Implementation Overview: Senior 2
Classroom Assessment - Part 1

Classroom assessment is an integral part of English language arts instruction. Assessment is the "systematic process of gathering information about what a student knows, is able to do, and is learning to do" (Manitoba Education and Training and Training, Reporting on Student Progress and Achievement, 1997, 5). The primary purpose of classroom assessment is not to evaluate and classify student performance, but to inform teaching and improve learning, and to monitor student progress in achieving year-end learning outcomes.

Classroom assessment is broadly defined as any activity or experience that provides information about student learning. Teachers learn about student progress not only through formal tests, examinations, and projects, but also through moment-by-moment observation of students in action. They often conduct assessment through instructional activities.

Much of students’ learning is internal. To assess students’ language arts knowledge, skills and strategies, and attitudes, teachers require a variety of tools and approaches. They ask questions, observe students engaged in a variety of learning activities and processes, and examine student work in progress. They also engage students in peer-assessment and self-assessment activities. The information that teachers and students gain from assessment activities informs and shapes what happens in the classroom; assessment always implies that some action follows.

The diagram found on p. Assessment – 3 of the Senior 2 English Language Arts: A Foundation for Implementation (1998) portrays a cycle of planning, teaching, and assessing that many teachers have found useful.

Planning for Assessment

Since assessment is an integral part of instruction, teachers do not plan it at the end of a unit of study. They select assessment purposes, approaches, and tools in conjunction with choosing instructional strategies.

In developing assessment tasks and methods, teachers determine

  • what they are assessing
  • why they are assessing
  • how the assessment information will be used
  • who will receive the assessment information
  • what assessment activities or tasks will allow students to demonstrate their learning in authentic ways

As shown in the chart found on p. Assessment – 4 of the Senior 2 English Language Arts: A Foundation for Implementation (1998), teachers assess for a variety of purposes and audiences.


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