An Educational Crisis: The Need for Informal Assessment Essay

1605 Words 7 Pages
Students are falling through the cracks, being left behind, and are not being educated properly; these are statements we hear every day about our educational system. Attempts have been made to reform and overhaul the educational crisis. However, few have been successful. High expectations are being placed on students to perform well on standardized tests so “no child is left behind” and schools are not labeled as “failures.” This strict discipline of teaching to the test is only harming the quality of education students are receiving. Informal assessment needs to become the primary focus of evaluation rather than formal assessment.
Formal assessment tends to narrow a teacher’s instruction often swaying the teacher to focus primarily
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Informal assessment allows students to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways which can benefit all students. It can include group or individual projects, presentations, essays, experiments, or demonstrations. Each of these can allow for “knowledge that transfers from one situation to another [which] is based on students’ abilities to understand central principles, see connections and make distinctions, and be strategic in attacking problems and analyzing information” (Darling-Hammond, p. 285). A variety of assessment methods allow for this to happen and for students to use their personal strengths to demonstrate understanding of the information. “Research into students’ preferences for alternative assessments shows that the assessments that have been positively evaluated by students were more authentic and thus made learning more realistic and powerful” (as cited in Brown, Irving, Peterson, and Hirschfeld, 2009, p. 99). Students should be able to think creatively and take hold of their own education and learning because they must ideally be prepared for a rapidly changing society where they must be able to adapt and formulate their own solutions. Teachers are able to provide feedback to the children so they know what was done effectively and what needs to be modified. Rather than teachers pressuring students to show understanding through a single examination, they will have opportunities to confidently demonstrate knowledge with less…

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