How Students Are Progressing Through Learning

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In education, an understanding of how students are progressing through learning is needed in order to gauge the effectiveness of instruction. Students’ progression in knowledge acquisition is the ultimate goal of education and therefore the role of being able to measure that progression is an essential tool in teachers’ professional development of their instruction. The ability to measure student learning blossomed during the Social Management movement of the Progressive Era in education. Schools were seen as requiring the same efficiency as factories in industry of the early 20th Century. For this reason, tools for measuring school efficiency unfolded in the way of testing. Today, assessing student learning has an integral place in…show more content…
Educators and researchers are able to more easily distinguish patterns and direct correlations when viewing quantitative data, such as that on a test. For instance, a test given on Newton’s Laws in physics can show the passing percentages of student responses for any given item as well as for the test as a whole providing a snapshot of how many students have properly learned and understood the material that has been presented. A teacher can use this data to understand the statistical analysis of learning between specific testing items, different students, classes, as well as from year-to-year. However, quantitative assessments lack depth of understanding within the context of learning, therefore more qualitative approaches to assessing and measuring student learning are needed as well. Qualitative assessments, where an in-depth narrative is developed to help explain the context of the associated learning, can be achieved through project-oriented assessment, observations, and discussions with students, to name a few. Given the types of ways to assess, quantitatively and qualitatively, teachers must then understand what exactly they are trying to measure. Wiggins and McTighe’s (2005) approach to instructional design, Understanding by Design (UbD), stresses the value of assessing student learning so that it mirrors and accurately reflects the levels of learning that are occurring in the classroom. They include three major areas of
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