December 02, 2019

How can assessment encourage & motivate learners to succeed, academically & socially? – M Tejpar

How can assessment encourage and motivate learners to succeed, academically and socially? - Munira Tejpar

Assessment is broadly defined as activities that teachers and students undertake to get information that can be used analytically to alter teaching and learning (Black and Williams, 1998).

The two main forms of assessment used are summative and formative. Summative assessment (assessment of learning) aims to record learning that has taken place and formative assessment (assessment for learning) aims to identify aspects of learning as it is developing in order to find ways to deepen this learning. Assessment has a huge impact on student learning, achievement and motivation. Learners need to be clear about what they are aiming to learn as well as how to evaluate their learning for future learning to happen. Parents also need to be involved as being aware of the journey their child is taking helps to create a strong and positive home school partnership which in turn intrinsically motivates students to do better.

Innovation in education today strives to create “life long learners” equipped with skills and knowledge to lead their own journeys in the real world. However, innovations in pedagogy are unlikely to be successful if they are not accompanied by related innovation in assessment (Cizek,1997). These assessments are referred to as performance based assessments and can be oral presentations, essays, projects, experiments, collaborative tasks and portfolios/videos. In order for assessment to be meaningful, it needs to be ongoing and authentic. Teachers need to be able to identify what learners already know in order to respond to the learning needs of individual students. Feedback plays an important role in assessing learners and is directly connected to their academic success. To have the greatest impact, feedback needs to provide information not only on how the learner has done, but also the specific steps needed to progress further. It needs to be timely, detailed and specific (Hattie and Timperely, 2007).

In my early years classroom, the environment that I create is fluid and safe and I develop relationships with my learners based on trust, mutual respect and love. We understand that we are all diverse and we learn differently as we understand that making mistakes is the most powerful way of learning; based on Hattie and Timperely's (2007) research on feedback. This is the key for emotional and social success which then leads to academic success. I regularly check in with my students during a learning engagement and assess their learning with them as well as set goals. Reflection is a big part of our day and this is something we do at the end of every learning engagement so that students can share their new learning or their misconceptions.

It is our role to define what our students need to know and provide the environment they need to successfully learn and meet their learning targets in order for them to believe in their potential for success. We need to create meaningful assessment systems that provide valuable information to pinpoint gaps in learning and guide learners through next steps they need to take to eliminate the gaps. We need to involve our students in the assessment process and watch as they gain a sense of ownership and commitment to learning. Soon they become more focused, motivated and achievement oriented.


Black, P. & Wiliam, D., 2010. Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 92(1), pp.81–90.

Hattie, J. and Timperley, H., 2007. The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), pp.81?112.

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