AFTER: How is evaluation different to assessment?


Evaluation is often confused with assessment. Some people use these two words interchangeably when they talk about assessing learners. For our purposes, evaluation means something different to assessment. Let’s have a look at the differences.

Assessment asks questions like this:

  • Have my learners improved?
  • What gains did they make?
  • Did Damon pass the test?
  • Does Janet meet the standard or level required to move forward with her training?

By contrast, evaluation asks questions like this:

  • Was this effective?
  • What difference did this make?
  • How relevant was my teaching?
  • What impact did I have?

Evaluation Is backwards looking in the sense that you are reviewing what occurred during your teaching, perhaps over the whole programme or some length of time.

But it’s also forwards looking in that your purpose should be to learn from successes and failures to improve your programme performance.

In a nutshell, evaluation applies the lessons of experience to decisions about current and future programmes.

As much as possible, your evaluation processes need to be:

  • Systematic
  • Objective
  • Reflective
  • Critical

You may already have evaluation processes in place. Different organisations do different things. You may have a very detailed student evaluation process that is managed by someone else within your organisation. Or it might be up to you to gather any evaluation data that you want.

Also, evaluation means involving others. In this programme, you need to conduct evaluation collaboratively with learners and your supervisor, but for different purposes.

This means that when you come to write up the final part of Assessment 7 you will have three kinds of evaluation data. You’ll have some evaluation data from your learners about how effective they thought your teaching was, some comments from your boss or supervisor from their perspective, as well as your own reflections.

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