Learning outcomes are the measurable products of learning. Assessing these outcomes allows educators to determine if students achieved their goals and met learning objectives. The assessment of learning outcomes aids in accountability among teachers and schools as a whole. Therefore, this weighty results calls for accurate methods of assessment. Educators must develop and implement reliable means of measuring students' performances in learning.
Ways to Assess Learning Outcomes
Plan your assessments before you begin. When developing a unit or lesson, use your goals and objectives to determine what will be assessed. Make note of what kinds of assessments you'll use and how often you will implement them. Make sure your assessments cover a range of learning outcomes, not just a narrow band.
Assess frequently. Make sure you have plenty of checkpoints along the way in order to truly measure student learning. One-time assessments rarely are an accurate measure of learning. A child may know the material but have an "off" day on the day you choose to assess learning. If you assess at multiple points during a unit, you give the student a more reliable way to demonstrate what he or she knows. Frequents assessments also allow you as a teacher to monitor the progress of class as you go, which gives you insight on how you may need to adjust your pacing and instructional methods.
Vary your assessments. Your students won't all be strong in the same areas. One student may perform best on written tests, whereas another student may excel in a hands-on project. Be creative in your assessment designs. Traditional tests and worksheets are fine in moderation, but consider other alternatives. Students possibly could demonstrate their knowledge by writing a poem or song, performing a skit, sculpting an artistic design or creating a game that includes concepts recently learned.
Record assessments reliably. Make sure you have a way to enter scores in a timely and organized fashion. This may be in a grade book or on your computer. Be specific about certain elements of the assessment: date, time, description, student information and any additional significant notes concerning individual performances.
Adjust your instruction according to the outcomes you discover. If you assess frequently during the implementation of the unit, you will begin to see trends in learning outcomes. If the majority of your class is performing well and on-schedule, then you can plan to continue the track you're currently navigating. If a large number of students are producing poor results, you may need to slow down the pace of your instruction or even make sizable changes in the ways you're delivering the material. If you see that only a few students are struggling, you can design and implement interventions that target these specific few.
Charlotte Johnson is a musician, teacher and writer with a master's degree in education. She has contributed to a variety of websites, specializing in health, education, the arts, home and garden, animals and parenting.