An assessment is, as defined by Merriam-Webster, a formal evaluation or estimation of the nature, quality, or ability of someone or something. Some assessments are conducted by competent individuals trained specifically in the field such as medical assessments by physicians, psychological assessments by psychometricians and psychologists, and training needs assessments by trainers. There too are instances when assessments are conducted by the everyday man in an everyday setting such as when someone examines an item before purchasing it.
There are many types of formal assessments that we have either gone through or will have to go through. For more information on the kinds of assessments there are, see our Sample Assessments.
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Types of Assessment
An assessment is conducted in almost every field and does not necessarily always measure a person. Sometimes, it is used in measuring a situation, circumstance, or a probability. An IT Risk Assessment, for example, is conducted to review the possible threats that an organization would be facing, man-made or otherwise as opposed to a post-test exam given by a teacher, which measures the learning of students during their class.
There are a number of different kinds of assessments such as the following:
Diagnostic Assessments are conducted to serve as a sort of baseline to work from. It determines the strengths and weaknesses of the assessed and shows the assessor what needs to be worked on.
Formative Assessments are a type of assessment where feedback is relatively immediate. This is used to determine if a change in procedure is necessary.
Summative Assessments are conducted after all work is done. This helps determine what went right and what didn’t during the instruction or procedure.
Norm-Referenced Assessments are tests where the results are compared to each other. This could be considered a group assessment.
Criterion-Referenced Assessments are tests where the results are compared against a standard. This helps the assessor determine whether learning is sufficient.
Interim Assessments take place throughout a large period of time. While feedback is still relatively quick, it is not immediate. This helps find issues in learning or function so these are addressed before moving on.
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Conducting an Assessment
Conducting assessments help determine whether one is making progress, depreciating in value, or staying stagnant. To conduct proper assessments, see these tips:
- Test a variety of skills. Aside from testing their knowledge, it is equally, perhaps even more, that they could apply into practical use the theories they’ve learned.
- Focus on skills they need. It is a waste of resources to test a doctor on their engineering abilities.
- Find the ideal testing method. Written tests are not the only way to conduct an assessment. Research and find what testing methods would be ideal based on the skills being assessed.
- Mimic real world environments and challenges. Remember that the purpose of an assessment is to test skills and abilities in the real world.
- Self Performance Reviews can be a valuable tool. Let them tell you what they think they do and do not know. Sometimes, testing jitters could compromise the results of an assessment.
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