Classifications of Assessments

Home > Blog > education > Classifications of Assessments

Assessments can be classified based on various factors, including the stakes involved, the purpose of the assessment, and who prepares the assessment. Let’s explore each classification in more detail:

Stakes of Assessments

Assessments can be categorized as either high-stakes or low-stakes. The stakes refer to the consequences or impact that the assessment has on the test taker. High-stakes assessments have significant consequences for the test taker, such as directly impacting their final grades or influencing their future choices 1. Examples of high-stakes assessments include college entrance examinations, high/secondary school exit examinations, and professional licensing examinations 2. On the other hand, low-stakes assessments have minimal consequences for the test taker and do not directly impact their final grades or future choices 1. These assessments are often used for practice, feedback, or to inform school improvement plans.

Purpose of Assessments

Assessments can also be classified as formative or summative. Formative assessments are designed to provide ongoing feedback to students and instructors during the learning process. They are typically low-stakes assessments that allow students to practice, make mistakes, and receive feedback without significantly affecting their final grades 3. Formative assessments are valuable for long-term retention and can help students prepare for high-stakes assessments, such as exams or projects 3.

On the other hand, summative assessments are used to evaluate student learning at the end of a unit, course, or program. These assessments are often high-stakes and carry more weight in determining final grades or certification 3. Summative assessments provide a summary of what students have learned and are typically used for accountability purposes.

Preparation of Assessments

Assessments can be either teacher-prepared or centrally-prepared. Teacher-prepared assessments are created by individual teachers or instructors for their specific courses or classrooms. These assessments are tailored to the specific learning objectives and content covered in the course Teacher-prepared assessments can include a variety of formats, such as quizzes, exams, projects, or presentations.

Centrally-prepared assessments, on the other hand, are developed at a centralized level, such as by educational institutions or testing organizations. These assessments are often used for standardized testing purposes and are designed to measure student performance across a larger population Examples of centrally-prepared assessments include national exams, standardized tests, or international assessments.

In summary, assessments can be classified based on the stakes involved (high-stakes or low-stakes), the purpose of the assessment (formative or summative), and who prepares the assessment (teacher-prepared or centrally-prepared). Understanding these classifications can help educators and students navigate the different types of assessments and their implications.

Benefits of low-stake Assessments

Low-stakes assessments provide several benefits to students. Here are some key advantages:

  1. Opportunity for Practice: Low-stakes assessments allow students to practice their skills and knowledge without the fear of significant consequences. They provide a safe environment for students to make mistakes and learn from them 1.

  2. Feedback and Improvement: These assessments provide students with valuable feedback on their performance, allowing them to identify areas of improvement and make necessary adjustments. The feedback received from low-stakes assessments can guide students in their learning process and help them enhance their understanding of the subject matter 1.

  3. Reduced Anxiety: Since low-stakes assessments have minimal impact on students’ final grades, they can help reduce test anxiety and create a more relaxed learning environment. This can lead to increased engagement and a more positive attitude towards learning.

  4. Long-Term Retention: Research suggests that frequent low-stakes assessments are more effective for long-term retention compared to high-stakes assessments. By providing students with regular opportunities to review and practice their knowledge, low-stakes assessments support better retention of information 1.

  5. Preparation for High-Stakes Assessments: Low-stakes assessments can be structured to help students prepare for high-stakes assessments, such as exams or projects. They allow students to familiarize themselves with the format and content of high-stakes assessments, reducing anxiety and improving performance 1.

In summary, low-stakes assessments benefit students by providing practice opportunities, valuable feedback, reduced anxiety, improved long-term retention, and preparation for high-stakes assessments. These assessments create a supportive learning environment that encourages growth and improvement.