The Psychological Foundations of Assessment

The Psychological Foundations of Assessment. CHAPTER 2 The Psychological Foundations of Assessment

Chapter Objectives

After reading and thinking about this chapter, you will be able to:

    • Explain the difference between assessment and testing.

    • Explain the importance of using multiple sources of data in assessment.

• Distinguish among several learning theories by explaining their implications for assessment.

    • Describe the implications of motivation theory for classroom assessment.

    • Describe the importance of differentiated teaching and assessment.

The purpose of this chapter is to present assessment from the psychological and social foundations perspectives. Here we describe the theories developed by important thinkers and researchers in the field of learning, and we explain the implications that these theories have in creating effective classroom assessments so that you can appreciate the differences among your students. We ask you to think more broadly about assessment by posing the question, How do multiple assessment methods come together to present a truly authentic picture of student learning?

In foundations textbooks, students most often examine the historical, social, and philosophical foundations of education. The psychological perspective is often referred to as the fourth foundation. The psychological foundations perspective is no less important than the first three. As you will see in this chapter, a deeper understanding of how students learn forces us to think critically about how we plan, how we teach, and how we assess our students.

We understand that all students are different—they have different personal histories, they have different abilities, they have encountered teachers with different approaches to learning, and they have access to different resources. At the same time, there are characteristics that students share in how they learn that allow us to teach and assess appropriately. This chapter presents several ways of looking at learning and motivation—the psychological foundations perspective. By understanding this more thoroughly, we can improve our teaching and assessment of students.

Foundational Questions for Your Consideration

    • What factors motivate students and what factors inhibit students in showing what they know and can do?

    • What implicit cues do students interpret from school life that might make them unable or unwilling to show what they know and can do?

    • How do relationships and other affiliations influence a student’s willingness to take part in assessments?

    • When students develop misconceptions about an area of study, how can you help them correct these misconceptions without decreasing their motivation and willingness to try again?

What Can Assessment Tell Us?

The Psychological Foundations of Assessment

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