Formaland Informal Assessments
Formaland Informal Assessments
Learningdisabilities refer to the inability of a student to make progressequivalent to their classmates or peers, regardless of physicalability. Students experiencing learning disabilities strain tounderstand basic ideas taught in a typical class setting (Pierangelo,2012). To derive interventions for learning disabilities, teachersneed to employ the use of both informal and formal assessments. Thispaper seeks to discuss both the formal and informal assessmentmethods in identifying special needs children and assessing academicdevelopment.
Manuelais a special child who according to his past records, has experiencedacademic struggles. Manuel is good in mathematics but has troublescoming to speeds with his peers in reading and writing subjects suchas Social Studies and English. Despite this hurdles, Manuel isbilingual with English and Spanish fluency. The assessment of such astudent needs to be both culturally and linguistically fair.Moreover, for Manuel, formal assessment alone is not enough due tocultural biases associated with its system for such students,informal assessments help alleviate the learning disabilities.
TheDefinition of Informal and Formal Assessments
Formalassessment refers to the preplanned and systematic tests that assesswhat the students have acquired throughout their learning process.Moreover, formal assessments are key determiners of a student’smastery or proficiency of taught content. On the other hand, informalassessment refers to unstructured or unplanned assessments that areincorporated in a student’s progress and performance. In addition,informal assessments are performance and content oriented(Pierangelo, 2012).
Examplesof Informal and Formal Assessments
Formal

Aptitude Tests

Summative Assessments

Norm and Criterion Referenced Test

Standardized Tests
Informal

Anecdotal Record

Event and Time Sampling

Portfolio

Observation

Checklist
Informaland Formal Assessments Towards Reducing Bias in Assessments
Inthe midst of monkeys and birds, it is unfair to rate the ability of afish to climb up a tree. If you did so, the fish will live its entirelife thinking it’s foolish, which is not true. A teacher`s maincalling is to determine a student’s academic progress or regressthrough informal assessments. For the case Manuela, informalassessments are critical assessing Manuela’s manipulative,affective and cognitive skills. However, despite the role of informalassessments in providing teachers with an overview of a student’sperformance, it cannot successfully mitigate learning disabilities inisolation (Nitko et al., 2012). Formal and informal assessmentsoperate interdependently and in unison as they complement each other.
Forinstance, for the teachers to clearly understand Manuel, they willneed to employ the use of both assessment methods in their teaching.To start with, the teachers need will start using informalassessments in order to monitor Manuel’s progress and make precisejudgments about Manuel’s learning struggles. Moreover, for a fairassessment, the teachers will have to make special accommodations inManuel’s formal assessment these will include, testing Manuel’sstrengths such as spoken English and Spanish and making minor changesin Manuel’s study process and content.
Purposes,Merits, and Limitations of Standardized Assessments
Purpose
Standardizedassessments refer to valuations mainly fashioned for use by a largetarget of different students, classes or schools. The sole purpose ofthis assessments is quantifying students’ academic performances,thus, enabling teachers to a student’s degree of proficiency andmost importantly, spot student’s in need of advancement orremediation (Pierangelo, 2012).
Merits
Unlikeinformal assessments, standardized assessments are practical and easyto manage as they consume little time. Also, these assessments allowteachers to make performance comparisons among students allowing toeducators to identify students experiencing learning struggles. Theinformation provided by standardized assessments is not only areflection of an individual’s academic ability, but also areflection of an institution as a whole. Moreover, standardized testscores build a tangible report of an individual’s academicprogress. This provides educators an opportunity to observe declineor growth trends, and effectually respond to student’s needs(Pierangelo, 2012).
Limitations
Standardizedtests do not assess typical academic behaviors or skills such ashigher thinking levels among students. More so, standardizedassessments are not individualized as the questions are generalizedfor a larger population. Due to this, educators mostly teach theirstudents based on an exam, rather that teach the students based onindividualized needs (Pierangelo, 2012), which is the correctapproach.
StatisticalConcepts and Terms Towards Informing Development of an IEP
Inassessing a special needs child with learning disabilities, such asManuel, a thorough analysis of the student’s central tendencies iscrucial towards making decisions on how to alleviate the learningstruggles. Central tendencies are the student’s mean, median, modeand standard deviation. The Mean refers the test score average. Themean is derived by adding all the test scores and diving the totalscore by the total number of tests. The Median refers to the middletest score. It is derived by ranking the child’s scores in eitheran ascending or descending order, then, counting down or up to themiddle score. The middle score is the median score however, if twoscores are in the middle, you add the scores and divide the total bytwo to settle to a median score (Popham, 2013).
Standarddeviations are essential as they show the teacher how much astudent’s score varies from their mean score. Therefore, theteacher is able to determine whether the student is making academicprogress or regress. Moreover, towards assessing a student’sperformance, the frequency distribution is important as it is alisting of the student’s scores. The frequency distribution helpsthe teacher determine the variability in Manuel’s scores. On theother hand, the normal curve refers to the fine spot where Manuel’smean, median and modal scores are almost similar. A normaldistribution of this scores takes the shape of a bell. Normal curvesare important in assessing Manuel due to the close relations betweenthe percentiles, standard deviation and the mean scores (Popham,2013).
Reliabilityrefers to the degree to which an assessment method producesunswerving and constant results. There are three types of reliabilitynamely TestRetest Reliability, Internal Consistency Reliability,and Parallel Reliability (Popham, 2013). However, despite the factthat reliability is important, it in isolation is not efficient. ForManuel’s assessment to be reliable, it must also be valid (Popham,2013). validity refers to how good a score measures in relation tohow it is supposed to measure. There are five known types of validityin assessment namely, Sampling Validity, Formative Validity,Construct Validity, Criterion Validity, and Face Validity.
References
Nitko,A. J., Evans, A. B., Henry, L. A., & Sundstrom, L. M.(2012). EducationalAssessment of Students.PrenticeHall.
Pierangelo,R., & Giuliani, G. A. (2012). Assessmentin Special Education: A Practical Approach.Boston: Pearson
Popham,W. J., & Popham, J. W. (2013). ClassroomAssessment: What teachers need to know.Pearson.