Issues of validity and reliability
Assessments must be both valid and reliable in order to give a truthful display of student learning. As educators we must never give assessment without a specific educational objective. Evaluating our assessments for validity and reliability will ensure that educational goals are met. As such assessments are deficient if proper test plans are not designed before preparing a trustworthy test paper, without which evaluation becomes complicated. During my past years as visual art teacher, I have designed question to assess students’ performance after each academic year. I simply stressed on content to be assessed with the sole objective to evaluate whether students are eligible to be promoted to upper classes. however so as to construct tests that are valid and reliable for both teacher and students, there are certain principles and procedures that should be followed. Airasian (2005) lists six decisions usually made in the test development process:
1. What to test?
2. How much emphasis to give to various objectives?
3. What type of assessment (or type of questions) to use?
4. How much time to allocate for the assessment?
5. How to prepare the students?
6. Whether to use the test from the textbook publisher or to use teacher made test?
I have chosen to prepare a formative test to make sure that I can make a valid and reliable test. Moreover Gronlund ; Linn, (2000) emphasise that, it is imperative that a test assesses the learning objectives as taught in the class and the same will be considered while interpreting the marks when analysing results . If learning objectives do not relate to the objectives and the content; then methods of assessment will be misleading, unfair and ineffective. Students will obtain their marks for interpretating and reflecting on their understanding of the theme and the process and not the outcome .because art is not about being productive , it is more about the creativity, aethetics, originality and innovatiness that lies behind the artwork.
Moreover the teacher should also avoid using exact steps to undertsake during practical classes that is why I explain students and let them explore through their senses . The time allocated that is 3hrs (6 periods of 30 mins ) (2 periods per day) of work, ensures reliability in measurement and also assures content validity so that if the task is given to a group of students on two different occasions it should yield similar or consistent results (Gronlund ; Linn, 2000). In this endeavour much attention has been given to the choice of questions set in the paper bearing in mind that I am faced with mixed abilities, I closely made sure that questions across the cognitive domain of the Bloom’s taxonomy are ranged giving the students a selection of questions which treat different levels of difficulty thus ensuring more equitably different types of learners.
The mark scheme of the test also has been prepared so that when markers will correct the questions set, it will be standardised as briefing or clear guidelines will be given on how to mark the data (refer to appendix II).
In any profession, people have some ethical obligations to follow and unfortunately, teachers are not immune to this problem. Therefore when designing an assessment or doing an evaluation, the teacher should always bear in mind to be ethically correct to all his learners.
A teacher has an ethical responsibility to ensure that the grades assigned are the best estimate of learners’ performance. That is the teacher should demonstrate fairness among his students and should not favour any learner. It is quite tough for teachers to avoid favouritism, in fact in class myself I usually find myself focusing only on certain students. So from time to time, I remind myself to direct my attention to all my learners. In order to avoid being drifted in favouritism while grading students. The grading system developed will generally reflect the philosophy of teaching, learning, and assessing of the teachers. The most common grading system is the norm referenced and the criterion referenced, so in both system we should demonstrate equity among all the learners.
Another ethical issue that is commonly confronted by teachers is confidentiality. It is important for the teacher to keep the educational records of his learners confidential and secure. The scripts, marks and grades of students must be securely kept and only the concerned stakeholders can have access to them. That is only the students, his responsible party and the teacher can manipulate these records. The teacher should be careful not to communicate confidential anecdotes of a learner to other students or even his colleagues. The school must provide a well-secured filing system, whereby teachers can store the different records of the students, accessing these records should be limited where special request must be made to the rector of the college.
Being ethical is not imposed on teachers, but to have a clear conscience while interacting with our learners, it is essential for us to be ethically correct towards them. The principles of a teacher must be to maintain an environment of fairness, where all his students are considered equal with no discrimination of any sort. Being a teacher holds a lot of responsibility and it is our duty to abide by the different rules so as to make our teaching meaningful and effective.
The trends in evaluation are changing; use of more student centred methods of evaluation is fore grounded. The Assessment and Evaluation module has been an enriching learning experience for me. It has been an eye opener regarding the multiple evaluation strategies which I can use in my teaching practice and regarding test-construction. As teachers we are accountable to students, parents, colleagues and the community in ensuring a fair, ethical, reliable, valid, bias-free evaluation of our students. The new knowledge which I have gained will allow me to adopt a professional approach in the evaluation of my learners.