Using Diversified Assessment Methods

In document Life and Society Curriculum Guide (Secondary 1-3) (Page 166-171)

Enrichment Modules

Chapter 5 Assessment

5.6 Using Diversified Assessment Methods

The aims of assessment for learning can be achieved by making full use of diversified assessment activities. Life and Society (S1-3) emphasises the integration of knowledge acquisition with the development of generic skills and values and attitudes.

Teachers can use non-paper-and-pencil assessment tasks such as participation, learning journals, oral presentations, poster designs, project learning and field studies etc. to assess the learning effectiveness of students. These assessment tasks can be implemented in groups. During the activities, students have to voice their views and opinions, listen to the views of others, reach a consensus after discussion and review and, finally, make decisions and reach a conclusion. At the same time, teachers can assess students’ generic skills, behaviour, attitudes and learning progress, for examples, how they collaborate, communicate, and get along with other students, how they exercise critical thinking skills, what their attitudes are when responding to other people’s views, and the factors students have taken into consideration when evaluating different opinions. Students can in turn apply the knowledge they have learned to the tasks and activities assigned by teachers. After completing the activity, students can reflect on their own abilities and progress with reference to teachers’


feedback for further improvement.

Diversified Formative Assessment Tasks

Homework Reading to


Video program commentary

Classroom performance

Project Learning

S1 3 3 -- 3 --

S2 3 3 3 3 3(individual)

S3 3 3 3 3 3(group)

Diversified Formative Assessment Tasks 50%

Video program commentary (content, personal viewpoints, presentation): 5%


examination 50%

Homework: 15%

Project Learning: 15%

Reading to Learn (Book reports, extended readings, news commentary):10%

Classroom performance (classroom participation, class work, portfolio): 5%

Assessment items and loading of marks:

Example: The diversified assessment methods formulated by a school for S2 Integrated Humanities

5.6.1 Self-assessment and peer assessment

Apart from various assessment methods described above, teachers can also encourage students to conduct self-assessment and peer assessment to promote learning. This enables students to shoulder the responsibility of learning and self improvement.

Self-assessment enables students to supervise and judge their own learning. Peer assessment enables students to evaluate each other’s learning performance. Teachers can introduce self-assessment in topics relating to personal and social development and let students conduct self-assessment after completing learning activities and self-reflection. Some students may not want to disclose their personal opinions to others. Therefore, self-assessment which is conducted on an individual basis is more


appropriate. Peer assessment can be adopted in relatively complex learning and teaching activities that require a division of labour such as role plays, project learning, debates, etc. Since each student is responsible for a particular role and task in the activity, they have to collaborate with other group members to complete the task assigned by teachers. There is great flexibility and room for them to discuss how to collaborate, what factors to consider and how to make decisions. These can be reflected and evaluated in peer assessment and let group members learn and gain experiences from others’ comments and opinions.

When discussing “Hong Kong as an international financial centre: the problems faced and possible solutions”, besides using the reference materials delivered by the teacher, Student Chan also cited the experience of Shanghai in developing its economy, which he had learned about during the Shanghai Study Tour organised by our school, to compare with the situation in Hong Kong. This argument has not been considered by my group mates before. His viewpoints provided more substantial argument for our group to discuss.

Therefore, I gave him the highest mark in the peer assessment.

During the peer assessment, a student gave her classmate the following comments:

Example: Peer assessment

As students take up the role of assessor, the role of teachers should not be neglected.

Teachers have to provide clear learning objectives as the bases of self-assessment and peer assessment. Self-assessment and peer assessment should be underpinned by appropriate guidelines and instructions so that students fully comprehend the assessment criteria and the necessary skills. Teachers should also create an atmosphere of mutual trust in the classroom so that students can express their opinions, discuss with peers and evaluate each others’ views with confidence. After students identified their strengths and weaknesses, teachers should provide suggestions for further improvement and let them know how learning can be improved.

5.6.2 Homework

Homework is a continuation and deepening of classroom learning. It helps to consolidate what students have learned in class and provides opportunities for further


enquiry. Lesson time is limited. Homework can be finished outside classroom and help students understand their learning progress and identify the areas which need further improvement. Homework also helps teachers to identify the difficulties encountered by students during the learning process, and adjust the teaching accordingly in order to solve students’ learning problems. Teachers should avoid designing homework which stresses copying; instead, he/she should provide interesting and challenging homework aiming to motivate students into learning.

(Refer to the example in Appendix 4 on pp. 178-180)

Topics in Life and Society (S1-3) relate closely with students’ personal growth and the society. Therefore, it is much easier to arouse students’ interest if the homework is designed taking into aspects of students’ daily lives, allowing them to apply what they have learned during the lessons to the homework. Students in the 21st century are keen on searching information, expressing ideas and sharing feelings on the internet.

Teachers can design a variety of homework and let students make use of these learning modes in the process of doing homework. For example, teachers may ask students to search information on internet fraud, then organize and analyse the ways the fraudsters carry out the frauds, and finally write a speech to alert teenagers the possible threats of making cyber-friends. When marking the homework, teachers should give specific and constructive comments, feedback and suggestions for improvement. This informs students of their progress and enables them to know what they should do next in order to improve.

Examples: Constructive comments and feedback

y I appreciate that you can express your opinions by citing some daily examples …

y I can see that you have given a lot of effort. In this paragraph, you have applied …...

y Good work. From the evidence you have used in the third paragraph, I know that you can master the focus of the issue.

y If you can elaborate more on your viewpoint in paragraph two, the essay will be much more convincing.

y You have grasped the focus of the issue. Try to give one or two more examples to support your argument.


5.6.3 Tests and examinations

Tests and examinations are the most widely used modes of internal assessment.

However, if the assessment stresses memorisation of information, the motive to learn will be weakened. In designing test and examination items, teachers should balance between different requirements for accessing students’ cognitive skills. Conceptual understanding, declarative knowledge, skills and generic skills of students should be fully assessed. There should be diversity in question type too, such as

(a) data-based questions;

(b) open-ended questions;

(c) script writing for a short play;

(d) drawing a design.

The items above are suitable for assessing a wide range of skills such as creativity, problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Teachers should also avoid directly citing questions from workbooks or textbook activities to minimise high scores resulting simply from rote memorisation. During the lessons and when designing homework, instead of using textbooks as the sole resource, teachers may also make use of daily life examples and current issues as illustrations to arouse students’ interest. It is encouraging that teachers do not simply follow the textbook but to extend the learning and teaching beyond the textbook. The use of current issues and other related materials should be also apply to tests and examinations so that students recognise that what they have learned in the lessons will be assessed.

Example: Application of current issue

After studying the topic “The Labour Market of Hong Kong”, students have already understood the factors affecting the salary. Teacher can set questions on the issue of minimum wage in the examination to assess students whether they can apply their knowledge to factors affecting the employment of a person to identify the age group that will be threatened by unemployment if the minimum wage is set at a high level. If students can apply the concept of the labour supply and demand to answer the question, they can get bonus marks.


Making good use of summative assessment can also achieve the aims of formative assessment:

From teachers’ perspective:

(a) Teachers can analyse the performance of students in the assessment to identify the learning needs of individual students.

(b) Teaching strategies could then be adjusted to meet their learning needs.

From students’ perspective:

(a) Students should also be encouraged to reflect on their performance in the tests and examinations and note where they have done well and what they need to improve.

(b) They can attempt the test and examination papers again, which helps them to understand the aims of their learning and perform better in future assessments.

In conclusion, different assessment tools can be introduced in the process of learning and teaching. On one hand, assessment is perceived as part of students’ learning and helps to improve their learning. On the other hand, teachers can make use of the findings from the assessment to adjust the learning and teaching strategies and achieve the integration of learning, teaching and assessment.

In document Life and Society Curriculum Guide (Secondary 1-3) (Page 166-171)