THE word assessment is derived from the Latin assidere, meaning “to sit beside or with” (Wiggins 1993). Assessment is good for learning, and, good for teaching, too.

Although this notion of a teacher sitting with her students to really understand what is happening, as the latter pursues the challenges of learning, is far removed from the roles that assessment and evaluation have typically played in schools, many teachers have always done so.

According to the New South Wales Education Standards Authority (Nswesa) website, assessment for, assessment as and assessment of learning are approaches that enable teachers to gather evidence and make judgments about students’ achievements. And, these assessments can be used individually or together,

Educators need to know how assessments work and what purpose they serve.

As an educator, I see common elements in these three types of assessment. Teachers can use assessment for learning and assessment as learning, for example, as strategies for our students to regularly and actively evaluate their own learning to see whether they are ready for the next segment. If they are not, the feedback enables teachers to help them fill in the gaps. Students’ self-assessments provide valuable feedback on their level of knowledge and understanding of the material being taught.

Teaching and learning may be said to have a symbiotic relationship.

Assessment of learning occurs at specified points in the learning journey. This may be at the end of a module, term or semester.

Feedback from this type of assessment can be used to formulate learning goals and as evidence of students’ achievements.

Let’s use assessments wisely. As educators, we need to know how assessments work and what purpose they serve. We must remember that assessments are done for different purposes.

We’ve already seen the challenges in our classroom brought about by the limited use of assessments. As we move forward, let’s try to step out from our comfort zone and maximise the use of the three types of assessments.


Institut Pendidikan Guru Malaysia, Kampus Bahasa Antarabangsa, Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur