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Tests, assessments, evaluations...

Whether you study in a school or university, or work with an organization, assessments are part of your life. No wonder you are curious to know more about it!

The prestigious grammar schools in the UK admit students based on the scores in the 11 Plus tests.

But, why are these assessments important?

1. Significant contribution to learning. Studies have proved that there is strong positive correlation between assessment and learning. Students get an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding. Also, each test helps them to ‘retrieve’ or recollect their learning. Retrieval practice done over a period of time enhances the learning further. What students deserve is meaningful learning, and not just rote learning. The tests play a significant role here too because carefully prepared tests make the students think far and wide, and think logically, and apply their learning in new situations. Such meaningful learning, further learning, and retrieval effects collectively help them retain what they have learned, for longer.

“Assessment is the engine which drives student learning.” said Prof. John Cowan, who was one of the pioneers of Engineering Education.

2. You cannot improve what you don’t measure. It is a very basic principle. If you want to improve your performance to any desired level, you should know where you are now, and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Once known, you initiate action to reinforce the strong areas and to work on those needing more focus and improvement. It helps not only the students, but their teachers and parents. Identifying the gaps and preparing and working on the required action plan help the student bridge the gaps. They get to the next level, and ace the test! This is highly relevant in the case of highly competitive exams like the 11 Plus.

Which assessments will fetch the best results?

· Alignment to the objectives and scope: The tests should be designed keeping in mind the purpose and objectives in mind. The scope of the test – what are they going to be assessed on? – should be clearly followed.

· Comprehensiveness: The tests will not give the desired results unless they are comprehensive enough to cover what is in scope, as above. It should be sufficiently representative enough.

· Ability to assess the ‘why’, and ‘how’, beyond the ‘what’: The questions should be such that they make the student stretch their level of knowledge, understanding, and imagination.

· The level of questions: It should be ‘appropriate’ to the group for which the tests are intended. The tests should help to assess their current level, give guidance to their potential, and help them get to the next level.

· Transferability of learning: It doesn’t help unless the students are able to transfer their knowledge and apply them in novel and varied situations.

· Depth and breadth of insights through results: Tests should not end with conveying the score (that absolute number or percentage!). If the students should get the real benefits, the correct answers, and the explanations- why is it the correct answer, and why not another, how to reach the particular answer (there could be different ways) – also matter.

Numerous studies have been conducted on the above. There are many researches being done. At Tutorwaves, we offer meticulously prepared practice tests and mock tests incorporating the learning and best practices. The curated content along with a user-friendly online test platform helps our students learn deeper, and more easily, and ace the original test.

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