Assessment measures and evaluates the performance of an individual on the job or in the classroom, and those conducting such assessments may use a number of techniques in order to get results. Professionals use the information to determine how people perform or how to improve training and education in order to make the process better.
Portfolios attempt to show performance and progress over a period of time in the creative fields such as writing or art. Disadvantages of portfolio assessment include the time it takes to plan as well as to carry out the assessment process. Portfolios usually contain a large volume of work and can be bulky and tough to maneuver. Developing a rubric to score the portfolio is also very subjective in favor of the person conducting the assessment, and the student has little room for an appeal or say in the matter. Depending on the size of the sample, educators must schedule appointments with students regarding the portfolio; the appointments could take time and conflict with other classroom needs.
Tests only show how students perform in the classroom and only focus on the material covered by that particular teacher or course, therefore making it tough to compare results to a national survey or statistic. Even where several teachers instruct several groups of students, test results may reflect different teaching and learning styles. Broad-based standardized tests do not give feedback, making it difficult for students to see what areas they need better instruction in. In cases where people answer essay questions, the disadvantages include the time it takes to answer and score the test, as well as the reliability of the actual test.
Interviewing allows both sides to sit in a face-to-face situation where the assessor can ask a variety of questions about performance, many times asking follow-up questions and taking note of body language, vocal tones and hesitation in answering questions. The major disadvantage of interviewing is that it takes skill to accomplish and to achieve the types of results the educator wants. It also takes time to develop the questions and to interview each person, especially if many individuals need to be interviewed. The interviewer may also bring preconceived notions about the interviewee and judge her based on her sex, age, educational experience, appearance or response to the questions.
Learning journals encourage students to reflect on the educational process and do have disadvantages. While many students complete writing assignments regularly, many do not do reflective pieces. Many students may also worry about privacy and will not expose their feelings publicly about course work for fear of being penalized in the final grade. Students may also consider writing a journal a “chore” and not put much time and effort into the writing process. If educators use learning journals where writing is not the primary objective, those who struggle with writing may not provide an accurate assessment.
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