Evaluation is a process that has found its way into almost every aspect of life. In fact, it is one of the purposes that drive life. Evaluation helps to distinguish good from bad and also doubles as the most crucial part of the social development cycle.
Evaluation is also essential in education via evaluative statements – it helps to measure if a child has succeeded in his aims and how much of such a success has been achieved. Thus, evaluation and goals are closely linked. Education is an investment in humans, considering that it instills knowledge, motivation, skills, and top human resources in people. With evaluation, better educational programs can be designed, better assessed for achievements, and finetuned to become even more useful.
Evaluation is an integral monitoring part of an educational program that assesses the learning progress regularly. Thus, it offers useful feedback on both the design and implementation of such programs. Evaluation is also crucial to a successful teaching-learning process, helping teachers to teach better and learners to learn faster. Interestingly, evaluation never stops – it is a constant process and a periodic exercise.
It also plays a vital role in forming the values of judgment, educational level, or progress of a student. Thus, it is indispensable to teaching-learning and other fields of activity where there is a need for judgments.
When it comes to learning, evaluation drives the processes of creating objectives and learning experiences, as well as assessing learners’ performance. Likewise, it is an essential tool for teaching and curriculum revamping. It brings transparency and accountability to all stakeholders in and beyond the education system.
What are the uses of evaluation?
Evaluation can help to accurately assess how effective teaching, teaching strategies, and techniques are. Also, teachers and learners can get reviews about their teaching and learning, respectively.
Evaluation can help with modifying and revamping courses/curricula, texts, and teaching materials.
It brings accountability to society and ensures that the demands and requirements of the employment market are of the highest standards.
Evaluation ensures that parents are well-informed of developments in the educational system.
From the above, it is safe to say that evaluation is crucial to having a successful education system. It helps in quality control, selection, and advancement into a higher grade or even tertiary education. With evaluation, the chances of making the right decisions on success in certain future activities are higher. It offers excellent guidance in advance studies and occupations. Although it is commonly perceived to perform the same functions as learner appraisal, evaluation does so much more. It is easier to challenge or question the objectives through evaluation.
How Does Evaluation Influences The Teaching-Learning Process?
There are four aspects of evaluation, as listed below;
- Learning experience
- Learner appraisal, and
- Relationship between the other three aspects
What is evaluation?
Evaluation can mean different things in psychology and education. The views of authors on evaluation differ, and here are some:
- Encyclopedia of Education Research
It defines evaluation as a means to measure, i.e., to observe or determine the extent of variate. Hence, it can be described as an appraisal or assessment.
- James M. Bradfield
He defines evaluation as the linking of symbols to a particular phenomenon, with the view to clearly ascertain the worth or value of such a phenomenon, as it relates to scientific, cultural, or social standards.
- Gronlund and Linn
According to Gronlund and Linn, evaluation is best described as a systematic process of sourcing, analyzing, and interpreting information to understand how much pupils have done to achieve their instructional objectives.
- C. E. Beeby
This is, perhaps, the most comprehensive definition of evaluation. He defined evaluation as “the systematic collection and interpretation of evidence leading as a part of the process to a judgment of value with a view to action.”
The definition of C. E. Beeby packs four essential elements;
- Systematic collection of evidence
- Interpretation of the collected evidence
- Judgment of value
- With a view to action
We will take a look at how relevant each element is in arriving at a wholesome definition of evaluation.
‘Systematic collection’ is the first element, and it means that all the required information should be sourced systematically, i.e., with excellent planning and precision.
‘Interpretation of evidence’ is the second element and a crucial aspect of the process of evaluation. The collection of information is essential, but the information collected is of no use if not correctly interpreted. There are cases where un-interpreted evidence is presented to show the presence (or absence) of quality in an educational setup.
For instance, an investigation into a two-year program in computers revealed that about two-thirds of each entering class did not complete the program. Further examination showed that most of the dropouts were able to land excellent jobs in top companies. And this is because the supervisors in those companies believed that the one-year training the dropouts had is decent enough for entry-level and second position levels. They also find such training as an excellent foundation for improvement. Hence, in a situation like this, the program cannot be described as a failure despite the high dropout rate.
‘Judgement of value’ is the third element of the definition provided by C. E. Beeby, and this shows that evaluation does more than describing the state of things in an educational enterprise. It depicts that evaluation demands judgments about how worthy an educational endeavor is.
So, evaluation entails information gathering and interpretation to show the progress (or not) of an educational setup towards achieving their goals as well as a judgment about such goals. It inquires about the contributions of a program towards the larger educational goals.
‘With a view to action’ is the fourth and last element of Beeby’s definition. This element reveals a difference between a decision-oriented undertaking and a conclusion-oriented undertaking. The former is intentionally undertaken with the view to use the findings for future action, while the latter only results in a judgment of value with zero references to action.
An example of a decision-oriented undertaking is educational evaluation, with the expectations that a specific action will happen as a result. The intention is to arrive at improved educational policies and practices.
What are the characteristics of evaluation?
The characteristics of evaluation described below were drawn from the analysis of the definitions mentioned above.
- Evaluation is a systematic process that ignores the casual and free observation of learners.
- Evaluation never stops, and under normal conditions, evaluation procedure works harmoniously with the teaching-learning process, rather than one preceding the other.
- Evaluation highlights the significant shifts in personalities and the biggest aims of an educational program. Hence, it is a mix of subject-matter achievements, attitudes, interests, ideas, thought patterns, work habits, and social and personal adaptability.
- Evaluation is premised on the assumption that educational objectives have already been identified and defined. Hence, teachers are required to focus on educational objectives, without slowing down on planning and executing the teacher-learning process both in and outside the classroom.
- A full-fledged evaluation program comprises the application of multiple procedures, for instance, lecture, experimental, heuristic, and analytico-synthetic procedures, among others, as well as essential techniques, for instance, controlled-observation, socio-metric, and other techniques.
- Learning is more valuable than teaching; after all, the main objective of teaching is to result in learning on the part of the pupils.
- Objectives and corresponding learning experiences should have maximum relevance so that they serve as guidance to pupils on their path to achieving their educational goals.
- Evaluation means assessing students accurately as well as how education has influenced their complete development.
- Evaluation helps to determine the compatibility of performance with objectives.
What are the steps involved in the process of evaluation?
Evaluation involves several processes, and these are discussed below;
- Identification and definition of general objectives
The evaluation process starts with the determination of what to evaluate. This means setting down educational objectives. For instance, what are the abilities and skills a pupil should develop to study Mathematics for a year? What are the required types of understanding for a pupil to properly learn a foreign language? The answers to these questions lie in the objectives identified by the teachers.
While this process is relatively complex, teachers are free to carve out a procedure that best suits them. For some, they start with general aims, and others with lists of objectives recommended by curriculum authorities. Stating the targets will help to focus appropriately on the pupil’s behavior, which is the product. Hence, when a course of study is completed, the pupil’s behavior can be described in terms of the appreciation, interests, application, attitudes, skills, knowledge, and understanding developed by the pupil.
- Identification and definition of specific objectives
Learning is usually described as a process of redirecting behavior in a desirable direction. The priority of the teacher is the student’s learning and positive changes in behavior show learning. Such changes are called learning outcome and usually emerges from classroom instruction.
The teacher’s most paramount concern is the type of learning outcome a student shows as a result of the teaching-learning process. And to achieve this, the teacher must identify and define the objectives in terms of behavioral changes, or better still, learning outcomes.
The teacher can derive direction to the teaching-learning process from these objectives. Likewise, the objectives also come handy in planning and setting up the learning activities as well as the evaluation process.
So, with specific objectives, we can identify the different forms of learning situations a teacher will offer his pupils, as well as the methods for evaluating the objectives and the learning experiences.
- Choosing the teaching points
After identifying and defining the general objectives, the next is to select the teaching points through which the objectives can be achieved. This entails deciding the ideal content (course, syllabus, curriculum) to use in realizing the objectives.
The teachers already have the objectives and courses of school subjects. Hence, they only need to analyze the content of the subject matter and draw out teaching points from them, while determining the probable specific objectives achievable through the use of these teaching points.
- Planning suitable learning activities
This is the fourth step and the stage where the teacher plans the learning activities the pupil will undergo, without forgetting the teaching points and the objectives. Hence, we have a three-dimensional process, and the three coordinates are learning activities, teaching points, and objectives. The teacher already has the objectives and contents, and he has the freedom to choose the learning activities to use.
The teacher may apply the analytico-synthetic method or inducto-deductive reasoning. Likewise, he may decide to use the experimental or demonstration method. Alternatively, he may use the pupil as a discoverer or apply the lecture method. Another option will be to form different groups of pupils and put each group through various works while concluding with a general discussion. In essence, this means that the options are unlimited. However, it is essential to note that the teacher may only choose the activities that will ensure that he realizes his objectives.
What the teacher does at this stage is to observe and measure shifts in pupils’ behaviors through testing. Thus, a new dimension comes into play, considering that the teacher needs to handle testing without forgetting the other three points, i.e., learning activities, teaching points, and objectives. Although the focus remains on how to achieve the set objectives, this is only achievable by identifying the teaching points and planning the learning activities of the pupils.
The teacher will also design a test by leveraging the teaching points and learning experiences the pupils are already used to in class. The test can be oral or written, where the written test could be in the form of objective questions or essays. Practical tests are also allowed.
- Using the results derived as feedback
This is the sixth and last stage of the steps in evaluation, and it involves leveraging results as feedback. The teacher may discover at the end of the testing stage that the objectives have not been achieved as expected. In such a case, the results will be used in restructuring the objectives and reorganizing the learning activities.
This stage also requires the teacher to review his activities so far, to identify any lapses in the objectives or the learning process of the pupils. This process is called feedback. The teacher is expected to leverage the results of the test to improve them.
What are the functions of evaluation?
As mentioned earlier, evaluation is pivotal to the effective teaching-learning process and doubles as a crucial aspect of the instructional programs. Among other things, evaluation is a source of actionable information that shapes most educational decisions. However, in this text, we will be restricting ourselves to the basic function of evaluation, i.e., its importance to pupils and their learning process.
Below are the functions of evaluation;
- Placement Functions
- Evaluation helps to understand the entry behavior of children in all aspects.
- Evaluation is instrumental in undertaking special instructional programs.
- It offers methods of individualizing instructions.
- It assists in choosing pupils for advanced studies, specialized courses, or vocations.
- Instructional Functions
- With a planned evaluation, a teacher is more equipped to decide and develop the best teaching technique, ways, and methods.
- Evaluation aids the formulation and restructuring of suitable and practical objectives of instruction.
- This, in turn, enhances instruction and aids the appropriate planning of adequate instructional techniques.
- Evaluation helps in improving the curriculum.
- It is ideal for assessing various educational practices.
- Evaluation makes it easier to determine the probable extent of achieving set learning objectives.
- Evaluation helps to improve the quality of teachers and instructional procedures.
- Evaluation makes it easier to plan appropriate and proper learning strategies.
- Diagnostic Functions
- It comes handy in assessing the lapses in school programs and student inadequacies.
- It helps to suggest useful remedial programs
- With evaluation, the aptitude, intelligence, and interest of each child can be determined. Findings from this help to improve the child appropriately.
- Evaluation assists in restructuring instructions to meet the individual needs of pupils.
- It comes handy in evaluating the progress of the struggling students, especially concerning their goal, ability, and capacity.
- Predictive Functions
- Evaluation is used to discover the potential aptitudes and abilities a student may have.
- Subsequently, it can be a reliable forecast tool for the future success of pupils.
- It can aid in choosing the right electives for students.
- Administrative Functions
- Evaluation helps to select a much-improved policy and decision-making system.
- Evaluation assists in an accurate classification of pupils into various convenient groups.
- It helps to plan appropriately.
- It helps to determine if students can be promoted to the next higher class.
- It is used to assess supervisory practices and competency levels of teachers in delivering the right learning experiences.
- It helps to choose the right placement.
- It comes handy in drawing a comparative statement on students’ individual performances.
- Evaluation is a tool for mobilizing public opinions and improve public relations.
- It is excellent for creating comprehensive criterion tests.
- Guidance Functions
- Evaluation guides learners towards the right choice of courses and careers.
- It helps to determine a learner’s learning pace and their weak points.
- Teachers can get to know the pupils better by evaluation, and subsequently offer them the required personal, vocational, and educational guidance.
- Motivational Functions
- Evaluation can motivate, direct, and inspire teachers to involve students in the learning process.
- It helps to reward learning and encourage learners to do even more appropriately.
- Development Functions
- Evaluation offers feedback to teachers, and this can be used to reinforce the teacher, students, and the entire teaching-learning processes.
- It helps in adjusting and enhancing teaching strategies and ultimately create better learning experiences.
- It contributes significantly to the actualization of educational goals and objectives.
- Research Functions
- Evaluation offers actionable data for research generalization.
- It removes uncertainties surrounding the need for further studies and researches.
- It promotes action research in education.
- Communication Functions
- Evaluation is an excellent way of communicating students’ progress levels to them.
- It also helps to inform parents about the progress of their children.
- Evaluation can be used to communicate progress results to other schools.
What are the types of Evaluation?
There are different types of evaluation, as discussed below:
- Placement Evaluation
What placement evaluation sets out to achieve is putting the right person in the right position. Among other things, it ensures the entry performance of a student. The success of placement evaluation will determine the eventual success of the instructional process.
So, this type of evaluation is designed to assess the entry behavior of the pupil but in a sequence of instructions. What this means is that it determines the child’s position or level in the instructional series.
The first step in placement evaluation is to create a scheme of instruction for the classroom. This will, in turn, restructure the behavior of the pupil into something more orderly. After this, the student is prepared for planned instruction, thus positioning them for improved prospects.
The following questions must be answered before allowing a pupil to undertake a new instruction:
- Does the pupil have the needed skills and knowledge the instruction demands?
- Has the student mastered some of the instructional objectives before?
- Is the proposed mode of instruction ideal for the interests, work habits, and personal characteristics of the student?
The appropriate answers to these questions can be determined by using different self-report inventories, tests, observational methods, aptitude tests, achievement tests, and case studies. In some instances, past experiences can inspire present learning and also drive further placement in an improved position.
Thus, placement evaluation comes handy in the admission of pupils into a new course of instruction. Examples of placement evaluations include an aptitude test, medical entrance examinations, and observational techniques. Others are self-reporting inventories and engineering or agriculture entrance examinations.
- Formative Evaluation
The primary role of formative evaluation is to keep an eye on the learning progress of students in the course of their instruction. It is a reliable source of actionable feedback for both student and teacher, as it relates to learning failures and success during the period of instruction.
Feedback to students is essential for getting reinforcement of productive learning. It also shows leaning error (if any) that requires fixing. Likewise, feedback to teachers offers actionable information for restructuring instruction and for recommending personal and collective remedial works.
With formative evaluation, a teacher can determine the level of progress of the pupil regularly. Also, it allows for adequate assessment of the learning outcomes at the end of a topic, chapter, segment, or unit. From such findings, the teacher can adjust the teaching methods, techniques, and devices used, and ultimately improve the learning experiences.
Alongside improving the learning experiences, the teacher may also restructure the instructional objectives where required. Subsequently, formative evaluation is a source of feedback to the teacher. It helps the teacher to know the parts of the learning tasks the students have mastered and the parts that need to be worked on. Also, with formative evaluation, the teacher can properly review the relevance and adequacy of the learning experiences the students have been exposed to while determining the level of progress made towards achieving the set goals.
From these, we can say that formative evaluation is all out to improve instruction. It is also a source of feedback to pupils. With formative evaluation, a pupil becomes aware of his learning progress periodically. This puts formative evaluation in the position of motivating pupils for much-improved training. This also aids the teacher to better prepare for remedial measures. “The idea of generating information to be used for revising or improving educational practices is the core concept of formative evaluation.”
Formative evaluation revolves around learning development; after all, evaluation involves both the assessment of achievement and effecting necessary improvements. These make education a continuous process. And this is why evaluation and development are literally inseparable. Evaluation is a must-have in every activity or circumstance and throughout a pupil’s formal education.
The best formative evaluation argument came from Cronback, who also doubles as the first educationist. Cronback believes that the most significant benefit of evaluation is that it points out the parts of the course that needs education most. Therefore, this type of evaluation is crucial in giving feedback to the learners, who will, in turn, use the same to improve their self-learning. It also offers feedback to the teachers, who, in turn, use the same for enhancing their teaching methodologies and types of instructional materials, among other positive changes.
Formative evaluation is a positive evaluation, considering that it tries to provide the needed learning goals, alongside the tools required to achieve them. Formative evaluation mostly entails the internal agent of evaluation, such as the active involvement of the learner in the learning process.