Measurement and Assessment

Measurement and evaluation

Measurement – is the process of assigning a quantitative value (numerical) to a students attainment in a given area of learning e.g. 64%

Evaluation refers to the process of assigning a qualitative value to a students attainment in a given area of learning e.g. C+.


Types of Evaluation

  1. There are three types
  2. Formative evaluation
  3. Summative evaluation
  4. Assessment

Formative Evaluation

It is the progressive assessment of the success with which a program is being implemented. It shows whether learning objectives are being achieved.
It is done with a small group of people to “test run” various aspects of instructional materials. It is typically conducted during the development or improvement of a program and it is conducted more than once.
The purpose of formative evaluation is to validate or ensure that the goals of the instruction are being achieved and to improve the instruction, if necessary, by means of identification and subsequent remediation of problematic aspects.
Formative evaluation is research-oriented.
Formative evaluation provides information on the product’s efficacy (its ability to do what it was designed to do).


Summative evaluation

is a method of judging the worth of a program at the end of the program activities. The focus is on the outcome.
It is typically quantitative and uses numeric scores or letter grades to assess learner achievement.
It is action-oriented. That is, on the basis of the findings, the programme can be adopted entirely, modified or abandoned altogether.


It is the process by which the quality of an individuals work or performance is judged.
It is carried out through observations of pupils at work or by various kinds of tests given periodically.
When practiced as an ongoing process, such assessment is called continuous assessment.

Normative Assessment/Testing

It is also called Norm-referenced assessment/test. It is where the quality of the grade depends on the average (norms) performance i.e. an individuals score is judged in relation to how good the overall performance is or was.
It is not measured against defined criteria but is relative to the student body undertaking the assessment i.e. it will tell you how a child compares to similar children on a given set of skills and knowledge.
The IQ test is the best known example of norm-referenced assessment. Many entrance tests (to prestigious schools or universities) are norm-referenced e.g. KCPE or KCSE.
It is a way of comparing students implying that standards may vary from year to year, depending on the quality of the cohort.


Advantages of Normative Assessment/Testing

It does not enforce any expectation of what all students should know or be able to do other than what students can actually demonstrate.
Present levels of performance and inequity are taken as fact but not as defects to be removed by a redesigned system.
Aims of student performance are not raised every year until all are proficient. Scores are not required to show continuous improvement.

Limitations of Normative Assessment/Testing

It cannot measure progress of the population of a whole, only where individuals fall within the whole.
It does not set what an individual should profess to prove a mastery of a skill being tested but rather bases on the set norm.
It judges set benchmarks around items of varying difficulty without considering the ability level or age of the examinees.
The difficulty level of items that determine the levels passing vary from year to year.

Criterion Assessment

It is where a decision is made as to whether a pupil has actually achieved specified level of learning regardless of the performance of other pupils.
Here, the criterion or level of achievement which warrants a mastery of certain skills is set in advance. It is not flexible.
Criterion-referenced assessment is often, but not always, used to establish a persons competence in doing something e.g. the driving test, when learner drivers are measured against a range of explicit criteria.
It tells where the person stands in some population of persons who have taken the test.
Most criterion-referenced tests involve a cut score, where the examinee passes if their score exceeds the cut score and fails if it does not (often called a mastery test).
However, not all criterion-referenced tests have a cut score, and the score can simply refer to a person’s standing on the subject domain.


Advantage criterion assessment

Many criterion-referenced tests are high-stakes tests since results of the test have serious implications for the individual examinee.
Criterion referenced tests are standard-based assessments where students are assessed with regards to set standards that define what they “should” know.

Limitations of criterion assessment

They can be described as, “you lose a lot if you fail to pass e.g. licensure testing where the test must be passed in order to progress.
Some tests set a standard that have failed 50 to 80 percent of students at the outset, a higher, not lower failure rate than is possible with standard definition of 50 percent falling below average.

Diagnostic Assessment

It is the process of finding out the exact nature of a persons problem or difficulties. In education, the aim is to give relevant remedial teaching to those who deserve it.