Type: Research
Pages: 6 | Words: 1745
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Assessment, which involves collection of data about learning and instruction, can be done using two major procedures, such as formative and summative assessment methods. The two methods are totally different in the sense that whereas formative assessment provides instant feedback to both the student and the teacher with regards to the learning process, summative assessment aims to provide information on what has been learnt at the end of a grade level or at the end of a unit of instruction. Summative assessment helps establish to what degree the preset learning goals have been met. There are many tools that can be used in each of the two methods, but since this document mainly focuses on the summative assessment methods, only summative tools will be taken into consideration. In order to clearly define characteristics of a successful summative assessment, there should be an interrelation between curriculum, assessment, and instruction, as well as usage of reliable and valid techniques. This paper demonstrates how a knowledge survey, as a summative assessment tool, can be used to assess the effectiveness of the learning process.

Overview of Knowledge Surveys

A knowledge survey is a method of assessing the delivery of contents from the teacher to the student through gathering of information from the learner pertaining to the level of knowledge that they have acquired after completion of a single instructional unit. They assess the learner’s mastery of the content at all levels starting from the very basic knowledge to the most complex levels of thinking, also known as the Bloom’s scale of thinking (Pellegrino, Chudowsky, & Glaser, 2001). The survey consists of a sequence of questions that cover the areas learnt throughout the entire instructional period. Students are expected to answer those questions promptly, and their answers are used as a feedback to the faculty and school for improving the learning process for the benefit of the student. New programs are explored and new curricula might be developed after the answers have been provided.

Knowledge surveys are constructed by combining questions from all the areas that have been covered during the learning period by referring to the past exams and eliminating redundant questions (Education.com, 2012). The questions should be scored to ensure that all the questions represent all levels of complexity as per the Bloom’s scale. However, one has to be cautious to ensure that the questions have an average level of complexity, as very simple questions may not provide reliable information on the learner’s knowledge, while very complex questions might discourage and intimidate learners, thus de-motivating them. Questions have also to be randomly picked to ensure that all the topics have been assessed. This helps establish specific areas that learners are experiencing difficulties with and suggest other strategies that can be used to tackle these areas.

Importance of Using Knowledge Surveys as Compared to the other Tools

Among the tools that can be used for assessment, knowledge surveys have been considered the most effective in the past few years, as they are less time consuming (Wirth, 2012). They also encourage students to answer some questions with a certain degree of confidence. This makes students complete filling out surveys quickly, as it is not mandatory that they have to answer each question. Surveys are not only beneficial to learners only but also to instructors. To start with, knowledge surveys act as effective study guides for students. They provide learners with complete disclosure of the major objectives of the course and permit them to fully concentrate on learning, and especially on the most critical parts that require special attention. In addition, they make the learning process more visible by helping students develop self-evaluation skills and a mindset that fosters life-long learning. This means that students can continue learning with least supervision from their instructors.

Supervisors on the other hand reap several benefits from knowledge surveys. Firstly, mentorship through surveys enables the instructor to ensure that the course goals, course content, and course assessments are interconnected. This in turn ensures that there is harmony between all these components, which further ensures that effective learning is taking place. Secondly, surveys enable the instructor to evaluate the nature of knowledge that students have acquired during the course. They are also able to establish the overall success of his or her teaching after the entire course has been covered. As such, surveys help in fundamental aid design, make mid-course adjustments possible, and provide credible information for final assessments. Another additional advantage of using surveys is the fact that they may provide information that can be used to either modify or develop a learning curriculum (Ehringhaus & Garrison, 2012). They offer guidelines to instructors, curriculum developers and other involved personnel in the realm of education, on the areas that require special strategies to enable learners to understand difficult concepts.

Knowledge for this Course

The main purpose of using a wide range of questions is to ensure that the entire course is covered and that all levels of cognition are covered, i.e. knowledge to understanding, appliance, analysis, synthesis, and assessment. As mentioned earlier, when filling surveys, students do not answer questions fully but rather indicate whether they can answer questions using a three-dimensional scale. Questioning via surveys can be conducted by using answer sheets generated by computers, though electronic testing instruments and web-based courseware that are deemed more efficient. When being administered electronically, students can complete surveys even out-of-class and the results can later be analyzed and interpreted easily through the use of software-generated spreadsheets. In this section, a spreadsheet is provided for a course that assesses knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation capacities of the learner.


Bloom Level

Vividly explain how you assess various measures for assessing learners’ progress, including formal, test-based measures, and informal and observational measures.

  1. (Knowledge)

Through the use of a comprehensible clear language, analyze traditional theories of assessment.

  1. (Comprehension)

Critically evaluate alternate forms of assessment for special populations.


Exhaustively analyze various approaches to interpreting individual and group behavior.

  1. (analysis)

Carefully utilize methodology for linking assessment practices to learning objectives.

  1. (application)

Thoroughly evaluate strategies for a variety of assessment instruments and theories behind the learning objective (above).

  1. (evaluation)

Show your understanding of the application of modern theories in the field of educational assessment.


Show your understanding of the use technology and information resources to research issues in an educational assessment.


What are the major mechanics that can help you improve your grammar?

  1. (synthesis)

After being provided with the above survey, students are to be given a close-ended response which they should use in answering the questions. This ensures that the answers provided by the students are uniform, thus making instructors and students’ work easier. Those responses are provided in the table below:

I do not comprehend the question, I find the terminology strange, or I am not sure enough that I can answer the question satisfactorily for the purpose of grading at this particular time.

I totally comprehend the question and: a) I am confident that I can answer at least a half of it correctly; b) I have an idea of where I can find the necessary information for answering the question for grading in not more than twenty minutes.

I am a 100 per cent sure that I can answer the question satisfactorily well-enough at this time.

Students should fill out knowledge surveys prior to any exam. This makes them benefit from them, as sometimes some exam questions may be phrased identically to survey questions. An in-depth analysis of the content of a course is determined by the ease through which knowledge surveys can be constructed, allotted and filled out.

Ideas and Concepts Relied upon while Coming up with Knowledge Surveys

The perception that the goal of knowledge surveys is to assess the comprehension of learners in their respective levels of study compels one to consider all the sub-areas that should be taken care of in order to ascertain that learners perceive what they are being taught (Wirth, 2012). Following the notion that skills in the cognitive realm revolve around comprehension, knowledge, and thinking critically about a particular topic, Bloom’s Taxonomy is an effective system to take into consideration. The traditional skills of education also emphasize complete utilization of the six levels of taxonomy. Knowledge is the very first level of taxonomy, which requires learners to demonstrate the memory of the content that they have learnt previously by recalling terms, facts, answers and basic concepts. Comprehension is the second level, which requires learners to demonstrate their understanding of concepts through comparing, organizing, translating, giving descriptions, interpreting and outlining the main ideas. Application is the third level, which involves the use of the knowledge acquired via the above explained methods above. This has the implication that students should be able to apply the newly acquired knowledge in different ways other than those which had been learnt earlier on (Wirth, 2012).

Analysis, as the fourth level in the Bloom’s taxonomy, involves examining and breaking down information into smaller compartments by recognizing the motives and causes (Wirth, 2012). Later, inferences are made and evidence is identified to support the generalizations. Analysis is done in terms of elements, organizational principles and relationships. The fifth level is synthesis which involves compiling information in dissimilar ways by combining elements in other new patterns or suggesting alternative solutions. Examples include producing unique communication, plans or a set of operations. Finally, evaluation involves presenting and defending opinions by judging information, quality of work or validity of all the assignments depending on a set of criteria.


Learning is a very important process that demands close attention from all the parties involved ranging from the learner to the instructor, curriculum developers, parents and the teachers. As such, it is important to ensure that learners comprehend what is being taught at school, and they can be in a position to apply that knowledge in sectors other than those their instructors had taught them earlier. It is at this particular point that assessment of students comes in handy. As earlier mentioned, there are two major types of assessment, such as formative and summative assessment methods. Each of these methods applies various techniques to measure effectiveness of the teaching-learning process. As it has been mentioned earlier, knowledge surveys are deemed to be the most effective, as they assess the understanding of facts and concepts in all the areas of the course, as well as their application. Generally, it can be inferred that for proper leaning to take place, summative assessment can be used, and more particularly, the use of knowledge surveys.

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