In Summary

Essay writing has important skills development and educational functions. It allows you to practice and develop transferable skills that are valuable to you not only while you’re a student but also when you graduate and have to write in a professional role.

Essay writing has important skills development and educational functions.

It allows you to practice and develop transferable skills that are valuable to you not only while you’re a student but also when you graduate and have to write in a professional role.

These transferable skills include; reading and note-making,critical thinking and analysis,organising ideas,arguing a case, and communicating effectively with a reader.

It encourages you to develop a formal, disciplined approach to writing that communicates clearly and with authority.

It gives you a focus for exploring and consolidating what you’re learning.

It allows you to develop and organise your thinking about key concepts and issues in the course you’re studying.

Reading your essay allows your lecturer to assess the degree to which you have engaged with learning and transformed information into knowledge.

The essay writing process is inextricably linked to learning; developing a sound essay writing technique enhances the effectiveness of your learning, as well as winning you better grades.

Recently, researchers have increasingly recognised the importance of formative assessment in improving children’s progress and attainment (Bone, 1999; Wiliam et al., 2004). Although evidences provided in this work suggest that policies have underestimated the complexity of this kind of assessment- and that some teachers find it difficult to do- the benefits of formative assessment can far outweigh the disadvantages.

Assessment has become a very important part of education process and it has advanced considerably over the past years (Johnston et al., 2009; Hall and Burk, 2004) and, as our education system becomes more curriculum focused, the emphasis moves increasingly to how teachers teach and how children are taught (Butt, 2010). In this view, learning is concerned with the construction of understanding, skills and attitudes (Johnston, 1996; Pritchard, 2005). In other words, it is concerned with the type of learning pupils become involved with.

Assessment

The assessment of children has to serve a variety of purpose, but it is principally to inform decisions made by the teacher about what work a child is capable of managing’.

Hayes (2006)

Assessment means different things in different contexts and it is also carried out for different purposes (Arthur et al., 2006). During my preliminary attachment I noticed that teachers were assessing all the time and some of those assessments were going on also during teaching.

For example, while teaching, teachers picked up information about children’s knowledge through eavesdropping (where in group discussion, the teacher would stand by a table, but listening to the other table discussion instead) or questioning and they also assessed the level of understanding of the class through a quick quiz or game at the beginning or end of the lesson.

Those assessments have helped teachers to see what works and what does not in terms of student learning. However, they usually used this information to assess their own lesson and/or the level of knowledge and understanding of the class, rather than to make formal assessments which could be fed back to pupils (Preliminary Attachment, 2010).

From reflecting in examples from theory and practice, it is possible to say that assessment in education involves making judgements about pupils’ attainments (Alexander, 2010; Preliminary Attachment, 2010).

In other words, it involves teachers deciding on how they will collect information, what information is relevant, how they will come to a judgement and then how to report and comment a judgment to those who want to know how pupils are achieving (Arthur et al., 2006; Aldgate et al., 2006; Hayes, 2006; Hughes, 2008).

In addition, assessment is often divided into summative and formative categories for the purpose of considering different objectives for assessment practices (Pollard et al., 2005; Arthur, et al., 2006; Butt, 2010). Yet, debate continues over whether and how summative and formative assessment should be distinguished (Threlfall, 2005; Wynne, 2005). In its summative role, the purpose of assessment is to judge pupils’ quality and characteristics, summarising these in a clear and widely acceptable format. Summative assessment is also known as assessment of learning (Threlfall, 2005; Arthur et al., 2006) and evidence for this type of assessment may come from formal testing of what has been learnt, aiming to produce marks or grades which may be used for different purposes, such as reports of various types (Pollard et al., 2008).

Moreover, studies indicate that summative assessment can have a negative impact on students’ motivation for learning, as rather than promoting ‘intrinsic’ motivation- in which they perform because they are interested and engaged with the work, summative assessment is believed to promote ‘extrinsic’ motivation, in which pupils simply respond to the promise of some kind of reward (Crooks, 1988; Sansome and Harackiewicz, 2000; Wynne, 2001).