Key Points

The focus in Chapter 7 is on how to assess students’ broader learning and skills. Whereas students undertake numerous assessments in their education, many of these are predicated on writing skills, whether for responding to language prompts, other subjects or even mathematics and science. In these cases, written representation of learning dominates. Given the recent policy interest in more transferrable, 21st-century skills, many of which are not necessarily writing-dependent, teachers should have the freedom to employ other eclectic assessment formats that provide more direct assessment of broader skills. The use of portfolios, projects and observations of student performance helps capture a wider snapshot and deeper insight into student learning. Performance tasks such as experiments and simulations help bridge the gap that often exists between learning in school and learning in wider society and the workplace. With appropriate attention to issues of validity and reliability, especially through use of structured scoring and self-evaluation rubrics, performance assessments have a potentially valuable role for formative and summative purposes.