Assessment of educational processes is one of the most important methods in the monitoring of teaching and quality control strategies.

Quite a several monitoring and assessment methods and approaches are used in the educational system. Monitoring of teaching and learning strategies is mainly the responsibility of the educational institution.

The assessment may also be carried out by any researcher, group of researchers, international organization, or by a governmental or international program interested in one or another issue. However, the fact is that the monitoring is just able to give a unilateral or global assessment. It cannot draw a complete picture of the dynamics of daily teaching activities.

In the second half of the twentieth century, a system, called 360-degree feedback was founded, which has been widespread throughout all western countries. This system, also known as the all-round and multilateral system, means the involvement of all participants in monitoring and assessment processes and detailed analyses of findings.

Assessment Method of the Educational Processes

According to the modern approaches to monitoring and assessment activities, assessment is done by a student – a key person in educational processes, since the popularization of multilateral appraisal tendencies, is extremely important.

All the leading schools in the West today regularly use the approach of Student Assessment of Educational Processes.

Similar to the 360-degree feedback method, it also has a history lasting just several decades. E.g. at Stanford University in the United States, the Student Assessment approach was first used in the academic year 1996-1997.

From that time on, other leading schools started to apply this approach, and today, the assessment of educational processes by students is considered to be an integral part of the Western educational systems.

Assessment of the educational process
Assessment of the educational process

Advantages of the Student’s Assessment of Educational Processes

Students’ Assessment of Educational Quality, in comparison with other methods, has many advantages. First of all, the mentioned method is student-oriented and allows for determining compliance of educational processes with the needs of students.

Besides, it is widely recognized that students’ participation in educational assessment processes increases their involvement in academic life.

This method has plenty of other benefits. Assessment activities help students to develop such necessary skills as freedom of expression and reasoning, and decision-making abilities; they become a lot more analytical, and the level of their self-esteem increases. Furthermore, students’ involvement in assessment processes improves professional relationships.

While teachers are allowed to understand students better and find out more about their opinions, needs, and interests.

Determination of the Subject of Assessment

Teachers or schools can use assessments formally or informally. Subjects for assessment are considered the following:

  • Assessment of teachers’ teaching style;
  • Assessment of teaching methods;
  • Assessment of conformity of educational goals and educational processes;
  • Appraisal of learning materials, resources, and environment.

Each of these categories can be divided into subcategories. E.g. within the framework of Student assessment activities, a student may be asked to evaluate how effectively a teacher:

  • Explains new materials;
  • Clarifies instructions;
  • Reviews already covered materials;
  • Pays attention to each student;
  • Uses appropriate activities;
  • Adequately and timely responses to the students’ questions;
  • Manages to attract the attention of students;
  • Uses visual materials;
  • Links theory and practice;
  • Logically and successively develops lessons, etc.

During the appraisal procedures, students will evaluate teachers’ ability to involve each student in lesson activities, use time effectively, move around the classroom, control discipline, arrange the classroom interestingly, etc.

Determination of the Assessment Forms

Determination of the assessment forms
Determination of the assessment forms

Student Assessments of Educational Processes can be as open and anonymous.

The frequency of such activities may be determined by the type of educational institution and training programs.

Following your priorities and teaching challenges, you may enable your students to evaluate the training program, educational processes, or the environment daily.

While determining of frequency of assessment processes there shall be taken into account that the perfect analysis of assessment results takes lots of time and resources, not to mention the fact of development and implementation of the findings.

The most common evaluating methods are the following

Oral quiz, which means asking a few simple questions orally, at the end of the lesson:

  • What did you like?
  • What did you learn?
  • What aspects of the lesson need improvement?

Oral interviews do not need much time and can be conducted even daily. This method of assessment allows teachers to determine whether there was compliance between a lesson and students’ requirements, whether the goal of the lesson has been achieved and whether there were weaknesses and gaps during the lesson.

A written Survey is a more comprehensive form of assessment. It might be simple, detailed, analytical, or psychological.

A simple Written Survey is similar to Oral Quiz, but it also includes some additional questions like:

  • What did you find hard to understand in the learning course?
  • Where do you need extra help in?

A detailed Written Survey contains questions concerning students’ needs, learning styles, abilities, expectations, recommendations, and useful tips. Examples of such questions are the following:

  • What were the most useful and practical issues of the learning course?
  • What would you like most to learn during the course?
  • Have you had the opportunity to take an active part in the learning processes?
  • Was there compliance between the requirements of the course and the standard of work to be performed?
  • Have you been receiving regular information about your progress?
  • How helpful was this course in achieving your academic goals?

Analytical Written Survey can be conducted independently or via detailed survey. It contains questions like:

  • What do you consider the most important issues concerning the course and why?
  • What was the most effective teaching method and why?
  • Which activities were the most effective and why?
  • Can you do something that you cannot do before the course?
  • What were the disadvantages you noticed in the course and how do you think they can be overcome?
  • What made you rate the course as positive/negative?
  • Independent Analytical Written Survey, due to question contents, is mainly used for senior pupils or students, analytical questions for little ones are integrated into a Detailed Survey.

Psychological Survey does not concentrate on the content of the learning courses or teaching methods, it evaluates students’ reactions and their emotional attitude towards them. The questions raised by this type of survey, are the following:

  • What did you like most in the course?
  • How safe did you feel in the classroom?
  • What did you like the least about the course?
Use students’ assessment outcomes
Use students’ assessment outcomes

None of the surveys, including simple ones, are conducted daily or weekly. Interpretation of the results takes some time. Usually, written surveys are carried out on a semester basis or annually.

The surveys aim to determine the nature of changes that have to be made to the learning course, the educational processes, or the environment of the following semester or the academic year.

There are also some other widely known forms of assessment: Interviews, Focus Groups, and SWOT analysis. Interviews are mainly used in such cases when the conduction of other assessment activities revealed contradictory opinions, or several students identified some specific problems in their assessment forms.

Focus Groups are especially effective for consideration of contradictory opinions. Participation in group discussions enables Students to analyze better their points of view, listen to other’s opinions, and reach an agreement jointly on issues needed to be improved. This method helps students to develop debate and reasoning skills.

SWOT analysis is an effective method rather for analysis of the educational environment and educational processes than for assessment of the learning course. SWOT analysis aims to reveal strengths (S) and Weaknesses (W) and determine Opportunities (O) and Threats (T).

While dealing with any method of Student Assessment of Educational Processes there must be taken into account the importance of asking the right questions.

As if the questions are irrelevant, the received information may be completely insignificant and useless. For example, if we are interested in how much the learning course satisfied the goals of the curriculum, students shall not be asked: “Do you think, the learning course satisfied the goals of the curriculum?”.

This kind of closed question will not provide the required information. It is necessary to ask open questions, e.g.: “Describe the knowledge obtained during the course” or, “list the subjects you expected to learn but had not been included in the course”.

How to use Students’ Assessment Outcomes

To use Student Assessment results effectively, it is vital to decrypt the assessment outcomes correctly. The first step is to identify positive and negative assessments.

At the same time, a teacher should understand that a negative assessment is a possibility for improvement, not criticism.

Experienced researchers and experts recommend being realists and after working out recommendations outline priorities and start working over two or three of the most important issues that needed improvement.

After modification of the learning course, processes, or environment based on students’ assessment outcomes, we should tell the students how their opinions have been used and considered so that they will not lose interest in actively participating and take assessment processes seriously.