I was thinking that some of us are not aware of the many assessment errors we make. I know I was and perhaps will be guilty of some so I thought I would make a list to remind myself. On the other hand, I think we all need a reminder of what can go wrong because of our inherent human nature but which should NOT impact children.
1. The “halo” effect :
The teacher tends to give the same grade to the same students based on an overall impression (usually formed at the beginning of the year). Thus neither the little progress struggling learners make is noticed nor the minor errors the high achievers have.
2. The “anchor” effect:
The teacher notices an outstanding or a new approach of a student in relation to their work and will make THAT a standard for the rest of the classroom.
3. The “Pygmalion” effect:
The teacher influences the results students have through explicit or implicit language s/he uses and behavior (we all know that successful students tend to be more motivated and thus get to work harder and vice versa).
4. The “central tendency” effect:
It is usually the new teachers who fall in this category: they are afraid not to over- or underestimate learners and so they use “middle” grades.
5. The “similarity” effect:
The teacher takes himself/herself as a reference point in assessing students: that is, if s/he was a successful, hardworking student in their youth they would most likely “punish” the students who do not follow this pattern.
6. The “contrast” effect:
The teacher assesses students based on the PROXIMITY of their work: we tend to underestimate a student’s project/test/product if it follows an outstanding one and vice versa.
7. The “logical fallacy” effect:
The teacher replaces the real indicators/standards of excellent work with others, which are tangential to the actual level of learning such as the effort the student put, the general qualities the respective student has (hardworking, discipline, determination, etc).
8. The “order” effect:
The teacher grades different student products with similar grades and fails to notice the differences due to exhaustion or other mood-related parameters.
9. The “teacher style” effect:
The teacher assesses in accordance with their own style: either focused more on the strict knowledge evidence or more on the originality of student thinking.