The relationship among measurement, assessment, and evaluation.. What is it? Although teaching, learning, and assessment have been there since forever, people still have dozens of misconceptions regarding them. There are just too many terms with the same meaning, or that’s what some might think!
Assessment, evaluation, measurement, and testing are all the same, they say. They measure the same thing, give the same results, and all are time consuming, they cry.
But what are the chances that we’ve just been a little too harsh on them? even though these comments are not true, at all, they are widespread and they’re all no more than a misconception we’d like to put to rest now.
We’ve dedicated a big part of our last blog post to explaining the difference between online exams and offline exams, the common points between them, and how we get the results from both of them using advanced technology without the hassle of re-calculating things yourself.
However, we’ve been hit by a few questions: are online and offline exams considered assessments, measurements, or pure evaluation? And what is the difference between all three? By the end of this article, you’ll be able to connect all these three together and put things into perspective.
1. Relationship between Test, Measurement, Assessment, and Evaluation
There’s often a misconception with identifying the difference between assessment, evaluation, and measurement. Some find many similarities between measurement and evaluation… Some places don’t even have a word for ‘assessment’ and they just use the word ‘evaluation’ for it! This is how interchangeable these words are.
Things become a bit confusing especially when teachers begin collecting the necessary data to design the teaching plan for the new term. However, assessment vs evaluation vs measurement vs test all have different meanings and uses.
Many researchers provide evidence that assessment includes measurement, testing, and evaluation as well.
In her book Assessment for Learning, Rita Berry, an associate professor and deputy head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, gives an example of this interchangeable relation, saying that a teacher wants to check whether students in her class can hear well or not. So, she does the following:
- decides to test their hearing, using a “procedure that measures their hearing acuity.”
- assesses their need for hearing aid devices, relying on the results of the test
- evaluates the effectiveness of the actions taken, by assessing the “degree to which students now are able to hear and understand instruction,” and checking whether the hearing aids were good for the students.
Although closely connected, measurement, assessment, and evaluation have different meanings and definitions. We’ve summarized, in this article, a brief about each of them in order for you to clarify the difference to anyone who may ask, since most of the teachers get blank stares whenever they mention all 3 words in the same sentence!
If you’d like some more practical explanation of how we can go about applying the relationship among measurement, assessment, and evaluation, check Qorrect’s Youtube channel.
2. Definition of Measurement, Assessment, and Evaluation
Measurement Is Always Numerical
Measurement in education isn’t that far in meaning compared to any other field. It still has the same use; measurement means identifying the characteristics, skills, or knowledge of something.
Educators use measurements when they use actual, real things: commonly used measurement tools, like rulers or even a thermometer. And these tools have set criteria in order for the teacher to reach valid, reliable, and consistent results.
That means that when we do the process of measurement we usually use something common to measure with. And that’s quite different from the word ‘assess.’ In measuring the state of something we are simply collecting numerical data in comparison to a set of standards using common tools. The image clarifies this more.
It’s very important here to assert that measurement is always numerical. As measurement in education refers to units, symbols, percentages, ranks, or raw scores.
According to Cambridge dictionary, the verb measure means “to discover the exact size, amount, etc., of something, or to be of a particular size.” For example,
“Will the table fit in here?” “I don’t know – I’ll measure it.”
“The sofa measures (= is of the size of) 3 feet by 7 feet.”
So that means that measurement is how we rate and determine the performance of a student, numerically, compared to evaluation, for example, which is how we describe how good the performance of a student is, but qualitatively.
Types of Measurement in Education
Generally we refer to measurement in education as the quantitative assessment of students through a given test: online, offline, or paper. But measurement is not limited only to assessing students. If applied correctly, we should be able to measure all factors of the educational process.
Edward Thorndike, an American psychologist whose work focused on comparative psychology and learning process, the “founder of modern educational psychology,” and the developer of the law of effect principle, commented on this concept. He stated that
This means that measurement is a process that happens continuously, every day. You measure the distance we go to work everyday, the amount of workload we do, and even the things we consume on a daily basis, the time you spend at work, how long you sleep or are awake, etc.
All of this is an example of how our whole lives are systemized and can be accurately measured with standard objects of measurement. And consequently, this is reflected in education: there’s nothing we cannot measure ever, especially in the field of education.
Today, measurement in education is much different and more advanced. With the development of many theories in education over time and assessment software systems that can be used in this process, various variables, related to students marks and grades, are measured.
- Students aptitude and personality
- Aims of education
- Effectiveness of the curriculum
- Usefulness of teaching methods
- Basis of educational policy
- The various educational activities of administrators and teachers as well
Assessment Is Detection and Analysis
Assessment means gathering data in order to understand it. It’s detecting, analysis, and interpreting student’s learning and progress.
And according to “New Horizons in Educational Sciences” book, by Strategic Researches Academy (SRA) Academic Publishing, the word assessment in education means the following:
“the various methods used by educators to measure and document the academic achievement and skills of students during preschool adulthood. It is a process of inquiry to collect and synthesize evidence that concludes the status or quality of a program, product, person, policy, proposal or plan.”
It’s essential here to mark the difference between assessments and tests. An assessment is not a test; however, a test is an assessment.
In recent years, assessments have evolved, especially after the emergence of e-testing technologies like Qorrect which not just lets you offer proctored exams but also makes grading them and exporting diverse reports a piece of cake.
Various educational institutions, including universities and schools, as well as corporates offering training to their employees, have now turned to online exams software to manage assessments.
And all international and local institutions that have implemented this technology have reaped what they sowed, especially in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis.
Benefits of E-Assessment Exams
- The exam creation process that used to take long hours can now end in minutes and automatically
- Administering exams can be done online or offline or paper-based. Having the freedom to choose makes things run smoother within your institution
- Proctoring doesn’t just depend on watching the examinee through the web camera; you get to use a variety of tools within the software to control your exam from the moment you create until the results are out
- People now tend to use assessment software platforms in grading since it’s done automatically and in seconds
What Are the Purposes of Assessment?
There are three types of purposes for assessment:
- Assessment for learning
- Assessment as learning
- Assessment of learning
Educators usually provide the following examples to explain the purposes of assessment:
- Formative assessment for assessment for learning
- Formative assessment for assessment as learning
- Summative assessment is for assessment of learning
Assessment of learning aims to achieve the educational goals and the characteristics of the student, which appear during learning. That happens without delving deeper into the educational process itself. The aim of assessment of learning is to measure no more.
Summative assessments are one of the most popular types of tests in the world and many schools and universities in the world even prepare for them from the very first day of school.
Assessment for learning is about the educational process of students and its aim is to help them acquire knowledge and discover their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, as they have a positive impact on their educational future. This occurs in the form of assessments, more specifically formative assessments.
Stigens (in 2008) and Stigins, Arter, Chapius, and Chapius (in 2006) told us that assessment for learning in English classes, for example, includes providing goals that students can achieve before making the assessment, sending the results of this assessment by writing descriptive notes that help the student (communicating with him/her), as well as linking teaching to the information that comes out of the assessment.
So assessment for learning is what happens during the learning process and not at the end or after it. This is for the purpose of making educational decisions on modifying the teaching method according to the student’s needs.
Finally, we get to the assessment as learning type. This is where students are given the opportunity to assess themselves and even their colleagues during class. This really helps students understand their own learning, their points of strength and weakness in order to work on them (self-assessment).
Evaluation Is Qualitative
Evaluation is when you start to interpret and judge the results of the data you’ve collected throughout the assessment process or elsewhere. It’s the phase for decision-making. So, if you’re a decision maker, this is for you. Evaluation centers on what you’ve gathered of information and data; it’s qualitative.
Example of measurement, assessment and evaluation
Importance of Measurement and Evaluation in Education
Measurement and evaluation in education have faced too much criticism. They’ve become a sort of controversy topic among educators. For example, some view them as a burden to the educational process, especially when considering their cost. Nelson Howard, in “Testing More, Teaching Less: What America’s Obsession with Student Testing Costs in Money and Lost Instructional Time,” by the American Federation of Teachers, says
Testing has spiraled out of control, and the related costs are unacceptably high and are taking their educational toll on students, teachers, principals and schools.
Nelson also explains that if we were to abandon measurement, assessment, and evaluation completely, we’d be adding from 20 to 40 minutes of education to every school for most grades.
This negative view of the assessment process as a whole essentially arises because Assessment is not employed correctly!
How to Employ Assessment the Right Way
Anthony Albano, Associate Professor Ph.D., Educational Psychology, University Of Minnesota BS, Psychology, Brigham Young University, comments on this, illustrating the problem in 2 points, in his research “Introduction to Educational and Psychological Measurement Using R,” 2018:
- Some educational institutions heavily rely on making too many tests, which if not done right take too much energy from the administration and teachers.
- They depend on tests that are irrelevant to what students already learned in class. This is a huge issue. The effort towards the assessment process sometimes isn’t directed right. By default, this means that the outcomes or results of the assessments performed are not accurate, since the actual objective of doing many of these assessments is to assess the performance of students compared to what they have learned.
Still, the importance of measurement and evaluation in education is evident in the way an educational institution performs. Measurement and evaluation mean a great deal of difference between a successful institution and another that needs more improvement. They are critical in providing information for top decision makers to enhance learning, teaching methods, curriculum, and student performance.
Going back in history, we can see evidence of measurement, assessment, and therefore evaluation done, although very basic. The earliest records of examination in education appear in the form of oral testing, an informal way assessment done back in the 5th century BC.
So many theories and educational practices have changed that. And with the amazing advancements made in edtech now, things aren’t the same anymore. Digitizing every part of the assessment process, based on modern educational theories, is now very easy. If you’d like to see how, reserve a FREE Demo for Qorrect assessment system right now!