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What is a Learning Assessment?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 30 October 2016
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A learning assessment refers to the measurement of a student's capabilities, progress and academic outcome. Learning assessments are important because both students and teachers can get a clear picture of what a student can do academically rather than what he or she can't do. When conducting a learning assessment, instructors consider past and present academic performances as well as the student's values, behaviors and attitudes toward learning.

Difficulties that may arise during a learning assessment include trying to analyze abstract qualities such as critical thinking and creativity. Instructors overcome assessment problems by looking at how the student expresses and communicates ideas whether it is numerical, visual or verbal in format. A mastery of course content is usually simple to assess and this is a clear indication of academic learning performance. Yet all sources of learning achievement are analyzed in learning assessments rather than just school classroom lesson mastery.

When conducting a learning assessment, the student's preferred learning style is taken into account. Assessing instructors must also consider cultural differences and first language differences. By understanding how well students learn, teaching methods can be adjusted to better meet student need.

Teachers can receive a clearer picture of how learning outcomes relate to lesson objectives. Students can become more involved in their learning by contemplating and applying their assessment outcomes. Learning assessments can help students create their own self assessment that may motivate them to make adjustments to meet their hopes for a future career.

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One of the most important learning assessment tools is determining a student's non-academic learning outcome. This includes how they feel about learning and what they value learning about. This may be done by interviewing the student or other instructors for further feedback. A student's behavior and attitude toward learning is also taken into consideration during assessments. All attitudes toward learning are important since negative ones may impede successful student outcomes.

If barriers to learning such as poor attitudes are identified, instructors can more easily work on motivating and encouraging students to learn more successfully. A student's learning style is important when motivation and encouragement are applied with the intent of fostering attitudes more conducive to learning. By understanding how a student learns best and where his or her interests are, lessons can be better targeted to increase learning success.

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