Multiple measures in classroom assessment

Susan Brookhart explains the benefits of a ‘multiple measures’ approach to assessment

IN EDUCATION, THE TERM “MULTIPLE MEASURES” means basing a conclusion or a decision on more than one source of evidence. It should not be a surprise that multiple measures are important in education, because they certainly are in other areas. Have you ever been late for a doctor’s appointment, rushed in, and found your blood pressure was high? Would you expect your doctor to prescribe medication for high blood pressure based on that one reading? Or have you ever sat on a committee? Would you expect the committee to decide on its strategy based on the opinion of only one member? Of course not.

What we know
● Used wisely, multiple measures in classroom assessment yield richer, more accurate evidence about student achievement than single measures alone.
● For formative assessment of a learning goal, use a series of practice assignments or assessments over various aspects of the learning domain. Make sure students receive feedback (from teacher, peer, or self ) that moves learning forward.
● For summative assessment of students’ level of achievement of a learning goal, use several assessments that, taken together, better represent the expectations of the learning domain than one assessment could alone.

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Published

June 2011