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What is Evaluation?

Like assessment, evaluation is a process set in motion for the purpose of improving student achievement. Judgments are made about the quality of overall student performance. The process of evaluation provides a means for communicating student performance.

Evaluation of Inquiry in the Classroom

At some point, it becomes necessary to apply a score, grade, or value to student work. Determining what best reflects a student's performance goes well beyond the scoring issue.

Evaluation is the process of determining the score or grade. Evaluation is defined as determining the worth of or assigning a value to student achievement in relation to the targeted goal on the basis of careful examination and judgment.

Tools for Evaluation

Rubrics are very useful tools and can play three roles in supporting the inquiry process through evaluation. First, a rubric informs the student of clear expectations for the successful completion of the project. Well designed rubrics lay out the descriptors of quality that represent a well designed and completed project. Secondly, rubrics inform both the learner and instructor of the progress made during inquiry. The various categories in the rubric can act as benchmarks of progress and can pace students through the investigation. Finally, rubrics help students to formulate understandings of the characteristics of inquiry and how those characteristics fit together in a completed investigation.

Evaluating student inquiry can fall into three categories with corresponding rubrics.

  • Individual Investigations–where students work alone and are evaluated throughout the process.

  • Group Investigations–where a group is evaluated, which may include peer assessment.

  • Presentation–where only the complete project is evaluated.

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