Explain the importance of using multiple sources of data in assessment.

After reading and thinking about this chapter, you will be able to:

• Explain the difference between assessment and testing.

• Explain the importance of using multiple sources of data in assessment.

• Distinguish among several learning theories by explaining their implications for assessment.

• Describe the implications of motivation theory for classroom assessment.

• Describe the importance of differentiated teaching and assessment.

The purpose of this chapter is to present assessment from the psychological and social foundations perspectives. Here we describe the theories developed by important thinkers and researchers in the field of learning, and we explain the implications that these theories have in creating effective classroom assessments so that you can appreciate the differences among your students. We ask you to think more broadly about assessment by posing the question, How do multiple assessment methods come together to present a truly authentic picture of student learning?

In foundations textbooks, students most often examine the historical, social, and philosophical foundations of education. The psychological perspective is often referred to as the fourth foundation. The psychological foundations perspective is no less important than the first three. As you will see in this chapter, a deeper understanding of how students learn forces us to think critically about how we plan, how we teach, and how we assess our students.

We understand that all students are different—they have different personal histories, they have different abilities, they have encountered teachers with different approaches to learning, and they have access to different resources. At the same time, there are characteristics that students share in how they learn that allow us to teach and assess appropriately. This chapter presents several ways of looking at learning and motivation—the psychological foundations perspective. By understanding this more thoroughly, we can improve our teaching and assessment of students.