So…am I doing an assessment…or am I doing an evaluation? How does one know the difference when creating a lesson plan? Assessment is a means of gauging your participant’s learning. It can be an assessment that is done sporadically throughout your lesson or something that can be assessed at the end of your lesson. That is the great part of being an educator- we have the flexibility to decide where we want to input the assessment(s) based on what (as educators) expect our participants to know.
A way of assessing student learning is by using Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs). Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) are a set of specific activities that instructors can use to quickly gauge students’ comprehension. They are generally used to assess students’ understanding of material in the current course, but with minor modifications they can also be used to gauge students’ knowledge coming into a course or program.
CATs are meant to provide immediate feedback about the entire class’s level of understanding, not individual students’. The instructor can use this feedback to inform instruction, such as speeding up or slowing the pace of a lecture or explicitly addressing areas of confusion.
An evaluation, on the other hand, is similar to an assessment, but not quite so. Evaluations are more summative in nature and gauges what is being taught as well as the performance of the educator/facilitator. Evaluations also determine if the educator needs to make any necessary changes to the lesson and/or how they as the educator needs to facilitate and deliver the lesson.
Planned Parenthood is an example of an organization that depends on program evaluation in order to successfully implement their sexuality education programs. In addition, evaluation determines whether the programs being implemented are effective.
Below are some additional resources to help distinguish the difference between these two important, but often confused terms: