Although assessment can be the subject of a far-reaching discussion, it will be described here in terms of indicators for parent-child literacy activities in an incarcerated setting. Generally, assessment makes the educational process complete by:
As noted earlier, family literacy activities begin with the establishment of adult learners goals for themselves and their families. Based on these goals, instruction is structured by measurable performance indicators or outcomes. For example, if parents want to help their children with homework, their instruction would be structured within the context of that activity.
As instruction occurs, how someone progresses in literacy is often characterized as a highly complex process. It need not be. Rather, it is simply a systematic method for determining the skills a learner possesses and whether instruction has been successful. For example, assessment might occur after 100 hours of family literacy participation to measure participant gain. A variety of methods number of books read with children, increased participation in other programs, library visits, etc. could be used to make this assessment.
From standardized testing to portfolio or other authentic assessment, any number of techniques are available to determine the success of instruction. Traditionally, educators have regarded standardized testing, either norm-referenced or criterion-referenced, as the primary mode of assessment. Thankfully, authentic, performance-based assessments, such as portfolios, have become increasingly accepted as valuable measures.(10) Both traditional and authentic (or performance-based) assessments are de-scribed below.
10 The New York State Interagency Assessment Work Group, A Guide for Developing High Quality, Comprehensive Assessment (Albany, NY: New York State Education Department.)
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