Understanding Assessment, Planning, Instruction, and Evaluation

The terms "assessment" and "evaluation" sometimes get used interchangeably. Other times, they refer more specifically to front-end assessments and back-end evaluations. The goal of each, however, is to collect information (data) that will help ground a team's thinking and coordination of services in proven strategies that are a good fit for the child's needs.

Identifying, implementing, or innovating best practices is a major basis for conducting assessments in healthcare, education, and social service. Best practices are commonly thought to be "data-driven" and "evidence-based". Data-driven means something has been measured appropriately enough times by enough people. Evidence-based means something has been tried and shown to offer consistent outcomes over a large enough pool of individuals during a long enough period of time.

Assessments may fall into a variety of categories, such as cognitive, language, educational, social. For learners with low vision, using assessments that address tactile exploration, pre-Braille skills, literacy, daily living skills, mobility and more help everyone plan meaningful instruction. For those with hearing loss, language assessments in sign language or ASL and hearing assessments conducted by audiologists are critical.

For each category, there are numerous tests that can be administered and each one is developed with a refined focus. The school team will be using assessment to drive instruction for students. Assessment guides planning, and evaluation measures the impact of that instruction on learner success.

In Ohio, the Ohio Learning Standards, the Ohio Learning Standard Extended and the Ohio Improvement Process provide the framework for assessment, planning, instruction, and evaluation. For additional information please visit OCALI's Teaching Diverse Learners website.