Testing vs. Assessing


“Testing vs. Assessing? Wait a minute! Is there a difference?”

If you have ever asked this question, then I am glad. I am glad because I was not the only one.

Before college and taking the course module Assessment at Casa Thomas Jefferson, I would have never imagined that there was a distinction between these two ways of checking on our students’ learning.

The fascinating thing about testing and assessing is that once you learn their differences, your teaching as well as your students’ learning turns out to have a big improvement.

What do you think you are doing with your students? Are you testing or assessing them?

If you said both, you are on the right track!

Sometimes what happens is that teachers constantly do the two things. I mean, they test and assess their students at the same time. However, because of whatever reasons, they do not know what kind of process they are doing. They do not have the theoretical background that would help them recognize one from the other.

My aim today is to show you that the difference between these two words is not something out of this world.

Are you ready? Let’s do it! Let’s start with testing. Take a look at the picture below:


As you can see in the picture, testing is connected to assessment. Therefore, testing is a kind of assessment. We usually use tests at the end of courses, units and so on to measure how much students have learned the subject. The result will be a final grade.

On the other hand, assessment is considered as an ongoing process which occurs all the time in the classroom. For example:

Teacher with children in classroom, boys and girls in school

Pay attention to what the teacher is asking! What he is doing is called assessment. He is trying to check if students were able to do the exercise. Also notice that even though he is assessing his students, there is no final grade at the end. It’s just an ongoing process to check how well he is teaching and how well his students are acquiring knowledge.

Did you get it? I told you it was not something out of this world! Remember that the example given for assessment is just one of the possibilities of doing it. There is a variety of ways in which you can assess your students without grading them.

What about now? Are you testing and assessing your students? Or are you just testing them?

I hope you have enjoyed the reading. See you soon!



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