Testing, Assessment and Standards in History, Geography and Social Sciences
Evaluation, a fundamental dimension of the educational process, is a continuous process that arises from the interaction between teaching and learning, and which allows the collection of relevant information on the levels of achievement of the various learning’s by the students and on possible modifications that is required to be introduced in the teaching process.
Some of the most important purposes of this process are:
Improve student learning.
Guide the teachers in the application of the curriculum.
Orientation on the adaptations required to introduce curricular design or teaching strategies to optimize the process.
To determine the strengths and weaknesses of the students, in order to attend the diversity of levels, rhythms and learning styles.
Guide students about the progress of their learning, the quality of their work and the direction they need to take in the future.
Understood as a systematic process, we can distinguish different types of evaluation:
Initial or diagnostic assessment: it corresponds to a pre - assessment in the teaching process. In general terms, it allows the teacher to evaluate the students' previous knowledge as well as the achievement of the necessary prerequisites. In History, Geography and Social Sciences, the initial assessment is particularly important, since students have a large amount of information from the environment, their personal experiences and the media. This prior knowledge are valuable to the process, although it must be borne in mind that they are often de-structured or decontextualized, or can lead to errors or prejudices.
Formative evaluation: is a continuous assessment that allows feedback and evaluate learning and reformulating the teaching - learning process under the development of students. All didactic activity is potentially an instrument of evaluation, since to the extent that it concludes in a feedback, always allows the teacher to obtain new information and the student to reach a greater awareness regarding their way of learning or the achievement of the objectives.
Summative assessment: is done at the end of a teaching-learning process and aims to obtain information on the progression of student learning and the level of achievement of the objectives. As in the formative evaluation, the use of several instruments is important.
The development of skills and the integration of new learning in students are progressive, and require multiple educational situations that allow them to fix learning reorganize and apply in different contexts. In this context, it is suggested to systematically evaluate the students from activities that lead them to establish relationships between the different learning’s; To develop strategies to solve problems or answer questions; To develop projects autonomously, creatively and rigorously; To interrogate the past and the present; To apply temporal and spatial skills; To take argued positions in case situations; And to reorganize and contrast information, among others. With these objectives in mind, multiple instruments can be used to contribute to the development and evaluation of these learning processes and to provide feedback on the teaching process (individual and group research, expositions, writing, oral and written tests, interviews, dramatizations, With different types of sources, elaboration of conceptual maps or graphic organizers, debates, RPGs, elaboration of models, analysis of images, personifications, games of strategy, etc.).
In addition, the variety of methodologies and didactic resources favors that all the students achieve the learning, since it allows attending to the different rhythms and styles of learning. It is necessary to keep in mind the specificity of the disciplines that make up the subject of History, Geography and Social Sciences, especially with reference to the conceptual and procedural nuclei that articulate them, since attitudes and dispositions have a more transversal character, although not for Less relevant.
Thus, when assessing, it should be considered that, by way of example, students are expected to progressively develop and demonstrate their ability to:
Understand and apply temporal and spatial notions and categories.
Contextualize spatially historical phenomena and represent geographic elements in a given space.
Read, analyze and obtain information from diverse sources.
Organize, synthesize and relate historical, geographic or social information.
Recognize the multiple causes of historical phenomena.
Identify elements of continuity and change.
Finally, it is important for the teacher to generate instances for students to apply self-assessment and co-evaluation, since it allows reinforcing attitudinal aspects (such as honesty, the ability to express criticism to peers constructively and self-criticism, And responsibility, among others) and to develop intellectual capacities (such as metacognitive skills).