Module 4 Commentary: Table of Specifications

Module 4: Assessment Planning and Construction; Reporting and Feedback


“In my two years’ experience as an educator, NOT ONCE have I done a Table of Specifications. It wasn’t introduced to me until this week. I find it HELPFUL for me as a teacher, and I think it would have been helpful to my students too…

At the beginning it may be troublesome, but when it becomes a habit and when the teachers learn it by heart, then AUTOMATICITY will be developed.”

 – by Benjienen Toledo– Friday, 17 July 2015, 9:56 PM

This struck me because I suddenly got concerned about the many teachers out there who may also be missing out on the benefits of the Table Specifications (TOS).

I believe that the TOS will actually make the teachers’ job easier. With the Table of Specifications as their guide, it will aid them to carefully and systematically design the testalign test items with the course objectivesensure that what will be tested is aligned with what was taughteasily identify what topics to include in the test and the corresponding number of items or points per topicensure that percentage of items in the test is parallel to the emphasis given to it during instructionproperly distribute the questions across the cognitive levels; and decide on the total number of test items considering the time.

The TOS can be used, together with lesson plans, to help the teacher truly align assessment with objectives, instruction, and outcomes.

Without the TOS, mismatches and issues of validity are likely to occur which will adversely affect the teachers’ performance and the students’ learning.


EDS 113 Module 4: Assessment Planning and Construction; Reporting and Feedback. Retrieved from

Module 3E Commentary: Differentiated Assessment

Module 3E. Differentiated Assessment

“It may take extensive time and energy on our part as teachers to implement it, but I think we are all aware of that reality of this noble profession we responded to. Indeed, the best things take time…”

– by Benjienen Toledo – Saturday, 11 July 2015, 2:48 PM


Yes, with differentiated learning, the good results will make all the hard work worthwhile. I’m sure it’s a tough job for teachers. We salute those who are already successfully implementing differentiated instruction/assessment!  Teachers need not only be equipped for this, they must really have the heart and commitment!


EDS 113 Module 3E: Differentiated Assessments. Retrieved from

Module 3D Commentary: Peer and Self Assessments

Module 3D. Peer and Self Assessments

“The main aims of self and peer assessment are to:

  • increase student responsibility and autonomy
  • strive for a more advanced and deeper understanding of the subject matter, skills and processes
  • lift the role and status of the student from passive learner to active leaner and assessor (This also encourages a deeper approach to learning)
  • involve students in critical reflection”

 -by Zenaida De Guzman – Saturday, 4 July 2015, 11:34 PM


Indeed, this is one of my favorite advantages of peer and self-assessment: It “involves students in critical reflection.” 

If every student will learn how to self-reflect and adjust their learning strategies accordingly, teachers can expect improvement after every assessment.


EDS 113 Module 3D: Peer and Self Assessments. Retrieved from



Module 3C Commentary: Alternative Assessment

Module 3C. Traditional and Alternative Assessments

“Hello classmates! Could you please enlighten me a bit between Formative and Alternative Assessments. I am quite confused. Are they similar or different at all?”

 -by Marissa Gascon – Sunday, 28 June 2015, 9:29 AM


Another one, needing clarification, and I’m happy to help.

Simply put, if alternative assessments (non-traditional) are used to guide and improve instruction and learning, then they are formative.

Alternative assessment can be used in a formative way (informs instruction and learning) or in a summative way (certifies learning).


EDS 113 Module 3C: Traditional and Alternative Assessments. Retrieved from


Module 3B Commentary: Pre-Test

Module 3B. Summative and Formative Assessments


“I would like to ask all of you wise and insightful classmates: Aside from explaining the purpose of the test to students, is there a way we can design pre-tests so as not to discourage those who have not yet learned the topics?”

– by Gemma Fernandez – Thursday, 11 June 2015, 2:59 PM

Again, this was an interesting question for me.

Here are some ways, I think, I will apply:

  • Do not label it as “test” – the term itself sends jitters to students
  • If my purpose is to know the areas that need to be taught, weak and strong areas of my students in general, then I will ask them to not write their names on their papers. Anonymity can solve the problem of anxiety. However, if I need to know who among my students need help, this will not work.
  • I’ll design a fun-game out of the pre-test.
  • Emphasize that it is not graded!


EDS 113 Module 3B: Summative and Formative Assessments. Retrieved from


Module 3A Commentary: Can Formal Assessment Be Formative?

Module 3A. Formal and Informal Assessments


“At my school, results from national examinations are used to make revisions in teaching. Since the tests are administered in the first trimester of the year and results come mid-year, there is plenty of time left to enhance the objectives and syllabi with topics from the “weak spots” revealed by the exam results. 

In this case, would we be able to say that this standardized test is a formative assessment?”

 – by Gaille Marie Olivia Ramos – Friday, 26 June 2015, 2:09 AM

After going over the readings, I gathered that:

  • All standardized tests are formal assessments, but not all formal assessments are standardized tests.
  • Formal assessments like standardized tests can be formative or summative depending on how the assessment data is interpreted. If data is used to inform or guide instruction, then it can qualify as formative; if data is used to evaluate students’ competency, rank or standing, then it is summative.

Let me share my answer to Gaille’s question.

Hi Gaille! If your national examinations (standardized tests) are used to refine teaching tools and methods, then they can be considered as formal-formative assessments. If any type of assessment (whether formal or informal, whether traditional or authentic) is used in a formative way, that is, to improve instruction, then yes, it is categorized as FORMATIVE. I hope I didn’t confuse you Gaille 🙂


EDS 113 Module 3A: Formal and Informal Assessments. Retrieved from

Module 2 Commentary: Assessment = Grades?

Module 2: Framework for Assessment of Student Learning

report card

“At first I thought that assessment is all about giving grades and evaluating if the student is capable to proceed to the next stage of learning.” 

– by Noel Angelo Andrade– Thursday, 21 May 2015, 9:55 PM

Like some of us, I also had misconceptions about assessment. I directly associated assessment with grades and hated the fact that students needed to be assessed just to come up with numerical grades after the course. I thought learning can be so much fun if students do not have to worry about grades. For me, grades do not define the person, hence assessment is not important. Well, that was a misconception.

Now, I appreciate assessment and its many purposes: assessment “for,” “as” and “of” learning. One of my favorites is that it actually helps us reflect, understand, and monitor our own learning, thereby, helping us make adjustments and direct our own learning; and that it helps us to also reflect, understand, and monitor own teaching strategies, thereby, helping us make adjustments and improvements in our teaching! Essentially, assessment helps us grow as students and teachers.


EDS 113 Module 2: Framework for Assessment of Student Learning. Retrieved from

Module 1 Commentary: Assessing Out-of-Pace Groups

Module 1: Assessment Basics


“I came across this question while reading some sources. I just want to know your thoughts on this. 

Q: Suppose you teach two class groups of the same age group with different socio-economic status. Let’s say the other group fails to keep up with the scheduled lesson objective for the class. In what way should you assess these students?

I am trying to deliberate some of my answers too. I find this question interesting and want to discover if we have common grounds of assessing individual or groups of students.”

– by Ivy Jane Jordan– Wednesday, 6 May 2015, 2:18 PM

This was an interesting question for most of us. Let me share my reply before and after studying the course.


I think it will be fair to give the same assessment tool to both groups. However, proper intervention should be given to those who are lagging behind. In my son’s school (special science school where learning pace is so fast and students are expected to perform well, and where the rich and the poor are of equal footing in terms of academic performance), free consultations and tutorials are given to those who are academically left behind. The class’ learning pace speeds up as usual, and those kids who need help just need to exert additional effort, with a lot of collaborative support from the school administration, the teachers, and the parents – through various program interventions (e.g. online tutorials; peer tutoring; teacher-student consultations; study-buddy system; guidance intervention; etc.).


Now that we’ve studied different types of assessment, I believe the answer to your question is: apply differentiated assessment! Design and employ differentiated assessment strategies that will help both the struggling group of learners and the advanced group with different backgrounds demonstrate best what they have learned! Ensure objectivity and fairness by employing clearly defined rubrics or criteria. Oh well, as a teacher, that’s what I’ll do (a challenge).


EDS 113 Module 1: Assessment Basics. Retrieved from