6 Ways to Ensure Your Assessment Practices Are Fair and Unbiased


What comes to your mind when you hear assessments? End-of-course- exams or midterm tests are the standardized exams that are used as a part of summative grading purposes. But that is just one aspect; in the classroom teachers employ many ways to assess students which are also referred to as formative assessment. Since this is conducted on an ongoing basis it gives the opportunity to improve the student’s learning process. 

Online assessment has gained the same position or reputation as traditional examination; circumstances have led to the former being the most preferred one. In such a situation challenges of educators have increased because they need to figure out a way to integrate an effective examination system online. Apart from identifying the current understanding of students both individually as well as group, it is imperative to come up with appropriate steps for instruction. 

How to conduct assessments online or offline in a fair manner?  Often times there are complaints regarding certain teachers who seem to favor some students, while others suffer discriminatory behavior. It is not unheard of when a teachers’ practices are brought into question after noticing the lackluster academic performance of a particular class. 

Let us take look at a few steps that could help you to conduct assessments in a fair and unbiased manner : 

Innovative classroom assessment practices 

One of the primary ways teachers assess a students’ existing knowledge is by calling out his or her name and then followed by asking him a question. This has been a tried and tested method used for the longest time, it has only proven to be useful for those who have prepared well beforehand. But what about those who are not familiar with the question? Don’t they deserve a chance? 

Transforming the question and answer session into an opportunity to allow students to discuss is an innovative step. As per this, the teacher can pair up students and encourage them to expand on their ideas in relation to the posited question. Then the teacher could proceed to select anyone randomly and ask them to answer, upon hearing of which, he or she should refrain from labeling it wrong or right. 

Instead asking the learner to give relevant reasons for his/her response is the right move, while others could be asked to give their views if they agree or disagree. This will not only ensure that each student is participating in the class activity but also help to start up healthy discussions. 

Careful planning of assessments 

  • What are the learning goals? 
  • What is the present state of the learner? 
  • Plan of action to close the gap between the two previous factors? 

These are three components that you need to keep in mind in order to create an enriching experience for students. It is noteworthy to mention that these three elements are directly connected to assessment, curriculum, and instruction. They have a dynamic relationship and bi-directional interaction between these three leads to formulating assessment procedures in sync with learning goals. 

After gaining clarity over curriculum goals necessary steps are to be taken to develop assessments that would serve to enhance the knowledge of the learners. 

Easy to understand assignments and projects 

How many times have you come across a student who was unable to provide a proper response only because he/she did not understand?

No matter how elaborate the assignment is, the leading questions or main objectives should be easy to understand. Questions should provide the learner the opportunity to develop problem-solving and reasoning competencies in various subject domains. To accomplish this the teachers themselves should possess the knowledge of cognitive theories and how people learn the particular subject matter. 

Avoid being biased 

In a class, there are students of different socio-economic backgrounds, as an educator, it is your duty to ensure that everyone feels inclusive and safe. Hence creating questions and discussion boards about various geo-political areas through regular classes or an online examination system is a novel step. 

Even when it comes to gender equality, it is imperative to make sure that both girls and boys get the chance to represent themselves. 

Review of assessment tools 

This is perhaps the easiest way to ensure that assessments are conducted in an objective and non-biased way. Asking peers or people from the teacher’s committee to analyze the tools which you use in the classroom will not only help you to provide helpful insight from them but also indicate unbiased behavior. 

Large-scale assessment tools 

Large-scale assessment tools are usually implemented by educators to bring out a significant change in the learning structure. But a wise decision would be to try out the assessment tool with a group of students and then launch it on a larger scale. 

In conclusion 

Strategies need to be developed after reviewing student thinking and performance based on which assessments can be created. Apart from maintaining the integrity of the assessments the instructor’s job is to make sure he/she keeps no preconceived notions or has any bias towards any student.