Why students need comprehensive assessment

Comprehensive assessment allows teachers to assess students’ overall understanding of the curriculum or skill. / Net photos.

Comprehensive assessment entails assessing student’s understanding as a way of improving the teaching and learning process in general. 

Here, instructors and teachers use multiple strategies to gather and share information about the students’ weaknesses and strengths.




Phillip Ngabo, a mathematics teacher in Kigali, says comprehensive assessment allows teachers to assess students’ overall understanding of the curriculum or skill.


Apart from this, he says, it also boosts students learning through improved teaching strategies.

When teachers carry out comprehensive assessment, it helps them understand and identify where students may be struggling.

“When assessing learners, this is a key component because it helps them study. When students are able to see how they are doing in class, they are able to determine whether or not they understand the course work,” he says.

In order to prepare students for the workforce, they should experience society beyond the classroom.

Dr Andrew E Ivang from the Department of Clinical Biology – Huye campus, University of Rwanda, says assessing students helps motivate them.

For instance, he says that when learners are assessed and they perform or fail in certain areas, it gives them the morale to do more revision, thus better performance in the future.

Meanwhile, he notes that this is also beneficial to educators themselves as it guides them on what to focus on and where to improve.

Furthermore, the lecturer points out that assessment is also the key to good instruction.

“As educators, assessing our learners shows us what students know and allows us to adjust our instruction. Besides, it is also tied to learning goals and standards,” he says.

However, Ivang says students must own the assessment process as well, as they must be able to articulate what and how they are being assessed and its value as well.

The purpose of comprehensive assessment and evaluation is to accurately identify a student’s patterns of strengths and needs.

He further adds that comprehensive assessment is used in many different contexts for a variety of purposes.


Experts say when teaching at the undergraduate or graduate level, it is important for instructors to strategically evaluate the effectiveness of their instruction by measuring the extent to which students in the classroom are learning the course material.

Sylvain Bizirema, a science and chemistry teacher at Ecole des Sciences St Louis de Montfort in Nyanza District, says when assessing students, it’s important to use models that they are familiar with.

The models, he says, should be well known by not only learners but teachers as well. And so using these performance assessments to assess different learning outcomes is vital.

When this is done, he says, students are able to show some of their content and speech and listening standards around collaboration and effective presentation. 

“It allows students to choose how they will present their answers, therefore, easier understanding,” he adds.

Bizirema says that by doing so, it helps the educator to know where each of their students is in the learning process, as well as make instructional decisions. 

“Some students needed more one-to-one feedback, while others are ready to move forward. This helps the teacher make distinct decisions and work smarter through small-group instruction and whole-group instruction,” he says.


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