Mary McGee Wood - Assessment and Feedback - Training and Consultancy

Students to teachers

When teachers know how students are progressing and where they are having trouble, they can use this information to make necessary instructional adjustments, such as reteaching, trying alternative instructional approaches, or offering more opportunities for practice. These activities can lead to improved student success.
... over the course of a year, teachers can build in many opportunities to assess how students are learning and then use this information to make beneficial changes in instruction.

Carol Boston, The Concept of Formative Assessment

If "the proof of the pudding is in the eating", the proof of teaching is in the marking. There is no more accurate and honest measure of the effectiveness of your teaching than your students' understanding - measured, as best you can devise, by your assessments.

(Incidentally, one advantage of e-assessment is that one can easily keep a copy of students' work and analyse it at leisure, so that one's teaching material can be revised each year in response to the previous year's student response. Theoretically it would be possible to retrieve a stack of exam scripts from a store-room and do this, but one doesn't.)

Clearly this sort of thing goes much further than the student surveys and satisfaction questionnaires which have begun to receive a good deal of attention. Personally, I used to find these a very blunt and biassed instrument, depressingly revealing of some students' aversion to Thinking and addiction to Marks. Of course I enjoyed getting high marks for entertainment value (aka "lecture quality"), but unless that correlated with good assessment performance, I knew that I was doing something wrong, and that something had to change.