5 Tips on Making Assessments Useful in Your Classroom
Assessment doesn’t have to be a “four letter word” in education. Assessments can be quite useful, informative, and purposeful when utilized properly. Unfortunately, assessments are often used to put a grade on a report card or as a district compliance measure that once given, the results are never analyzed.
- Create smaller, more frequent assessments
Assessments do not have to be summative as they do not allow time for the teacher to go back and reteach what their students missed. Creating smaller, more frequent assessments that serve as “checking for understanding” measures will help a teacher guide their instruction.
- Use assessment results to guide instruction
Assessment results should be used to create leveled groups within a classroom for the purpose or targeting student needs. Useful assessments can be broken down by standard / domain, allowing the teacher to design targeted instruction.
- Assessments don’t have to be a worksheet
Nothing sparks fear or boredom in a student more that a traditional paper / pencil test. Switch it up. Try introducing Project-Based Learning, oral reports, multi-media presentations, or demonstrations. There are students that will flourish on these types of assessments that would have performed poorly or traditional tests. Plus, it is more in line with what they will have to do as an adult. How often in your career do you sit down and bubble in a test or write short answer responses to questions.
- Assessment question types should be varied
Questions on assessments need to be diverse. Creating an assessment that have 30 multiple choice questions on it might be easy to score, but does it really measure a student’s depth of knowledge? Questions should be varied and include open-ended responses, inquiries, fact-finding, and defending. Get away from having students simply regurgitate answers. Questions should access higher-level Bloom’s Taxonomy and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge levels 3 and 4. However, I would also recommend scrapping the notion of a paper / pencil test altogether and go back to point #3 above.
- Communicate assessment scores with students and parents
Results should not be a secret. Ensure that scores are getting back to students and parents so that they are aware of the progress made and what needs to happen next.
Dr. David Franklin is an experienced school administrator, education professor, curriculum designer, and presenter. Dr. Franklin has presented at national and international education conferences as is available for school and district professional development sessions.