40 Alternative Assessment Ideas for Learning When people think of assessment, pencils and bubble sheets may be the first things that come to mind. Assessment does not always have to involve paper and pencil, but can instead be a project, an observation, or a task that shows a student has learned the material. In the end, all we really want to know is that the skill was mastered, right? Why not make it fun and engaging for students as well? Many teachers shy away from alternative assessments because they take extra time and effort to create and to grade. On the other hand, once the assessment guidelines and grading rubric are created, it can be filed away and used year after year. The project card and rubric can be run on card stock (one on each side of the page), laminated, and hole punched with other alternative assessment ideas. Here are 40 alternative assessment ideas to get you started! Alternative Reading Assessments 1. Create a bookmark to match the theme of the last book read. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Alternative Writing Assessments
Brown Bag Exams: A Creative Way to Assess Learning | Unlocking the Past: Reading, Writing, and History for Adolescents & Teens Denise Ousley-Exum, PhD developed the Brown Bag Exam to address the disconnect that she and her students were experiencing between instruction and assessment. She had strategies that engaged students in reading and writing and used instruction to connect the literature to students' lives. However, she lacked assessments that matched the activities students had enjoyed. She knew that the majority of students had gotten the reading, but that same majority of students were failing the test. Her tests showed what students didn't know, not what they had read, learned, or gained. About Brown Bag Exams A Brown Bag Exam uses found objects and images to help students activate prior knowledge and creates a framework for students to express their understanding. A typical Brown Bag Exam follows five steps: First, students open their bags, puzzle for a few seconds over the item(s), and then brainstorm a list of the connections they see among their Brown Bag item(s) and the reading. Back to Top Dr.
edutopia Self-reflection is self-assessment, and one of the most significant learning tools we can model for our students. Ultimately, we want our children and adolescents to be the self-assessors of their work, dispositions, and goals. Research repeatedly reports that the difference between good teachers and superior teachers is that superior teachers self-reflect. The brain is wired for this strategy, and it has been a part of our evolution. When we teach to a child's or adolescent's brain, we empower that student with the "inner resources" that directly affect his or her ability to pay attention, engage, and create meaningful learning experiences. Simply stated, when the brain feels any type of a threat (emotional, social, or cognitive stress) the thinking part shuts down. The following self-assessment survey, created for students and educators, provides questions that address short- and long-term goals. Big Goals Daily Goals Questions for Self-Assessment What do I need?
5 Research-Based Tips for Providing Students with Meaningful Feedback In recent years, research has confirmed what most teachers already knew: Providing students with meaningful feedback can greatly enhance their learning and achievement. Professor James Pennebaker from the University of Texas at Austin has been researching the benefits of frequent testing and the feedback it leads to. He explains that in the history of the study of learning, the role of feedback has always been central: “When people are trying to learn new skills, they must get some information that tells them whether or not they are doing the right thing. Learning in the classroom is no exception. Both the mastery of content and, more importantly, the mastery of how to think require trial-and-error learning.” The downside, of course, is that not all feedback is equally effective, and it can even be counterproductive, especially if it’s presented in a solely negative or corrective way. So what exactly are the most effective ways to use feedback in educational settings? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Criterion- vs. Norm-Referenced Tests Source: Huitt, W. (1996). Measurement and evaluation: Criterion- versus norm-referenced testing. Educational Psychology Interactive. Return to: | Measurement & Evaluation | EdPsyc Interactive: Courses | Many educators and members of the public fail to grasp the distinctions between criterion-referenced and norm-referenced testing. The following is adapted from: Popham, J. The differences outlined are discussed in many texts on testing. Additional resources: Bond, L. (1996). Return to: | Measurement & Evaluation | EdPsycInteractive: Courses | Home Page | All materials on this website [ are, unless otherwise stated, the property of William G.
Dipsticks: Efficient Ways to Check for Understanding What strategy can double student learning gains? According to 250 empirical studies, the answer is formative assessment, defined by Bill Younglove as “the frequent, interactive checking of student progress and understanding in order to identify learning needs and adjust teaching appropriately.” Unlike summative assessment, which evaluates student learning according to a benchmark, formative assessment monitors student understanding so that kids are always aware of their academic strengths and learning gaps. It also helps teachers improve the effectiveness of their instruction. Alternative formative assessment (AFA) strategies can be as simple (and important) as checking the oil in your car—hence the name “dipsticks.” You can find another 53 ways to check for understanding toward the end of this post and as a downloadable document. Observation: A Key Practice in Alternative Formative Assessment A fundamental element of most AFAs is observation. New to Alternative Formative Assessment?
Examples of Rubrics - University of Wisconsin Stout Examples of Rubrics Grading rubrics precisely describe performance expectations. Rubrics offer explicit criteria to help students meet learning objectives. Rubrics also make meaningful feedback and evaluation more efficient. The sample rubrics below address discussion, eportfolios, group projects, blogs, wikis, and more! Learn more about rubrics and alternative assessments in our Online Courses, Online Certificate Programs, and Graduate Degree Presentation Rubrics Podcast RubricAnn Bell's rubric helps students assess what makes a good podcast. PowerPoint Rubric10 performance categories Oral Presentation Rubric (Word doc) VoiceThread Participation Rubric (pdf)Michelle Pacansky-Brock's general formative assessment is used when students view a mini video lecture/presentation. Oral Presentation Checklist4Teachers.org provides an online tool to customize the checklist for your grade level Oral PresentationMidlink Magazine's assessment of 6 performance areas (middle school) Poster Rubric Quick Rubric
Rubrics - Teaching Excellence What are Rubrics? A rubric is a scoring tool that explicitly represents the performance expectations for an assignment or piece of work. A rubric divides the assigned work into component parts and provides clear descriptions of the characteristics of the work associated with each component, at varying levels of mastery. Rubrics can be used for a wide array of assignments: papers, projects, oral presentations, artistic performances, group projects, etc. Rubrics can be used as scoring or grading guides, to provide formative feedback to support and guide ongoing learning efforts, or both. Advantages of Using Rubrics Using a rubric provides several advantages to both instructors and students. Used more formatively, rubrics can help instructors get a clearer picture of the strengths and weaknesses of their class. Grading rubrics are also valuable to students. Examples of Rubrics Here are links to a diverse set of rubrics designed by Carnegie Mellon faculty and faculty at other institutions.
Fantastic, Fast Formative Assessment Tools “We’ve got this, it’s easy,” they said. “Can we move on?” I looked at the other students and asked, “Do you have this?” They nodded their heads furiously up and down in a yes. My teacher instincts said that everyone knew it, but I decided to experiment, so I wrote a problem on the board. I was floored. I taught for another few minutes and gave them another problem. But the end result was not what you think. I was sold on formative assessment. Good teachers in every subject will adjust their teaching based on what students know at each point. Formative Assessment Toolkit Learn the strengths and weaknesses of each tool. 1. The advantage of Socrative is that it gives me percentages that I can use as a grade if we’re ready for that. Formative is another tool in this category, with some different advantages. 2. I knew Kahoot was a winner when I finished 10 minutes early on the last day of school and my class asked to play SAT vocab review with it. 3. 4. 5. No More Surprises
Part 1: Over 35 Formative Assessment Tools To Enhance Formative Learning Opportunities I have often reflected on the idea of formative assessment. In my reflection I have come up with several main ideas. First, this is a practice that has always been a part of good teaching. Second, it may be better stated as formative learning since I view assessment as a part of the overall learning experience. Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs. Quick Note – You are invited to join myself along with others at PBS Learning Media For a Free Webinar entitled, How to Leverage Digital Media in 1:1 Classrooms, on Wednesday August 19 at 7 PM EDT. Part 1: Over 35 Formative Assessment Tools To Enhance Formative Learning Opportunities What really is formative assessment? This causes me to reflect on the idea of digging deeper into the idea of what formative assessment really is. Yes… let’s look at the whole definition… one that cannot be read just half way through. Remember that technology does not provide the facilitation, people do. Like this:
Should I teach problem-, project- or inquiry-based learning? Lately, there have been a bunch of buzzwords floating around the education world that all seem to mean the same thing. You’ve probably heard them: problem-based learning, project-based learning and inquiry-based learning. Is there a difference? First, let’s start with what they have in common. So you know you want to try one of these teaching methods, but how do you decide which one? Project-based learning Definition: Students create a written, oral, visual or multimedia project with an authentic audience and purpose. Problem-based learning Definition: Students investigate and solve a real-world problem. Inquiry-based learning Definition: Students explore a question in-depth and ask further questions to gather knowledge. How are you doing these types of learning experiences in your classroom? Lauren Davis is a former English teacher.
Project, Problem, and Inquiry-Based Learning What are problem, project, and inquiry based learning? How are these approaches alike and different? How do I choose the best approach for my technology-rich classroom? A project-based approach is enjoyable for everyone involved. Read Start With the Pyramid from Edutopia. Explore the Approaches Project-based learning, problem-based learning, and inquiry-based learning all three closely relate to the information processing approach. Read Introducing Project-Based Learning from Edutopia. Be sure to read all eight pages. Project-based Learning An approach to learning focusing on developing a product or creation. Problem-based Learning An approach to learning focusing on the process of solving a problem and acquiring knowledge. Explore the following websites as needed for more information: Inquiry-based Learning A student-centered, active learning approach focusing on questioning, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Information Inquiry for Teachers Inquiry-based Learning. The "Best" Approach
Project-Based Learning vs. Problem-Based Learning vs. X-BL At the Buck Institute for Education (BIE), we've been keeping a list of the many types of "_____- based learning" we've run across over the years: Case-based learning Challenge-based learning Community-based learning Design-based learning Game-based learning Inquiry-based learning Land-based learning Passion-based learning Place-based learning Problem-based learning Proficiency-based learning Service-based learning Studio-based learning Team-based learning Work-based learning . . . and our new fave . . . Zombie-based learning (look it up!) Let's Try to Sort This Out The term "project learning" derives from the work of John Dewey and dates back to William Kilpatrick, who first used the term in 1918. Designing and/or creating a tangible product, performance or event Solving a real-world problem (may be simulated or fully authentic) Investigating a topic or issue to develop an answer to an open-ended question Problem-Based Learning vs. Problem-based learning typically follow prescribed steps:
5 Powerful Questions Teachers Can Ask Students My first year teaching, a literacy coach came to observe my classroom. After the students left, she commented on how I asked the whole class a question, would wait just a few seconds, and then answer it myself. "It's cute," she added. Um, I don't think she thought it was so cute. I think she was treading lightly on the ever-so shaky ego of a brand-new teacher while still giving me some very necessary feedback. So that day, I learned about wait/think time. Many would agree that for inquiry to be alive and well in a classroom that, amongst other things, the teacher needs to be expert at asking strategic questions, and not only asking well-designed ones, but ones that will also lead students to questions of their own. Keeping It Simple I also learned over the years that asking straightforward, simply-worded questions can be just as effective as those intricate ones. #1. This question interrupts us from telling too much. #2. #3. #4. #5. How do you ask questions in your classroom?