Assessment: Assessing As We Go

When I first heard the term “assessment,” I imagined rows of students silently taking a quiz.  To me, it was the unfortunate side effect of real teaching.  I asked a professor how often I should assess and she answered, “Every day.” 

“So you want me to have kids take quizzes every day?” I asked.

“No, sometimes it could be a short quiz or an exit card.  Other times, it involves simply observing and offering simple feedback.  Teaching without assessing is like talking without listening.”

So, what does it mean to assess constantly? I imagine it as a bit of a cycle.  Not perfectly cyclical, but certainly leading toward a cycle.  I teach (or they construct their own learning) and I assess.  I use that data to help inform instruction again.  Perhaps the cycle is a little too formulaic.  Maybe it’s messier than that.

The following are some examples of quick strategies for ongoing assessment:

Ask yourself ahead of time what skill you want to see or what concept you want to focus on and then check throughout the class period for evidence of it.  Use short, thirty-second responses when you need to offer feedback.   

Set up a grid where you can checkmark if students “get it” with a certain skill and then plan a method of intervention for those who didn’t get it 

Walk around during group work and simply listen – sometimes assessment is necessary for a teacher to shape instruction but is not crucial for students to change their thinking (just yet).  In other words, too much feedback makes a teacher a nag. 

Use student-teacher conference to lead in reflective assessment. 

Use quick pair-share and round robin activities to get students to do their own self-assessment verbally.   

Use Google Forms for easy exit tickets. 

photo credit: Pavel P. via photopin cc

John Spencer

My goal is simple. I want to make something each day. Sometimes I make things. Sometimes I make a difference. On a good day, I get to do both.

More about John

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *