Posts Tagged ‘assessment ideas’


The following is from a lecture on assessments by Amanda Gunning of Teachers College, Columbia University.

In order to create a great assessment, choose your Bloom’s Taxonomy words that you are interested in assessing and create your assessment appropriately.

Assessment Needs To Be:

  • Applied to all students in a fair way
  • Clear; make your expectations transparent
  • Public
  • Easy to apply – something you can reasonably apply, assess, and return as soon as possible
  • Straightforward
  • Minimal subjectivity (unless desired)
  • Understood BEFORE the start of the task

NOTE: When handing back test grades, it is always helpful to give a hi, low, and/or average test score across the class as well as the other sections of that class.

Informal Assessments:

  • Response Cards or Clickers: ask questions and have students respond by holding up the appropriate card. Some examples would be colors (green = I understand, red = I am confused) or numbers/letters for multiple choice questions
  • Calling Out All At Once – gets kids all involved without being intimidating
  • Raising Hands
  • Visiting Groups
  • Quick Group Reports
  • Present Answers on the Board
  • Mini white/chalk boards – you can buy shower stall walls at Home Depot and cut it to size for cheap white boards or white paper in page protectors with dry erase markers
  • Discussion

Formal Assessments:

  • Work to hand in
  • Tests (individual, partners, or groups)
  • Projects
  • Portfolios
  • Presentations
  • Reflections
  • Lab Report

Things to Consider:

  • Appropriate for the material addressed/classroom experience.
  • It will take the kids 2 to 3 times as long to complete an assessment as it would take you
  • Ability of students to be successful.
  • Assessment Time v. Instructional Time – every time you have a test or other assessment, you are sacrificing instructional time.
  • Useful for student practice – is a multiple choice test always the best way to assess? What do students need to know upon leaving your class? It might be most important for students to develop presentation skills, etc. and not develop test taking skills.

NOTE: If you are using the same assessment every year, be sure to check it over before teaching the material so you don’t test the kids on something you never taught!


  • Fosters success
  • Helps the teacher be objective
  • Puts students in control – grading is transparent
  • Need to be explained
  • Need to be used – if you make a rubric, USE IT!
  • Need to be practiced so students understand and make the most of the rubric

Uses for Rubrics:

  • Everyday behavior – e.g. rubric for free body diagrams in Physics
  • Lab – experiment and/or report
  • Homework
  • Etc.

Types of Rubrics:

  • Holistic – Quick, looks at a single dimension of a student’s skill or ability
  • Analytical – The most common type of rubric

Student Teaching Week 1

I apologize for the lack of blogging. That’s all about to change since I’ve started student teaching and my last semester of graduate school!

For my first week of high school student teaching (actually, only two days), I observed the Physics students’ midterm presentations. They were given the assignment to pick a topic related to what they studied first semester and create a presentation in small groups that covered conceptual questions, mathematical questions, historical and content background, and real world applications relating to their topic. The presentations I sat in on covered the following topics:

  • Hang Gliding (including lift and drag)
  • Momentum (with a video of a Rube Goldberg contraption)
  • Mechanical Energy & Windmills
  • Physics of Baseball
  • Physics of Volleyball
  • Physics of Football and the Work Involved
  • Physics of Soccer
  • Newton’s Laws & Roller Coasters
  • Energy & Momentum of Ninjas (they discussed impulse and how more or less force and time change the effectiveness of martial arts and the elastic potential energy in the Yumi – a ninja’s crossbow-like weapon)
  • Physics of Falling People (including scenes from Get Smart to show the effect of changing surface areas)
  • Catapults (a look at midievil and modern catapults)
  • Physics of Superheros (this was great! They associated the coefficient of friction with Spiderman’s spiderhairs for climbing and discussed tension on a string with Batman’s Bat-A-Rang)

It was really fun to get to know students through their presentations and has provided a natural way for me to start asking them questions and assume a role within the classroom. They gave me lots of ideas for new lesson plans, which is handy since I’m required to write one a week for my student teaching seminar.

There was one really funny moment when I asked one of the roller coaster presentations a question at the end. I asked them if they thought it was possible to construct a roller coaster in an infinite loop where the coaster could go around an infinite number of times, providing it started at a place where the potential energy was greatest. I quickly realized my cooperating teacher had forgotten to introduce me when a student (not even one presenting) starting to explain Physics to me – he told me what potential and kinetic energies was and illustrated it with a bouncing ball, describing each successive bounce of the ball as “losing” potential energy. Therefore, he reasoned, the roller coaster couldn’t go infinitely because energy cannot be created. I tried so hard not to giggle and just smiled and nodded. I’m still laughing since he was so excited to teach that random lady in the corner Physics. I’ll be interested in seeing all their faces when the new semester starts and they realized I’m their student teacher :)

I’m wondering how many of you have had students who were convinced they have more content knowledge than you. How do you handle it?