Guidelines for Developing and Using Different Methods
These assessment strategies provide valuable information to both teachers and students. Each strategy offers unique methods and instruments. The key is to understand their different purposes, how they can be structured, and finally, what to do with the results. Assessment strategies can be broken into five main categories. It is not necessary to use all methods within a category, but all categories should be included in an assessment plan.
Strategies for Gauging Student Needs >
Use these strategies prior to instruction to help determine a student’s background experiences, skills, attitudes, and misconceptions. These strategies help to assess each student’s learning needs and assist students in making connections between what they already know (prior knowledge) and what they will be learning.
Strategies for Encouraging Self-Direction and Collaboration >
Use these strategies to assess the ability of students to take ownership of their learning, demonstrate interpersonal skills, produce higher-quality work, understand feedback, and assess classmates' work.
Strategies for Monitoring Progress >
Use these strategies to help students stay on-track during a project. Students become more self-managing when they are provided with these assessment methods and instruments as they complete open-ended tasks. These strategies also assist in determining when and where students need extra help or additional instruction. Many of these strategies provide documentation of learning growth over time.
Strategies for Checking for Understanding and Encouraging Metacognition >
Use these strategies to check for student understanding as they progress through the project. Students also use these strategies to think about their own learning. The same method can be used for both purposes, but it is important to provide explicit questions and prompts to help students think about what and how they are learning.
Strategies for Demonstrating Understanding and Skill >
Use these strategies to assess student understanding and skill at the end of the project. Two different types of strategies are in this category:
- Products and performances
- Portfolios and student-led conferences
Products are things that students create, sometimes known as artifacts. Performances are things that students do. Portfolios are the purposeful collection of products and performances over time that exhibit the student's efforts, progress, and achievements while student-led conferences are the means by which students share portfolios, samples of their work, and discuss their interests, learning, and goals.