How To Assess Students

There are several reasons why a teacher needs to assess her students. Assessing students helps to determine how much they are learning and what they are struggling with. By assessing students, the teacher can help students achieve their academic goals for the year. There are many different ways that students can be assessed.

  1. Projects. This can be done individually or in a group. By giving a student a project and a length of time in order to do it, a teacher can assess how the student organizes time, generates problems, and solves those problems. By doing the project in a group, the teacher can also assess how students interact with others and how they participate in group settings. In order for the project to be a success in terms of assessing the student, the teacher must give clear instructions and deadlines.
  2. Open-ended response questions.  This involves the teacher or evaluator asking the student a question and the student giving the answer orally or by writing it down. This is an excellent way to evaluate the student's thought process.
  3. Performance-based. This type of assessment requires students to perform actions such as answering questions or doing specific activities. The most common way to do this is to ask students how they came up with the answers to a question and asking them to explain their thought processes orally or by writing short essays.
  4. Portfolios. This is an excellent way to assess a student's progress. The teacher will collect examples of the student's work over a period of time, and place it in a file. Sometimes a school has a portfolio of the student's work that spans several years. The teacher can then look through the portfolio to see if the student is improving, staying the same, or regressing. This is also an excellent way to show the parents how their child is doing in school. During a conference, a teacher can simply pull the child's portfolio with the proof of what the child has or has not been doing in class.
  5. Quiz or pop quiz. This assessment is usually done in the middle of a unit to see how students are doing with the material. A pop quiz is an excellent way to see if students paid attention in class that day or read the materials assigned to them.
  6. End of chapter/unit test. Most teachers use this type of assessment. This usually involves a multiple choice, short answer, essay, true/false, fill in the blank, or matching test to show how much the students learned from the materials that were just covered in the class.
  7. State assessments. All states have an end of the year test to assess how much students have learned. Each state also has a guide to show teachers how to interpret the test scores so that the teacher can assess how much the students learned. Many states use these tests to determine if the students are ready to go on to the next grade, and if they are, what kind of classes they need to be placed in for the next school year. Many schools are starting to recognize that some students simply do not test well, partially due to anxiety. Teachers are looking at those end of the year state assessments--as well as the other assessments listed above--to determine how much the students learned during the year.


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