Popular K-12 Classroom Assessment Techniques Teachers Need to Know

Popular K-12 Classroom Assessment Techniques Teachers Need to Know

The process of gathering information in regard to the acquisition of knowledge by a student and retainment of the content after the delivery of instruction by the educator is classroom assessment.

Various assessment techniques are used by educators to gather the information on how much students are being able to understand or to analyze the performance of students as well as themselves in order to improve the delivery of instruction. Assessment in the classroom is essential as it can also help to identify students' learning needs. Teachers set specific criteria based on learning outcomes and expected levels of performance to evaluate students' learning.

Classroom assessment techniques are generally simple, non-graded, anonymous, in-class activities designed to give educators and the students’ useful feedback on the teaching-learning process as it is happening.

Pointers below highlights the importance of classroom assessment that teachers need to know:

- Provide just-in-time feedback about the teaching-learning process.

- Provide information about student learning with less work than traditional assignments (tests, papers, etc.).

- Encourage the view that teaching is an ongoing process of inquiry, experimentation, and reflection.

- Help students become better monitors of their own learning.

- Help students feel less anonymous, even in large courses.

- Provide concrete evidence that the instructor cares about learning.

In this post, after straining research I’ve gathered various assessment techniques (the best ones) for teachers that they can use as per the classroom/student needs:

The Background Knowledge Probe is a short, simple questionnaire given to students at the start of a course, or before the introduction of a new unit, lesson or topic. It is designed to uncover students’ pre-conceptions.

The Minute Paper tests how students are gaining knowledge, or not. The instructor ends class by asking students to write a brief response to the following questions: “What was the most important thing you learned during this class?” and “What important question remains unanswered?”

The Muddiest Point is one of the simplest Classroom Assessment Techniques to help assess where students are having difficulties. The technique consists of asking students to jot down a quick response to one question: “What was the muddiest point in [the lecture, discussion, homework assignment, film, etc.]?” The term “muddiest” means “most unclear” or “most confusing.”

The What’s the Principle? Classroom Assessment Techniques is useful in courses requiring problem-solving. After students figure out what type of problem they are dealing with, they often must decide what principle(s) to apply in order to solve the problem. This technique provides students with a few problems and asks them to state the principle that best applies to each problem.

Defining Features Matrix: Prepare a handout with a matrix of three columns and several rows.  At the top of the first two columns, list two distinct concepts that have potentially confusing similarities (e.g. hurricanes vs. tornados, Picasso vs. Matisse).  In the third column, list the important characteristics of both concepts in no particular order.  Give your students the handout and have them use the matrix to identify which characteristics belong to each of the two concepts.  Collect their responses and you’ll quickly find out which characteristics are giving your students the most trouble.

Problem Recognition Tasks requires to identify a set of problems that can be solved most effectively by only one of a few methods that you are teaching in the class. Ask students to identify by name which methods best fit which problems without actually solving the problems. This task works best when only one method can be used for each problem.

Documented Problem Solutions Choose one to three problems and ask students to write down all of the steps they would take in solving them with an explanation of each step. Consider using this method as an assessment of problem-solving skills at the beginning of the course or as a regular part of the assigned homework.

Directed Paraphrasing requires selection of an important theory, concept, or argument that students have studied in some depth and identify a real audience to whom your students should be able to explain this material in their own words (e.g., a grants review board, a city council member, a vice president making a related decision). Provide guidelines about the length and purpose of the paraphrased explanation.

Applications Cards Identify a concept or principle your students are studying and ask students to come up with one to three applications of the principle from everyday experience, current news events, or their knowledge of particular organizations or systems discussed in the course.

Student-Generated Test Questions can be used a week or two prior to an exam, begin to write general guidelines about the kinds of questions you plan to ask on the exam. Share those guidelines with your students and ask them to write and answer one to two questions like those they expect to see on the exam.

Classroom Opinion Polls is when you believe that your students may have pre-existing opinions about course-related issues; construct a very short two- to four-item questionnaire to help uncover students’ opinions.

Focused Listing - Focuses students' attention on a single important term, name , or concept from a particular lesson or class session and directs them to list several ideas that are closely related to that "focus point." Used to determine what learners recall as the most important points related to a particular topic.

Misconception/Preconception Check - Technique used for gathering information on prior knowledge or beliefs that may hinder or block further learning.

Empty Outlines - The instructor provides students with an empty or partially completed outline of an in-class presentation or homework assignment and gives them a limited amount of time to fill in the blank spaces. Used to help faculty find out how well students have "caught" the important points of a lecture, reading, or audiovisual presentation.

Memory Matrix - A simple two-dimensional diagram, a rectangle divided into rows and columns used to organize information and illustrate relationships. Assesses students' recall of important course content and their skill at quickly organizing that information into categories provided by the instructor.

One-Sentence Summary - Students answer the questions "Who does what to whom, when, where, how , and why?" about a given topic, and then synthesize those answers into a single informative, grammatical, and long summary sentence.

Word Journal - Students first summarize a short text in a single word, and second, the student writes a paragraph or two explaining why he chose that particular word to summarize the text. This technique helps faculty assess and improve the students' ability to read carefully and deeply and the students' skill at explaining and defending, in just a few more words, their choice for a single summary word.

Approximate Analogies - Students complete the second half of an analogy for which the instructor has supplied the first half. This allows teachers to find out whether their students understand the relationship between the two concepts or terms given as the first part of the analogy.

Concept Maps - Drawings or diagrams showing the mental connections that students make between a major concept the instructor focuses on and other concepts they have learned. This provides an observable and assessable record of the students' conceptual schema-the patterns of associations they make in relation to a given focal concept.

Invented Dialogues - Students synthesize their knowledge of issues, personalities, and historical periods into the form of a carefully structured, illustrative conversation. This provides information on students' ability to capture the essence of other people's personalities and styles of expression - as well as on their understanding of theories, controversies, and the opinions of others.

Annotated Portfolios - Contain a very limited number of selected examples of a student's creative work, supplemented by the student's own commentary on the significance of those examples.

More on the next page..

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