Using a variety of assessment strategies is an important part of any teacher’s job. They need to know if their students are understanding and retaining the lessons taught in class. As teachers time is something we always need more of – but can never seem to grasp. Below are five different quick assessment strategies that will provide the teacher with insight into their students’ learning.
Formal Assessment Strategies
1. Exit Tickets
Just before students leave the classroom give students a question (or two) that they must answer that will provide you with a snapshot of their learning.
Students are asked to immediately respond to the question(s) in the manner you specify.
- Option 1: Paper – students write the answers to your questions on paper or in a notebook.
- Option 2: Sticky Notes – students write the answers to your questions on a sticky note and place them in a predetermined spot in the classroom like the Exit Ticket board pictured above from Mrs. Beattie’s Classroom.
- Option 3: Paperless – assign the question in your learning management system i.e. Google Classroom and have students answer online.
Students have a set amount of time to complete the work. No more than 3 – 5 minutes. They are finished either when you collect tickets and dismiss them or when the bell rings and they leave.
2. Index Cards
At the beginning of each year/semester provide each student with an index card to write their name on. Collect these cards and keep them in an easy to access location within the classroom. After a lesson where students have had time to work with the material – hand out their index cards. Ask each student to place their index card in the pencil case that corresponds with their level of understanding STOP, SLOW DOWN and GO. This will quickly allow the teacher to see the students’ self-assessment of their learning.
Informal Assessment Strategies
Sticks of Destiny
At the beginning of each year, I provide each student with a popsicle stick. They write their name and class code on the stick. These sticks live attached to my whiteboard in a magnetic container. I use these sticks to make groups and to let the sticks decide if I am going to call on students. *Note if you have students who cannot be cold called always pull multiple sticks at a time that way students don’t know who you have selected. If I am taking up homework, or asking questions about a concept with have practiced several times I select several sticks of destiny and ask those students to share. This strategy does not provide me with whole class data but enough of a sample to know if I need to spend more time on a concept.
Have students line up in a straight line in any order in the classroom. Then locate the middle of the line and divide the line into two sections. Have one of the sections stand in front of the other section. The students should be facing each other. Name one side Team A and the other side Team B. Ask a question to the class and tell them which team is answering the question. Walk around as the students are answering the questions and listen to their answers. Alternate Team A and B for the first few questions, then break the pattern. After each question, Team A or B whoever you decide must shift down one spot so they have a new partner. This will give you insight into your students and their understanding of the material.
Assign each corner of your classroom a name – it could be directional or names of famous places. Then have the class standing up in the classroom. Pose an open-ended question to the class and give them possible answers. Each answer corresponds to a physical spot in the classroom. For example, you might ask “Did you feel the main character’s actions were justified towards the antagonist?” then state if you agree then go to the corner labelled West, if you disagree then go to the corner labelled East, if you do not have a strong opinion about these actions go to the corner labelled North, and if you skipped last night’s reading go to the corner labelled South. Let students know that once they reach their destination they must share why they selected that location with the group. Walk around and listen to these discussions.
You can also use these strategies to see what students already know about a topic of study before you begin teaching that unit.
Read more about assessment and evaluation in the articles below:
- Student-Designed Assessments
- Strategies for Streamlining Assessment & Evaluation
- Quick Assessment Tips