Assessment, It's Not Just for Teachers!

Even if you don't LOVE assessing (and who does?), here are some tips to make it easier and more effective.

You might say that I’m a little assessment obsessed! I’m so obsessed with assessments, that I made my master’s project about assessment. Wait, what … YOU LOVE ASSESSING! You might be saying to yourself. Well, no, in fact, I don't like assessing. I’d much rather be making art projects. But that is why I made it my mission to figure out the best way to do this. If I’m going to spend a great deal of my time doing something, I want to know that I’m doing it the best way possible. 

 I’m also goal-driven, and when teacher evaluation says things like having student’s input on assessments. I added that to the mix of things that I wanted to be able to do. 

 What I’ve set out to do is to make a non-threatening (to students) rubric that provides useful feedback to students and teachers while making it easy to construct and assess. I’ve made the design flexible to include student goals and the descriptors vague enough to allow for students' input on what each performance level should look like. 

 I’ve tested these rubrics out over the past few years and finally put together a Rubric Kit so that anyone can use a computer to design their own rubric. 

 I’ve found that students enjoy using these assessments so much more than when I spelled descriptors out in detail with text. I tried making the rubric box and images a little whimsical so that students smile a little when they are doing the assessment. 

 Smiley faces instead of written descriptors, isn’t that a little childish? That’s what you might think, but I found that my students (who were up to 5th grade) didn’t mind a bit. They enjoyed just coloring in the face to show how they did … which resulted in multi-colored-silly faces. 

 The additional advantage that the funny faces provided was that we could talk about what they thought each level should look like. In my Rubric Kit, I provide a sheet for each facial expression that you can record their description on so that you can keep it on display. 

 Here are some ideas for getting students to contribute to the descriptors for each criterion on the rubric using the “Descriptors by Students” sheets in Expressive Monkey’s Rubric Kit

 • Have students generate ideas describing what each level would look like. (Only use the 3 levels from the rubric students are about to use.) As students are talking, write them out on each sheet. You can write complete sentences or just the keywords. 

 • Open the PNG file on the computer in Ppt and insert a sample of each level in the open space. To get a sample of each level, you will need to photograph student work (not from the class), or your own work that shows what each level might look like. Then ask students to tell why they think (or don’t think) you are showing them a good example of that level. You can do this during a Ppt for the lesson, or print them out and display them on the board. 

 • Laminate each sheet and write on them with a dry erase or another washable marker for each discussion. You could also have students do the writing for you. 

 • Put the 3 sheets on the board. Pass out work from another class (names are hidden) and have students put them under the level they think they belong based on a particular level of performance. Have student defend their choices.

You can read more about Assessments with Writing in Expressive Monkey's blog post.

You might also want to read about Assessing the Thought Process.

If you are interested in more tips, be sure to sign up for my email list!


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