Sharing ideas on Education, Leadership and Life

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Assessment Do’s and Don’ts

I had the chance on the day before Thanksgiving to Skype with two colleagues on the topic of assessment. Books have been written on this topic and I maybe one day I will write one about assessment and grading. However for the purpose of this blog I would just like to mention some Assessment Do’s and Don’ts. By no means is this a complete list and I encourage you to comment and add to the list.

Assessment Do’s

*Assessments need to incorporate Critical thinking skills and other higher order skills
*Assessments needs to demonstrate understanding and how to apply it - I often have my students right a guidebook about something as a way of demonstrating understanding
*Assessments should be tools that inform Student learning
*Assessments need to assess the lifelong skills we want our students to learn

Assessment Don’ts

*Assessments should be more than just fill in the blanks which test memory and not skills
*The purpose of Assessments should not be for the purpose of “Got You”
*Assessments need to match what skills were taught in class not the other way around (We should not teach to the test)

Again there is a lot more and the issue of assessments is very much related to the issue of grades which I as well as others have written about.

Bottom line the assessments need to be a tool to measure learning and growth and not as a way that set students up for failure. Assessments need to be used by the teacher as well as the student to guide student learning. Assessments are a tool not an end to themselves


  1. Excellent post. I completely agree that assessment shouldn't be 'gotcha' moments. I always feel that results of student testing is a reflection of my teaching, and I adjust accordingly.
    Thanks for such an informative blog!

  2. Diane,
    Thank you for your comment and your kind words

  3. Very good. Thank you.
    One thing I'm trying to include in assessment is student self-assessment for every task. How well do you believe you performed and why? What learning do you believe has occurred and what evidence supports your assessment.

  4. Thank you Cheeky Lit Teacher
    i am a big believer that students need to be part of the learning process and have some ownership over their learning. I also think that by giving students certain choices you empower them as well.
    Thanks for the comment

  5. Good post. I wish more teachers would really look at their assessment process. I am wondering what you or your readers would say about giving a zero for an assignment that is not turned in?

  6. Thank you for your comment

    Something that I didn't mention was the concept of rubrics. I think rubrics are also a key component when talking about assessments.
    Given that I don't know what a Zero accomplishes and basically tell the students that you don't care about their work.
    However there needs to be consequences that you may want to build into the rubric.
    To me the underlying question is always student learning and what can we do to maximize that.

    Thanks for your comment