Assessment happens every day in our classrooms, so it's got to be as simple and effective as possible. Simple daily assessment strategies like the ones from Saga Briggs in this TeachThought article fit the bill perfectly.
One of the highest goals of education is the achievement of understanding. We live in a world of online information. This has transformed our students' expectations not only of learning but also how it is assessed.
One of the highest goals of education is the achievement of understanding.
Today's learners expect transparency, adaptability, contextual and collaborative learning, and to be able to use technology. These changes shape the pedagogy we need to employ to engage and motivate our learners.
In our book Mindful Assessment we discuss the fact that in today's world, the only constant is change. It is a world of adaptation, continuous adjustments, and incremental improvements. That's precisely what the daily assessment strategies below are designed to enable teachers to do with their assessments.
Daily Assessment Strategies for Any Time and Any Classroom
Saga Briggs urges us to explore the versatility and endless applications for these daily assessment strategies in her article:
"There isn’t always time to address weaknesses and misunderstandings after the tests have been graded, and the time to help students learn through strategies to ask great questions is gone. Below are 22 simple assessment strategies and tips to help you become more frequent in your teaching, planning, and curriculum design."
Examine the strategies below and see how you can make them fit into your instructional practices.
22 Daily Assessment Strategies
- Ask open-ended questions: Stay away from yes/no questions and devise questions that get students thinking and talking.
- Ask students to reflect: Use quick debrief sessions to engage students in reflective learning.
- Use quizzes: Try short quizzes to check for comprehension and understanding.
- Ask students to summarize: Challenge students to use their Twitter-style smarts to summarize the main concept of a lesson in just a few short sentences.
- Use hand signals: This is a quick indication of understanding and is one of the more popular daily assessment strategies out there. For example, thumbs up means they've got it, sideways thumb means they're unsure, and thumbs down means they need help.
- Response cards: These can be index cards, signs, whiteboards, or other items. Have your learners indicate their response to a question or problem by holding up different cards.
- Four corners: After you ask a question, learners each take a spot in a corner of the room. The corners might be “strongly agree,” “strongly disagree,” “agree somewhat,” and “not sure.”
- Think-pair-share: Students take a few minutes to think about the question or prompt. Next, they pair with a designated partner to compare thoughts before sharing with the class.
- Choral reading: This involves a learner marking text or a concept and then reading it aloud in unison with the teacher. Daily assessment strategies like this one exercise a number of different listening, reading, and comprehension skills.
- One question quiz: A quiz made up of one single focused essential question. Learners can respond either orally or in writing.
- Socratic seminar: Socratic seminars call for critical and independent thinking by both forming essential and herding questions about the discussion topic and responding to the questions of others. They also teach learners how to respond to questions with thoughtfulness and civility.
- 3-2-1: Students debrief a lesson by answering the following: 3 things they learned, 2 things they want to know more about, and 1 question they have.
- Exit tickets: Students write in response to a specific prompt. Afterward, collect the responses at the end of class to check for students’ understanding of a concept.
- Journal reflection: Students can reflect on and process lessons with a brief writing exercise either at the beginning or end of the day.
- Formative pencil–paper assessment: Students respond individually to short, pencil–paper formative assessments of skills and knowledge taught in the lesson.
- Misconception check: Present students with a common misconception about a concept you’re covering. Ask them if they agree or disagree and then have them explain their reasoning.
- Analogy prompt: Present students with an analogy prompt: “the concept being covered is like ____ because ____.”
- Practice frequency: Check for understanding at least three times a lesson, minimum.
- Use variety: Be sure to use a range of different individual and whole-group daily assessment strategies.
- Make it useful: As Saga reminds us, "the true test is whether or not you can adjust your course or continue as planned based on the information received in each check."
- Peer instruction: Letting students teach or explain a concept remains a powerful assessment tool. It teaches learning responsibility, communication, organizational and leadership skills. It's also one of the best measures of whether a learner truly understands a concept or not.
- “Separate what you do and don’t understand”: Whether making a t-chart, drawing a concept map, or using some other means, have the students not simply list what they think they know, but what they don’t know as well.