Different Types of Assessment

Different types of assessment

  • By  Goal (definitions taken from http://www.nmsa.org/Publications/WebExclusive/Assessment/tabid/1120/Default.aspx)
    • Formative-part of the instructional process. When incorporated into classroom practice, it provides the information needed to adjust teaching and learning while they are happening. In this sense, formative assessment informs both teachers and students about student understanding at a point when timely adjustments can be made. These adjustments help to ensure students achieve, targeted standards-based learning goals within a set time frame.
    • Summative- given periodically to determine at a particular point in time what students know and do not know. Many associate summative assessments only with standardized tests such as state assessments, but they are also used at and are an important part of district and classroom programs. Summative assessment at the district/classroom level is an accountability measure that is generally used as part of the grading process.


  • By Neutrality (definitions taken from http://vudat.msu.edu/subjective_assess/)
    • Objective-Objective assessments (usually multiple choice, true false, short answer) have correct answers. These are good for testing recall of facts and can be automated. Objective tests assume that there are true answers and assume that all students should learn the same things.
    • Subjective-In subjective assessments the teacher’s judgment determines the grade. These include essay tests. Essay tests take longer to answer and they take longer to grade than objective questions and therefore only include a small number of questions, focusing on complex concepts.
  • By the entity doing it-Self assessment, for example, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-assessment, in an educational setting involves students making judgments about their own work. Assessment decisions can be made by students on their own essays, reports, projects, presentations, performances, dissertations, and even exam scripts. Self-assessment can be extremely valuable in helping students to critique their own work, and form judgments about its strengths and weaknesses. For obvious reasons, self-assessment is more usually used as part of a formative assessment process, rather than a summative one, where it requires certification by others.

Other examples of assessment by the entity doing it can be peer assessment, another person assessment, or automatic (computer) assessment.

  • By Response (definitions taken from http://www.rmcdenver.com/useguide/assessme/strategy.htm)
    • Constructed Response-Constructed response assessments include fill in the blank, short answers, show your work, and visual depiction activities. Students create answers to questions or prompts. These give teachers a better sense of how well students can convey information and demonstrate some skills like mapping, graphing, and so on. 
    • Selected Response-Selected response assessments include multiple choice, true/false, and matching tests. They are efficient ways of measuring knowledge acquisition and it is easy to set levels for performance (e.g., 18 correct out of 20 = B). However, you can’t always tell whether a student is guessing, his/her depth of knowledge, and/or ability to apply or transfer knowledge. 
  • By Mind Properties (definitions taken from http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/OR/ConsumerGuides/perfasse.html)
    • Performance Assessment-Performance assessment, also known as alternative or authentic assessment, is a form of testing that requires students to perform a task rather than select an answer from a ready-made list. For example, a student may be asked to explain historical events, generate scientific hypotheses, solve math problems, converse in a foreign language, or conduct research on an assigned topic.
    • Ability Assessment- Think “ability” test, these tests measure the level of development attained by the individual in one or more abilities.
  • By Contextualization (definitions taken from http://jonathan.mueller.faculty.noctrl.edu/toolbox/whatisit.htm)
    • Authentic-An authentic assessment usually includes a task for students to perform and a rubric by which their performance on the task will be evaluated.
    • Standardized- Think standardized test
    I use most of these types of assessment in my classrom. Below I will list the types that I use and give an example of each type of assessment. 
    1. Formative Assessment: this can be done by scanning. For example during guided practice I can beam out a question and give students 30 seconds to show the solution on their whiteboard. I can check for understanding by seeing which students arrive at the right answer, allowing me to know whether or not my objective was too rigorous or too easy; and thus will allow me to know where to make adjustments.
    2. Summative Assessment: an example of this is a Benchmark assessment which is given every six weeks to measure mastery of objectives taught during that six weeks. This is a great way to know which objectives were not met and need to be retaught. This is also a way to know which students may need extra attention outside of class. 
    3. Objective Assessment: this can be done using “Exit Slips” at the end of a lesson. If students arrive at the right answer, let’s say, 4 out of 5 times, I can reasonably say that they mastered the objective.
    4. Subjective Assessment: a good example of this is an “open ended” question. I can use this to know how a student arrives at a solution. Maybe they do not come up with the correct solution. If this is the case I can follow their reasoning and see where they went wrong and what skills need to be retaught. 
    5. Constructed Response: a good example of this can also be an “open ended” question.
    6. Selected Response: multiple choice tests, fill in the blank–great to check for understanding, or good guessing.
    7. Standardized Assessment: PSSA! Giddyup! 
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Student task focused on data visualization

Do Now Activity: students will be shown 2 circles and will identify the angles measures within each circle.

Objective: SWBAT interpret and determine 4 out of 5 times single and double variable data as shown in circle, bar and line graphs.

I do: I will show two examples related to the objective and students will take notes

We do: We will work through several examples together. I will cold call on students to help complete the steps for each of 2 to 3 examples.

You do: Students will work on exercises independently while I circulate checking for understanding.

Exit Slip: Students will complete an exit slip at the end of the lesson that contains 5 problems related to the lesson.

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Gary Wolf’s “The Data Driven Life”

“This is how the odd habits of the ultrageek who tracks everything have come to seem almost normal.”

Gary Wolf’s article was pretty fascinating. Technology is changing our lives in such a way that it is possible to monitor our thoughts and actions like never before. Consequently, people are doing just that–people are tracking their caloric intake, measuring their moods, logging caffeine intake, keeping data on books read, conversations had, and on and on. It seems to me that this urge to collect data would simply add stress to the already stressful lives that many of us live. Earlier today I was listening to NPR (not sure which program). A doctor was talking about how life in America is much more stressful now than even during the Great Depression or WWII. He attributed this to the excess of information that we have at our fingertips 24-7-365. I think it is this connectedness that enables us to track just about any action or thought, like outlined in Wolf’s article, but I don’t know if it’s such a great thing. To each his own.

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Data Visualization Tools

Tired of the same old bar graphs and pie charts?

I’ve never really created many of these things myself, but it’s clearly good to know how to do it. I am therefore glad that I now am asked to provide some examples of applications that may be a little more excited than the basic charts and stuff we’ve all seen since we were kids–back in the days when the internet wasn’t around. Once again, I am amazed by how many tools are available via the internet that can make something a little more exciting. So, drumroll please…some alternative data visualization tools:

1. Fusion Charts

Fusion Chart example

2. Google Chart

3. Get sideways mapping like Don Cohen

4. GeoCommons

5. ManyEyes

It took me about 10 minutes to write this post. That 10 minutes included the time that my computer crashed and I had to restart. That 10 minutes included the google searches and screenshots I took, saved to my computer, and inserted into this post. What’s the point? The point is that it is so easy to find alternative ways to visualize data. And these are free applications. So you have a set of data, you go to one of these really cool sites, and follow the step by step directions and within a half-hour you have a stunning presentation that leaves everybody thinking that you are the master of the world. Once again, thank you Al Gore!

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On and on you will hike.

 And I Know you’ll hike far

and face up to your problems

whatever they are.

                 –Dr. Seuss

“There is a solution to every problem.” I remember when my teacher, Mrs. Motinklipski (who had just so happened to have been my stepmother’s teacher eleven years prior) told this to my Trigonometry class one day. It makes sense. I think it is this that has made mathematics the most fun for me—the knowledge that there is a solution and the satisfaction that comes along with finding it. I guess one could compare solving mathematical problems to searching for hidden treasure. There is always that little jitter in the belly—that wonder of whether or not you are going to be able to actually find that illusive solution, the frustration that comes when you have tried and not yet reached your goal, and finally that extraordinary satisfaction that arrives when you persevere and find that for which you have been searching. Math…it’s a lot like life.

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Symmetry Student Task

SWBAT (Student will be able to) identify 4 out of 5 times a parabola’s axis of symmetry when graphing quadratics.

Techer will use Geogebra to graph a couple of quadratics, showing the parabola’s axis of symmetry both times.

Teacher will graph a couple of quadratics on whiteboard, showing axis of symmetry.

Teacher and students will go through this together–teacher will cold call on students to both help graph quadratic and show axis of symmetry.

Students will work several exercises on their own while the teacher circulates checking for understanding.

At the end of the task/lesson, students will complete an “exit slip” which will be used to assess mastery of the lesson.

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Symmetry in Kaleidoscope Designs

I found a very interesting lesson plan focussed on, well, just what it says in the title. What a great way to hook the students. I think a great way to lead into this lesson or mini-unit would be to have some kaleidoscopes for the children to play with, because let’s face it, everyone digs kaleidoscopes–they’re just that cool! While they are looking through the kaleidoscopes, ask them what they see. Do you see any specific shapes. You could ask them to imagine a line cutting their view in half so that there is a right and left hand side. Do they see any similarities between the two sides. I think 3 to 4 questions of this nature would be sufficient for creating student buy-in before moving into the objective and lesson.

Please check it out!  http://www.ms.uky.edu/algebracubed/lessons/Symmetry_in_Kaleidoscope_Designs.pdf. Let me know what you think.

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