Using Multiple Assessments

TEST!  This word strikes fear into the hearts of many a child.  For that matter, a lot of adults experience a mild form of post-traumatic stress when they hear that four-letter word.  Testing, or assessment of what your child has learned does not have to be a stomach-churning, fear-inducing event.  The use of multiple assessment methods is becoming increasingly popular in both public schools and home schools.

The use of multiple assessments has come to the forefront because of the acknowledgment of the diverse learning styles of our children.  Some people (myself included) love taking standardized tests and essay tests.  However, between having children of my own, and my own experiences as a teacher, I have learned that I was probably in a pretty small percentage of the population.  Because of this, it's important to remember that the goal of the assessment is to find out what your child has learned.  It's okay to use some variety in going about obtaining that information.

Some of the assessment tools that I have found to be helpful are as follows:

  • Use a rubric - Discuss the rubric with your child before the assignment or project is completed.  This way your child will know exactly what is expected of him.
  • Portfolios - Keep a record of your student's work over time to gauge progress.
  • Performance evaluation - Have your child do a laboratory experiment, write and perform a skit, or create a model to show what they have learned.
  • Traditional assessment - This isn't always a bad choice.  And it's a good life-skill to be able to answer questions in essay form or multiple-choice.
  • Graphic Organizers - Instead of writing out long paragraphs, have your child show you what she has learned by filling out a graphic organizer, concept map, or Venn diagram.

There are so many ways to evaluate whether or not your child or student is retaining information from the lessons that you present to them.  You can find several assessment methods on this website:  http://www.csus.edu/indiv/r/rodriguezm/373bspring06/multiple_methods_of_assessment.htm.    Remember, to mix it up.  Testing doesn't have to be boring.  Your goal as the parent or educator is to find out what your child or student has learned so that you can go back and re-teach something that may have been missed.  Testing should be an extension of learning, not a source of stress.


Crystal Pratt is a writer and content contributor for LessonPathways.com, an innovative new product that maps online educational resources into ready to teach units.

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