assessment comes in a variety of forms, each one with
a specific strength in providing a clear picture of
the functioning of a child. Types include observation,
checklists, rating scales, rubrics, teacher-designed
instruments, and performance-based instruments.
is a valuable tool for assessing many types of development
in students. With young children, observation can give
the teacher a clear picture of, for example, the child’s
motor or language development. Emerging skills can be
noted as well as skills already mastered. Teachers routinely
use observation as they are teaching new skills to their
students when they walk around the room and see how
students are progressing with their assignments, or
as they ask questions as the lesson progress.
are often referred to as scope and sequence of skills
measures. A checklist is merely a list of the learning
objectives for a particular age, grade or subject matter.
The teacher checks off each skill as the student exhibits
proficiency in that area. Many checklists are teacher-made,
while others may be standardized. They are completed
with a negative or positive response; the student either
knows the material or does not.
scales are similar to checklists, but they provide
additional information into developing skills and can
more easily monitor progress. A rating scale evaluates
a student on a continuum showing progress towards mastery
rather than only mastery at the end. Areas covered by
a rating scale are usually the learning objectives for
that particular age or grade.
are designed to evaluate performance skills. They include
a range of criteria-like rating scales, but also include
indicators for determining quality of a performance
of a particular skill. They are especially useful in
areas such as creative writing, where there is no right
or wrong answer.
measures include any method developed by a teacher to
assess children that does not clearly fall into another
category. Teachers of young children often use concrete
tasks or oral questioning to assess their students.
Most teachers incorporate assessments into their instruction
and other learning experiences. Games and other learning
activities can be used for learning and assessment.
For older children, paper-and-pencil tasks are most
often used for assessment.
assessments include ways of assessing children’s
work as they are proceeding with it rather than isolating
assessment from the actual work. Performance assessments
may include child interviews. The dialogue with the
child during the interview may reveal the child’s
thinking and understanding about concepts being studied.
Portfolios are another way of collecting performance
data in a systematic way. Student work samples, along
with all other information collected, are put together
in a central portfolio that can display the child’s
progress over a longer period of time.