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40 Alternative Assessment Ideas for Learning

Charity Preston

 

Learning AssessmentsWhen people think of assessment, pencils and bubble sheets may be the first things that come to mind. Assessment does not always have to involve paper and pencil, but can instead be a project, an observation, or a task that shows a student has learned the material.  

In the end, all we really want to know is that the skill was mastered, right?  Why not make it fun and engaging for students as well?

Many teachers shy away from alternative assessments because they take extra time and effort to create and to grade. On the other hand, once the assessment guidelines and grading rubric are created, it can be filed away and used year after year. 

The project card and rubric can be run on card stock (one on each side of the page), laminated, and hole punched with other alternative assessment ideas.  Keep them all together in a binder or with an o-ring.  Assessment just became a snap!

Here are 40 alternative assessment ideas to get you started!

Alternative Reading Assessments

 

1. Bookmark

Create a bookmark to match the theme of the last book read.

 

2. Time Capsule

Put together a group of 5 things from the story of the week.

 

3. Stuffed Animal

Students can make a stuffed animal that matches the theme of the story read.

 

4. Business Card

Summarize the story by designing a business card (this will be harder than it sounds).

 

5. Radio Show

Create a radio program that is set in the same time as the book.

 

6. Recipe

Make a recipe (or just the instructions) for something that a character in the story might make.

 

7. Paper Doll

More geared towards the younger set, this activity involves creating paper dolls and costume changes for the characters in the story.

 

8. Wanted Poster

Make a wanted poster for the antagonist in the book.

 

Alternative Writing Assessments

 

9. Eulogy

Write a eulogy for a word that is overused in the student’s own writing samples.

 

10. Infomercial

Students will tape a segment that uses persuasion.

 

11. Bumper Sticker

Design a bumper sticker with a catchy slogan for each of the writing genres.

 

12. PowerPoint

Pairs can create a slideshow about their writing process from start to finish.

 

13. Newscast

Students can form teams to create a news program about writing conventions (run-on sentences, spacing, punctuation, etc.)

 

14. Comic Strip

Draw a comic strip that shows examples of figurative language.

 

15. Brochure

Create a brochure that explains the steps involved when writing for different audiences.

 

16. Survey

Create a survey of students’ favorite writing styles or writing pet peeves.  Make a graph that explains the results.

 

Alternative Math Assessments

 

17. Acrostic Poem

Using one math term, such as geometry or algebra, make an acrostic poem.

 

18. Internet Resource List

Students will find a list of websites that explain the current math concepts correctly.

 

19. Readers’ Theater

Perform a readers’ theater that is all about the current topic.

 

20. Crossword Puzzle

Use the vocabulary from the assessed chapter to create a crossword puzzle, including the design and matching clues.

 

21. Scrapbook Page

Each student makes a page that describes a certain vocabulary word. Combine them to provide a future review tool for students.

 

22. Paint By Number

More artistically-inclined students may want to create a paint by number portrait that includes math terms and examples. They can also write and solve problems that match the paint-by-number answers.

 

23. Pattern

Find a pattern in the current math unit that can be explained.

 

24. Collage

Using magazines, students can cut up and paste math strand examples.

 

Alternative Science Assessments

 

25. Help Wanted Ad

Write an ad to find a “professor” who can help to explain the subject at hand.

 

26. Singing Telegram

More musically-inclined students may love to create a song about the latest chapter.

 

27. Calendar

Mark on a calendar (paper or electronic copy) the time frame for how long it takes to see changes in a scientific event (such as erosion or plants growing).

 

28. Diary

Pen a diary entry from a famous scientist.

 

29. Advice Column

Students write advice to an “anonymous friend” who has a scientific problem that needs solved.

 

30. Trivia Game

Students create the questions (and answers) that will be used in a review game.

 

31. T-shirt

Design a t-shirt that matches the current science concepts.

 

32. Experiment

No explanation needed for this one.

 

Alternative Social Studies Assessments

 

33. Cheer

Compose a cheer for someone in history who has struggled through something in your latest unit.

 

34. Fashion Sketch

Draw an example of what a person would wear from the era being studied.

 

35. Toy

Create a drawing (or a prototype) of a toy that might have been used from the children of that specific time period.

 

36. Documentary

Recreate an important historical event.

 

37. Family Tree

Research the family tree of a famous historical person.

 

38. Time Line

Students create a class timeline as they study different eras.  Post the master time line up in the classroom and add as new eras are learned.

 

39. Speech

Memorize and recite an important historical speech.

 

40. Museum Exhibit

Students each create a museum “artifact” and set them up in the classroom as a museum, where they will stand next to their artifact to explain and answer questions from visitors.  Invite other classes or parents to come do a walkthrough of your museum.

 

What are some other ideas you have also used in your classroom? Share in the comments section!

 

Charity L. Preston, MA is an author, teacher, and parent. Most importantly, she is an educator in all roles. The ability to teach someone something new is a gift that few truly appreciate. Visit her now at http://www.theorganizedclassroomblog.com or at her Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/TheOrganizedClassroomBlog to sign up for a free newsletter that offers free downloadable classroom resources every month delivered right to your inbox!