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Teaching Strategies, Tips for Assessment

Janelle Cox

Assessment is a means of instruction, and it’s a very important component of every student’s education. While there are numerous teaching strategies that you can use to assess a student, it can get quite timely and complicated. Here are a few tips and teaching strategies to help you with the most popular forms of assessing students’ work.

Teaching Strategies for Grading Worksheets

Worksheets are printed resources that help students learn important facts and concepts. Teachers use them to either reinforce what is being taught in the classroom, or as a form of assessment. The problem with worksheets when you are using them as a form of assessment is that they tend to pile up, especially if you teach a lot of classes. Here are a few stress-free teaching strategies for grading worksheets.

Only Grade One Question

This teaching strategy is simple: Only grade one specific question from a worksheet and do NOT tell the students which question that you will choose (this way they’ll complete all the questions on the worksheet). The reason for doing this is that you don’t need to grade 10 questions to know if a student understands the concept -- you only need to grade one.

Peer Grade

Assign students to work together to grade their worksheet. Students simply switch papers with their classmates and grade each other’s work. You can give each student a rubric to follow to make it even easier for the students.

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Grade as a Class

All you have to do for this teaching strategy to work is assign students a worksheet for homework. Then the next day (as a class), you grade their homework together. This is a great way to see if the whole class understands the key concepts on the worksheet.

Reading Assessment

Reading comprehension assessment is the most common way a teacher assesses a student’s reading level. There are many variations on reading comprehension assessments; here are a few tips and techniques to help you through the process.

Assessing Reading Levels

To assess a student’s reading level, students read a passage or text to you, while you keep a running record of their progress. A running record will help you gain information about your students’ reading techniques, their accuracy rate, error rate, self-correction rate, as well as how the student monitors his or herself. As they read to you, you will monitor them by using a retelling rubric to score their comprehension (refer to the link above for more information). After this strategy is used, some teachers like to give students an oral or written quiz to help identify what skills students still need to develop.

How Often You Should Test Reading Levels

According to research, early emergent readers should be tested every 2-4 weeks, emergent readers every 4-6 weeks, early fluent readers every 6-8 weeks, and fluent readers every 8-10 weeks. Students who are not progressing regularly should be tested more frequently.

Moving a Student Up a Level

If a child scores a 95 or higher on the running record, you can move them up one leveled book. If they score between a 90-94, then you can assess again, and keep them on their current level. If they score below a 90, then you should assess them again and take them down a level.

Using a Rubric

Rubrics are an amazingly fast and easy way to assess a student’s work. They also can make an educator’s life easier, because with them, you are able to quickly determine where a student’s work excelled or where they need more help. Here are a few tips on using rubrics to assess students work.

Basic Guidelines for a Rubric

In order to be effective, there are a few basic components that a rubric should have. First, it should include a description of the task (or performance) that the rubric is being designed to evaluate. Next, it needs to have a scale with three or more qualifiers (needs improvement, emerging, accomplished). It also needs an objective of the task, as well as descriptors that identify the expectations.

Staying organized and keeping up with grading is one of the best ways that you can manage assessment. Many teachers choose to grade work during class, because it not only helps to manage your paperwork, but it also gives students immediate feedback which is one of the best strategies to use to ensure students are understanding concepts.

What are your favorite teaching strategies for assessment? Please share with us in the comment section below, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.