When 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 grade. On the other hand, once the assessment guidelines and grading rubric are created, it can be filed away and used year after year. 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 five 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

  1. Eulogy – Write a eulogy for a word that is overused in the student’s own writing samples.
  2. Infomercial – Students will tape a segment that uses persuasion.
  3. Bumper Sticker – Design a bumper sticker with a catchy slogan for each of the writing genres.
  4. PowerPoint – Pairs can create a slideshow about their writing process from start to finish.
  5. Newscast– Students can form teams to create a news program about writing conventions (run-on sentences, spacing, punctuation, etc.).
  6. Comic Strip – Draw a comic strip that shows examples of figurative language.
  7. Brochure – Create a brochure that explains the steps involved when writing for different audiences.
  8. Survey – Create a survey of students’ favorite writing styles or writing pet peeves. Make a graph that explains the results.

Alternative Math Assessments

  1. Acrostic Poem – Using one math term, such as geometry or algebra, make an acrostic poem.
  2. Internet Resource List – Students will find a list of websites that explain the current math concepts correctly.
  3. Readers Theater – Perform a readers theater that is all about the current topic.
  4. Crossword Puzzle – Use the vocabulary from the assessed chapter to create a crossword puzzle, including the design and matching clues.
  5. Scrapbook Page – Each student makes a page that describes a certain math term. Combine them to provide a future review tool for students.
  6. Paint By Number – More artistically inclined students can 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.
  7. Pattern – Find a pattern in the current math unit that can be explained.
  8. Collage – Using magazines, students can cut up and paste math strand examples.

Alternative Science Assessments

  1. Help Wanted Ad – Write an ad to find a “professor” who can help to explain the subject at hand.
  2. Singing Telegram – More musically inclined students can create a song about the latest chapter.
  3. 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).
  4. Diary – Pen a diary entry from the perspective of a famous scientist.
  5. Advice Column – Students write advice to an “anonymous friend” who has a scientific problem that needs solving.
  6. Trivia Game – Students create the questions (and answers) that will be used in a review game.
  7. T-shirt – Design a t-shirt that matches the current science concepts.
  8. Experiment – No explanation needed for this one – get creative!

Alternative Social Studies Assessments

  1. Cheer – Compose a cheer for someone in history who has struggled through something in your latest unit.
  2. Fashion Sketch – Draw an example of what a person would wear from the era being studied.
  3. Toy – Create a drawing (or a prototype) of a toy that might have been used from the children of that specific time period.
  4. Documentary – Recreate an important historical event.
  5. Family Tree – Research the family tree of a famous historical person.
  6. Time Line – Students create a class timeline as they study different eras. Post the master timeline up in the classroom and add as new eras are learned.
  7. Speech – Memorize and recite an important historical speech.
  8. 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.