Assessment Do’s and Don’ts

I had the chance on the day before Thanksgiving to Skype with two colleagues on the topic of assessment. Books have been written on this topic and I maybe one day I will write one about assessment and grading. However for the purpose of this blog I would just like to mention some Assessment Do’s and Don’ts. By no means is this a complete list and I encourage you to comment and add to the list.

Assessment Do’s

*Assessments need to incorporate Critical thinking skills and other higher order skills
*Assessments needs to demonstrate understanding and how to apply it – I often have my students right a guidebook about something as a way of demonstrating understanding
*Assessments should be tools that inform Student learning
*Assessments need to assess the lifelong skills we want our students to learn

Assessment Don’ts

*Assessments should be more than just fill in the blanks which test memory and not skills
*The purpose of Assessments should not be for the purpose of “Got You”
*Assessments need to match what skills were taught in class not the other way around (We should not teach to the test)

Again there is a lot more and the issue of assessments is very much related to the issue of grades which I as well as others have written about.

Bottom line the assessments need to be a tool to measure learning and growth and not as a way that set students up for failure. Assessments need to be used by the teacher as well as the student to guide student learning. Assessments are a tool and   not an end to themselves



  1. Ryan said:

    Well done! With the current craze/ controversy over standardized testing, I thought everyone had forgotten about assessment.

    November 27, 2010
    • Ryan

      Thank for your comment.
      I think that grading and assessments are very important if we truly want to focus on student learning.
      we may not be able to change standardized testing but as someone else blogged that doesn’t mean we have to have all of our tests and assessments conform to that style.
      Thanks again for your comment

      November 29, 2010
  2. Thanks for a nice post that helps bring the issue back to the essentials. In my own work, I often ask teachers (and myself in desinging my assessments), “What do YOU want to learn after going through this test?”

    The answer to that question not only sheds light on the assessment itself, but also any disconnect between the expectations of the teacher and the expectations of the course. It also gives me information I can use to help the teacher with his or her professioanl development goals.

    Thanks again,


    November 27, 2010
    • Stevie said:

      Good post. However, I noticed a small spelling error:

      “I often have my students right a guidebook”

      Surely, you mean ‘write a guidebook’?

      On a different note, I find it hard to incorporate all of these points when getting my students to learn vocabulary. I have found that the only way to get them to keep up with their vocab is through continually testing them. It’s monotonous, but I don’t see a viable way around it.


      November 27, 2010
      • Stevie,
        Sorry about that Yest I meant “Write”

        One of my flaws if that I type and write out of emotion and feeling and sometimes I make careless mistakes.

        Thank you for your comment

        November 29, 2010
    • Troy,
      Thanks for your comment

      I agree 100%. Too often the tests are used to validate the teachers own teaching and are not used as a way of truly assessing learning.

      November 29, 2010
  3. Dedrick Sims said:

    A way to keep vocabulary on their mind is through storytelling. Have students to create stories using the vocabulary words correctly. Don’t hesitate to let them use a dictionary, because using it requires them to interact with the word more closely. Do this a couple of times a week and watch the vocabulary retention and comprehension increase! Hope this helps.

    Follow our facebook page for additional periodic instructional strategies. Sims-Fayola on facebook.

    November 28, 2010

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