Creating Quality Classroom Assessments: How to Create Written Assessments

Many educators turn to writing-based evaluations when it comes to classroom assessments. While written evaluations take a lot of subjective judgment and extra effort when it comes to grading, they also afford a freedom of response that really draws out the most truthful portrait of student knowledge.

Common written forms of assessment include:

1. Essays

Students will be required to answer essay questions in their own words. For young language learners, teachers should expect that they “lift” the answer from the passage they were supposed to analyze. As they grow older, their skills will become more sophisticated and they will be able to use synonyms and synthesize an answer. Essay questions are excellent tools for observing students’ knack for critical thinking, synthesis, and problem solving. Essay test may include brief or extended essays. Brief essays are generally used as classroom activities or included in evaluations. Extended essays involve several paragraphs of writing and take more time and concentration, and may be given as homework.

When structuring the essay sentences, teachers should bear in mind that all free writing must have a clear framework. Some experts in the field recommend using prompts such as “what,” “why,” and “how,” maintaining that the responses to these terms involve essential knowledge of the subject. Other experts suggest that words such as “discuss,” “analyze,” and “explain” should be used, because these words will prompt a deeper look into the issues. Other specialists call for more precision by using terms such as “identify,” “compare,” and “contrast.” Teachers may want to focus on different areas each time they ask for the completion of these types of tasks, by using different sets of these prompts.

Essay questions may seem easy to write and as a result may not be carefully thought out. But you should always keep the objective of the evaluation in mind, and write the essay questions accordingly.

2. Authentic Assessment

This type of evaluation demands that students provide answers to real-life situations by means of critical thinking. Authentic assessment emphasizes problem solving by integrating content students have studied. Oral presentations are an example of this type of assessment. Other activities related to authentic assessment include role-playing, debating, journal writing, or portfolios. Portfolios document the history and process of learning; they are generally used as springboards for feedback.

Essay and oral tests are best for testing high-level knowledge and conceptual relationships. Think about what knowledge you need to test, and design an assessment that best fits your curriculum, and your pupils. If you need more ideas, check out our other articles on what classroom assessment has the potential to be.

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