Assessment Strategies
and Tools

Planning for Assessment

You’ll find a wealth of unplanned opportunities to assess students’ gains during Journey North. If you also plan in advance what you want to assess and how you’ll do it, you’ll be better prepared to guide instruction and know how students are progressing toward standards. Here are some important questions to ask:

  1. What are my learning goals? What key concepts, skills, attitudes will I assess? These should be based on your state or local standards, the particular study you’ve chosen, and your judgement about students’ knowledge and gaps (e.g., after doing a pre-assessment). Don’t assess more than you or students can manage.
  2. How will I know if students have achieved them? (What evidence do I need?) Think about the different kinds of evidence (formal and informal) that would persuade you that kids are progressing toward the standards. (For instance, Your students would be able to interpret data, set up an investigation, create a map from data.)

  3. Which student tasks, interactions, and materials should I assess? Which will occur before, during, and after the Journey North study or unit? These might include journal and challenge question responses; drawings; informal discussions; portfolios; concept maps, charts and graphs; presentations; investigation reports, and so on.

  4. Which recording/scoring strategies and tools will I use to document and interpret these? This might include anecdotal observations/notes, checklists, and rubrics.

  5. Who will do what? You will use certain assessment strategies and tools yourself.
    Student self-assessments are valuable instructional tools that help students better understand and invest in learning goals and take responsibility for their own learning. By engaging students in assessment, the process will also be easier for you to manage.

  6. How will I communicate students’ progress to parents and others?