Design Assessments Students Will Want to Do

Examine key considerations for designing opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning in your virtual classroom.

Grades K-12 5 min Resource by:
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Think of teaching in a remote classroom as a great opportunity to rethink how students show what they know. Reimagine ways for your students to authentically demonstrate their learning while also developing skills that they will need for college and careers. Create assessment experiences that are inspiring, engaging, interesting, and fun, while also serving to measure student learning. In other words, make this something that your students will want to do. Ask yourself, “How can I find out what my students know, while also motivating them to want to come back to my online classroom each day?”

When designing student assessments, consider the following list of key considerations. This checklist can help guide you in creating a meaningful experience for your students while providing you with an accurate way to measure their learning at the same time. If designed well and with the learner in mind, these activities can be one of the reasons that your students want to keep coming back to your class.

8 Key Considerations for Designing Online Assessments

1. Align it to the academic standards.

  • Is the task aligned to your learning targets and academic standards?
  • Will the final product allow students to accurately demonstrate their learning?

2. Make it authentic.

  • Does this task feel meaningful, or does it feel more like “hoop jumping”?
  • Is this how someone outside of a school setting would authentically use this learning?

3. Share it with an authentic audience when possible.

  • Can the student work be presented to an authentic audience beyond your classroom?
  • How can an authentic audience increase student motivation and overall relevance of the project?

4. Make it a learning experience as well as an assessment.

  • Are students continuing to grow academically and personally through this process?
  • Are students learning college- and career-readiness skills, like creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication?

5. Make it fair and accessible to all students.

  • Is the assessment accessible and suitable for all students?
  • Does the task allow you to modify and accommodate for students with unique needs?

6. Make it inspiring and motivating.

  • Does the assessment allow for voice and choice?
  • Does it require higher-level thinking skills, such as synthesis, problem-solving, and creation rather than simple recall?

7. Make it multifaceted.

  • Does the performance assessment involve multiple steps?
  • Are there many standards across multiple subjects that can be assessed through one performance assessment?
  • Would a student have to do more than just quickly find the answer through a search engine on the internet?
  • Does the assessment allow for multiple pathways to meet the objective?

8. Make performances applicable and transferable.

  • Can the performance just be memorized and repeated? (This may be a good thing if you teach music.)
  • Are students able to use what they have learned and apply it to whatever type of performance task they will be doing?
  • Is their application of their knowledge transferable to new situations?

If you have students create products and learning artifacts, require that they are more than simple re-creations of content learned in class and that performances are more than just a retelling of learned content. Expect higher-level thinking. Ideally, the process should extend learning and result in something that didn’t exist before the project began. It should go beyond recalling or compiling facts and require students to do something new with the content to reimagine it. Remote learning is the perfect opportunity to reimagine assessments, hand over creative control to students, and stretch them academically.