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Non-Testing Methods of Student Assessment

Teachers assess students to discover how well they understand the information taught and to
determine how much growth they are making in developing their academic skills. Testing is a
common assessment technique, but it is far from the only assessment option at teacher's disposal. By
assessing through alternative means, teachers can ensure that test anxiety or an inability to perform
on tests do not lead to a misunderstanding of a student's abilities.
Teachers can assess their students' abilities simply by observing their classroom
behavior or completion of activities. By watching students as they work, teachers can
identify signs of struggle and determine where a child may be experiencing academic
difficulties. Because students often do not realize that they are being observed, teachers
can ensure that the picture they receive of student understanding represents the
student's actual abilities.
By asking students to complete a project, teachers can see how well their pupils can
apply taught information. Successful completion of a project requires a student to
translate their learning into the completion of a task. Project-based assessment more
closely approximates how students will be assessed in the real world, as employers will
not ask their employees to take tests, but instead judge their merit upon the work they
Oral Assessment
Some students struggle to express their understanding through writing. For these
students, oral assessments are a feasible alternative to standard testing. In an oral
assessment, a teacher simply asks the student questions based on the material, or asks
the student to explain his understanding of the material taught. By listening to the
student response, the teacher can gauge the degree to which the student understands the
Portfolio Assessment
In a portfolio assessment, a teacher looks not at one piece of work as a measure of
student understanding, but instead at the body of work the student has produced over a
period of time. To allow for a portfolio assessment, a teacher must compile student work
throughout the term. This is commonly accomplished by providing each student with a
folder in which to store essays or other large activities. Upon compilation of the
portfolio, the teacher can review the body of work and determine the degree to which the
work indicates the student's understanding of the content.
While class participation is an informal means of assessment, teachers can obtain much
information about student understanding by paying close attention to student responses
during class. Students who participate actively and offer productive and on-topic
responses to questions posed to the class likely understand the material fully. By taking
note of student participation, teachers can identify students who clearly have a grasp of
the content.
Non-test Assessment Techniques

Homework is a structured practice exercise that usually plays a part in
grading. Sometimes instructors assign reading or other homework which
covers the theoretical aspects of the subject matter, so that the class time
can be used for more hands-on practical work.

Case studies and problem-solving assignments can be used to apply
knowledge. This type of assignment required the student to place him or
herself in or react to a situation where their prior learning is needed to solve
the problem or evaluate the situation. Case studies should be realistic and
practical with clear instructions.

Projects are usually designed so that the students can apply many of the
skills they have developed in the course by producing a product of some
kind. Usually project assignments are given early in the course with a
completion date toward the end of the quarter. Examples include: a
newsletter for word processing, an overhauled engine for auto mechanics,
a small production for a video class.

Portfolios are collections of student projects and products. Like a
photographers portfolio they should contain the best examples of all of their
work. For subjects that are paper-based, the collection of a portfolio is
simple. For subjects such as auto mechanics, carpentry, cosmetology and
other programs that produce large items or require the use of tools and
machinery, photos, drawings or videos may be the best
documentation. Portfolios are useful to demonstrate competencies in job

Observation should follow an established plan or checklist organized
around concrete, objective data. Observation needs to be tied to the
objectives of the course.