The Final Note: Various Ideas For Creative Subject Assessments

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By Audrey Miller
EngagEd Learning

Whether you teach languages, mathematics, arts, sciences, ethics, social studies or physical education, there are various ways to assess students’ progress besides regular quizzes, dictations or written tests. Nowhere in modern curricula is it requested from teachers to use those as the sole means of evaluation. Let’s get creative and try ideas gathered by educators from Sir Wifrid Laurier School Board (SWLSB).


Teachers record themselves giving feedback to students about their work. Screencasts do not replace one-on-one conversations; they are meant to enhance the interaction with a student. Here is an example of a screencast recorded to give a fourth grade student feedback about their writing piece. 


One-on-one interviews are similar to having a conversation with a student, but they are more structured. They give the opportunity to a student that hasn’t performed well on a given test, to demonstrate their understanding by answering specific questions prepared by the teacher. This applies to any given subject. To know more, watch this video on Edutopia: “60-Second Strategy: Interview Assessments – A face-to-face chat provides an alternative for students who struggle to show what they know on tests.”  


Teachers assess if students can apply their learning in a different context by creating long-term projects.


Creating podcasts in the classroom has many educational benefits, including strengthening skills in research, writing, and collaboration—and podcasting is easy to do. Here is an article that walks you through the steps of pre-production, recording, post-production, and posting a podcast.


Students can use graphic organizers to demonstrate their comprehension of written text. 

  • For example, a story map uses graphic organizers to help students learn the elements of a book or story. The most basic story maps focus on the beginning, middle, and end of the story. More advanced organizers focus more on plot or character traits. 
  • If you teach social studies, have a look at this graphic organizer collection shared by SWLSB.


Exit cards require students to respond to questions that they will submit to the teacher before they leave class. These cards provide immediate information that can be used to assess students’ understanding, monitor their questions, or gather feedback.


A collection of different assignments that illustrate the student’s progress over time, self-assessments and comments from teachers and peers can support the teacher’s professional judgment.  


Try “My Favourite No”: this is a starter activity used to develop a growth mindset. It shows students that getting something wrong is not failure. A clever technique which demonstrates effective immediate feedback to students. 


  • Double-entry journals
  • Digital journals
  • Reflection videos
  • Student’s checklists

These ideas also work with adults and for professional development activities!


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