10 Great Ideas for Alternative Assessment
There is inherent value to traditional tests and research reports. There is also value in alternative assessments though. There is plenty of research to support this. Here is a top ten list of alternative assessments to try in your classroom. I am including tool and resource links where appropriate. Everything I include can be used for free though some of the resources include a paid version.
- Infographics: Infographics are popping up a lot on social media. I see them most frequently on Google+. Infographs are visuals that quickly summarize a topic and usually shows supporting data. Its the part about summarizing a topic and supporting it with evidence that catches my eye here. These are essential skills to build in our students. Infogr.am and Piktochart are two infographic creation resources to check out.
- Video: Students can create news or documentary videos on assigned topics for their class. Although some schools may have video recording equipment, students can also use devices like phones and tablets. Videos can be edited in a video editing program like Pixlr.
- Poster: Students can create posters using tools like Google Drawings. There are other programs available, but I like Drawings in this case because it allows students to store their work in a shared Google Drive folder so you can review it and provide feedback during the creation process. The images can be downloaded and then uploaded to a poster creation program like Blockposters. With Blockposters, the user can enlarge the image. The program divides the enlarged image into printable components that can be spliced together after printing so a special printer is not required.
- Podcasting: Programs like Audacity can be used to record and edit student audio recordings. These recordings can be uploaded to a class website.
- Timeline: Timetoast is a timeline creation tool. The posts can include images, dates, and short descriptions for each event. Spans of time can also be entered into the timeline, though these entries do not allow for image uploads.
- Tour map: Google Maps and Google Earth can be used to locate and pin locations to create a “tour”. Images can can be added to these pins, or there are usually already normal or street view images attached to most areas. These tours can be presented to the class or recorded and uploaded to YouTube or a website.
- Blog: Students can create blogs using Blogger or WordPress. They can reflect on their learning or post class updates. Sometimes, I will have students role play. For a Rwandan Genocide unit I have had students write 5 diary entries from the perspective of Roger, Paul’s son, in Hotel Rwanda. They base their diary entries on five specific scenes from the movie.
- Informational Website: Students can use Google Sites to create an educational website containing information relating to a particular topic. This process should be more involved than just putting information on the site. The process can include teaching students skills like storyboarding and lessons on how to build an effective website. I chose Google Sites for this one because it is simple enough that the students can build an effective site without knowing how to code. Also, Google Sites allows for easy insertion of other tools including Google Drive files, YouTube, Maps, images, and a host of other resources.
- Deliberative Discussion & Presentation: I have never been a big fan of debates. I find that they can get repetitive. Instead, I use deliberative discussions. Deliberative discussions require students to work together to pursue a collective answer to a question or solution to a problem. An example can involve questions about conflict resolution. I have also had my forensic psychology students investigate and support or refute a grand jury’s decision to not indict a person using case evidence and documents. Their final presentation must include an explanation of the problem, the process they used, their findings, and the significance of their findings.
- Presentation Jigsaw: One cool thing about Google Slides is that it allows multiple users to work on a presentation at the same time. With a computer cart, groups of students can divide up slides in a presentation. Each group of students can present on a different topic. My AP Psychology classes have done this with a biopsychology unit. One group presents on the brain, another presents on the neuron, and the third group presents on the overall nervous system. Having the students complete this assignment using Google Drive allows the teacher to open the shared presentations to refer to while helping the students. The teacher can check the presentations as a formative assessment or project them on a Smartboard to point out key points to students in the class. By doing this, the teacher can take on more of a guiding role and can facilitate the process by pointing out anything that is missing or needs attention.
Let me know if you use any of these or if you have any questions. Do you do have any other ideas or strategies you like to use? Share them in the comments. Be sure to subscribe to the blog to see more in the future. Follow me on Twitter @JoshuaElliott3 for more tips and ideas.