Foundations of Education and Instructional Assessment/Involving Students/Early Elementary

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Getting Students Involved in the Assessment Process - Early Elementary.[edit | edit source]

by Courtney Townsend
Learning Targets
  • Be able to clearly define assessment.
  • Explain how student-involvement is beneficial towards the assessment process.

Introduction[edit | edit source]

As aspiring teachers, it can be a bit unnerving to determine the best way of evaluating and testing our students adequately. With student involvement, the assessment process can be geared towards meeting the needs of students. In early elementary school, input from younger children helps teachers form assessments that help to evaluate their student's strengths and weaknesses in order to adjust their teaching methods for their class.

What is assessment?[edit | edit source]

Assessment is an evaluation that can test what students have retained not only after they were introduced to the information but also while they are learning the information. The University of Northern Iowa's Higher Learning Commission explains assessment in a more in-depth manner:

“Assessment of student learning is a participatory, iterative process that:

  • Provides data/information you need on your students’ learning
  • Engages you and others in analyzing and using this data/information to confirm and improve teaching and learning
  • Produces evidence that students are learning the outcomes you intended
  • Guides you in making educational and institutional improvements
  • Evaluates whether changes made improve/impact student learning, and documents the learning and your efforts" (UNI, 2006).

All of these key points influence what it takes to form a well-devised and efficient learning assessment.

How should teachers integrate assessment into the classroom?[edit | edit source]

Choosing the best way to evaluate students and choose an assessment FOR learning can sometimes take a lot of trial and error. It can be challenging at times to devise a way of testing a student's application of knowledge and not just test knowledge itself. This can be avoided using performance-based testing which, according to the online-journal, Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, "require individuals to apply their knowledge and skills in context, not merely completing a task on cue" (Brualdi, 1998). Some teachers get nervous about using performance-based assessment because they are nervous about the affects of letting students do activities while they are learning, rather than waiting at the end of a lesson to do testing. For those who are skeptical, this advice is given: "The key for the instructors is to understand how the process works, take some precautionary steps to smooth out the bumps, and wait out the inevitable setbacks until the payoffs start emerging" (Brent & Felder, 2006). In order to try integrating assessment, it is best to consider how well you think your students will react and choose an activity that will best suit their needs as a whole.

There are some things that you must take into account before you choose the activity: time constraints, availability of resources in the classroom, and how much data is necessary in order to make an informed decision about the quality of a student's performance (Brualdi, 1998).

How can student-involvement be used in Elementary School?[edit | edit source]

For young elementary school students, using tests that assess only their knowledge of what they have learned can sometimes cause students to memorize what they have learned rather than use what they have learned in a task. It can be very rewarding to have their input when it comes to devising an appropriate performance-based assessment. Teachers can gain input of what their students wish to try for an assessment by taking surveys of their opinions or simply having them raise their hands and vote on different options for assessment. Especially for young elementary-age students, it is important for them to have clear and concise instructions so that they will know what is expected of them and be able to participate appropriately.

Assessments can be formal or informal. Getting a students input concerning rubrics can be a great way for them to know ahead of time what they need know or pay attention to if they participate in the rubric-making process. According to Amy Brualdi, "You can engage students in this process by showing them examples of the same task performed/project completed at different levels and discuss to what degree the different elements of the criteria were displayed" (Brualdi, 1998).

For great examples of assessments as well as helpful tips, click here![1]

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

When it comes to assessments for elementary school students, it is always best to experiment with different ways in order to find the best one for you and your students. It is always helpful and beneficial to get your students' opinions in order to hear their desires for their ideal performance-based assessment. Letting students be a part of your work is a rewarding way of getting to know them better in addition to seeing them shine throughout tasks that they are given.

Quiz[edit | edit source]

1. Which of the following do assessments NOT achieve?

A. Engages you and others in analyzing and using this data/information to confirm and improve teaching and learning.

B. Provides data/information you need on your students’ learning.

C. Critique every mistake a student makes.

D. Produces evidence that students are learning the outcomes you intended.

2. What factors help a teacher choose an appropriate activity for an assessment?

A. time constraints

B. availability of resources in the classroom

C. how much data is necessary to evaluate a student's progress

D. all of the above

3. A student who is completing an activity that shows what they have learned is doing which of the following?

A. performance-based assessment

B. formal assessment

C. informal assessment

D. summative assessment

4. Involving students in the assessment process is beneficial to their learning.

A. true

B. false

Answer Key

1. C

2. D

3. A

4. A

References[edit | edit source]

Brent, R. & Felder, R.M. (2006). "Navigating the Bumpy Road To Student-Centered Instruction." Retrieved from the University of Delaware website:

Brualdi, A. (1998). "Implementing Performance Assessment in the Classroom." Retrieved March 22, 2009 from the online-journal Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation website:

University of Northern Iowa. (2006). A Definition of Assessment From the Higher Learning Commission. Retrieved March 21, 2009 from the Office of Academic Assessment, UNI website: