Methods and Tips for Assessing Your Students

Methods and Tips for Assessing Your Students

It is incredibly important that you are able to effectively assess each one of your students so that you can get all the information you need on them. If you teach k-12 students, it is crucial that you have not one but numerous ways of getting useful insight into them so you can help each one accordingly.

All students have strengths and weaknesses, and the better you’re able to assess your students the more you can help them overall.


Qualitative Assessments

While you may be tempted to use quantitative assessment methods to see what level each of your students is on, the fact is that qualitative assessments tend to be much more accurate and helpful as a whole. You will need to make a point of assessing what your students need to learn the most, and there are many different ways to go about doing that. It’s also important to document what kind of experience your students have with the material you are teaching and activities you introduce into the classroom.


Keep an Open Mind

When you are going about assessing your students and engaging with them directly, it is important that you keep an open mind when it comes to all of the different experiences that can unfold. You do not want to get into the habit of being too rigid in your lesson plans and assessment methods with your students, because doing so will only serve to hurt them. It is impossible for you to determine in advance everything that each student is going to learn, so you will want to keep that in mind.


What it tells you

The information that you gather on your students will be able to tell you a lot of useful things, including what they find to be most important and interesting about their academic experiences. These details and insights are invaluable when it comes to improving the classroom environment and helping your students to learn in a more fun and effective way. You will also be able to learn what things matter most to your students, which will help you when it comes to choosing what to teach them.

It’s important that you focus more so on the quality of the information you get from your assessments rather than the quantity. A little bit of useful information is always better than a lot of useless information. The more quality information that you get on your students from your assessments, the more effective of an educator you will become. Don’t get caught up in get as much information as possible, but rather getting the best and most accurate insight you can.


In-Class Activities

One of the more effective ways to assess the things that matter most when it comes to your students is by having the entire class participate in certain activities. You can break your class apart into small groups for mini problem solving projects that will force them to work together. You will actually be able to learn quite a bit from each individual student as well as your class as a whole by doing this. If you choose to implement in-class activities, make sure that you are making your way around the class to see how each individual group is doing. You will most likely get a much better sense as to where your students are and how they learn from this sort of thing.



Exams, tests and quizzes have been part of all students’ curriculum for a very long time, but they can be extremely valuable when it comes to finding out how each of your students is doing. You will be able to use the exams you administer to your students to evaluate them and see what level they are on in the subject(s) they are being tested in. While it’s true that exams and tests can be helpful when it comes to assessing students, you don’t want to use them as the gold standard for assessment. This is just one of the many tools that you should consider using when it comes to finding out how your students learn and where they are academically.



Both group and individual presentation assignments can be another good way to assess your students in a very effective way. These types of assignments will provide your students with the opportunity to delve deeper into the material and put their knowledge to use in a practical way. Chances are your students will enjoy putting together a presentation to show the class, especially if they are genuinely interested in the material it is based on. You can get a great sense as to what each student is like when you see them up in front of the entire class showing off their project and talking about it.


Grading vs. Assessing

In attempting to successfully assess each of your students, it is important to keep in mind that grading is not the same as assessing. The last thing you want to do is to confuse these two things, because doing so will only put you farther away from truly understanding your pupils. There are certain things that a grade cannot tell you about a student, such as how he or she learns best and what they are interested in learning. You will definitely want to remember this when trying to gain as much insight as possible into your students.


Creative Assignments

By occasionally giving out creative assignments that allow your students some room to use their imaginations, you should be able to gain quite a bit of useful insight into each of them. Even history and math teachers should make a point of doing this, despite the fact that it may seem a little bit strange or out of place for the subject matter. There are ways to make any subject creative if you try hard enough. Your students will be sure to appreciate you allowing them to use their imaginations once in a while.

About The Author

Professor David Percival

Director of AHVC programme, and specialist in art and technology, including presence research, mixed and virtual reality.