Check out some of the recently released Sample Items and Performance Tasks from Smarter Balanced. on the arrows in the lower right hand corner to make the video full screen.

There are many ways to check for understanding, knowledge, interests and feelings before, during, or after a lesson. Here are a few ideas for making assessment simpler by using technology.

Clickers or student response systems have been a valuable tool in the classroom in recent years. Students each have a little device (clicker) and they click the proper answer choice to the questions displayed on the screen. They look like little remote controls. These were great but somewhat limiting as students could only select t/f, y/n, and multiple choice. We all know that is not always the best type of assessment. The newer clickers (Promethean ActivExpressions and others) now allow short answers. The remote to the students feels more like a cell phone with texting.
One of the greatest features of the response systems are the results that are tabulated for the teacher. You can clearly see how the class did on each question, making it clear what should be retaught to the entire group. You are also given individual results for each question, making it simpler to differentiate the instruction.

Response Cards are a cheap alternative to clickers! Make 3x5 cards or 4x6 cards in Pages. These can also be made on the fly with index cards and markers. When called to respond students pinch the card at the right answer and hold the card so it is visible to the teacher. All responses are on one side of the card. The teacher quickly scans the room to assess his/her students' understanding and makes notes.
Print out the cards, put them in a baggie and give to each student, including blank index cards.

Anecdotal Records
The teacher's observations are important. However, these must be recorded in a systematic way to be effective. Here are a few options:
  • Make a table in Pages with your students listed down the left hand side. The other column is for teacher observations. You might want one of these pages for each subject area. These can also be very specific. You might create one just for observing reading fluency. Or for group participation. Or . . .
  • Individual Student Cards. These can also be made in Pages with a table. Put the students name in the lower left hand corner of the card. Put these on a clip board with a cover card. These will be like a flip book with only the students' names showing at the bottom as in the first picture below. This is very handy when observing individuals or groups. The card on the right is an example of oral/silent reading behaviors.

Google Forms
In Google Docs create a form to quickly assess students' understandings. Questions can be written as multiple choice, true/false, yes/no, short text or paragraph. The answers to the questions go automatically into a google spreadsheet where the teacher can sort the data.

PBL Checklists - There are times you might just need checklists to see how your students are doing. These checklists are very simple to create.

*Intel's Assessment Tool - you must have a username and password to use this tool. It is worth the time though. There are many assessments created. These include assessments on group work, creativity, management skills, and many other topics. These can also be tweaked if you want to make changes.

RubiStar - this is a great place to find rubrics for a variety of projects: speeches, multimedia presentations, brochures, and many other projects. If you want to tweak a rubric you'll find it very easy to do! Change almost anything on the rubrics to make it work for you.

Techniques to Check for Understanding
These ideas are from the book called Unerstanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, pages 166 and 167. Click on the pdf below to download the document.