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NYC Helpline: How To: Manage Your Classroom
View Instructional Videos for Teachers about Classroom Management

Classroom Management (Secondary)

A high school science teacher demonstrates how her structured and routine-based classroom environment is the key to success.

Classroom Management (Elementary)

An elementary school teacher guides us through her daily classroom routines and shows how consistency and structure are essential.

Classroom Management through Cooperative Groups

View two elementary school teachers demonstrate how they engage their students through group work to help them learn.

How to Home
NYC Helpline: Manage Your Classroom
NYC Helpline: How To Get Started

How Am I Doing? Assessing Student Progress
Carolyn Hornik

As educators, it’s critical to know how each of our students is progressing so that we can plan lessons and strategies to suit each student’s needs. We want to be able to use each student’s strengths to build up areas of weakness. Assessments are used as guidelines to enable educators to differentiate instruction. In order to improve the overall quality of students’ performance, assessments should be based on a wide range of materials and tasks. Testing alone is not a sufficient tool to assess all aspects of student performance.

Steps to Effective Evaluation

  • Align standards, learning goals, objectives, and aims to a set of performance criteria.
  • Consider your students diverse learning styles and multiple intelligences when establishing assessment criteria.
  • Define and base criteria on specific skills, concepts, psychomotor and affective development, including attitudes, values, and inquiry.
  • Set up performance tasks or projects-based tasks to demonstrate or showcase students’ knowledge and attitudes, acquired in your class, according to the criteria established.
  • Make students of the criteria being used to assess their performance.

There are many assessment tools educators can make use of, including formative and summative assessments.

Formative tools assess where students are at the beginning of a lesson or unit of instruction.

Formative assessments determine student’s pre-instruction knowledge and are used as needs assessments. They lead to future remedial and/or enrichment steps to be in place as part of an instructional plan. Formative assessment tools include:

  • standardized and classroom diagnostic tests/quizzes
  • writing samples
  • questionnaires
  • The K (What Do We Know)  on a KWL chart
  • pre-unit conferences
  • graphic organizers/planning charts
  • brainstorming sessions
  • observation of students

Summative assessments chart progress made by the end of a lesson or unit.

Summative assessments are evaluations at the conclusion of a unit of instruction or activity. They determine student skills and knowledge acquired as a result of instruction and/or learning process. Summative tools include:

  • rubrics
  • checklists
  • culminating projects and/or student work samples (final written work, videos, photos, slide shows, skits, oral presentations, dramatization, journals, charts, art work, composition of songs, music or dance)
  • post unit tests
  • observations and anecdotal reports
  • student self-evaluation
  • peer assessment
  • post unit conferences and discussions
  • student portfolios

Just as a physician performs continual testing of patients in order to formulate a plan of treatment, educators use formative and summative assessments in creating an educational plan of action for students. Along with testing, alternative assessments serve as complements in providing educators and students with a complete picture of overall performance.

Related Resources:
Teachers Network, “Assessment Corner”

Sandy Scragg, “Multiple Assessments for Multiple Intelligences”

Houghton Miflfin, Educationplace, “Graphic Organizers”

Richard Swearingen, “A Primer: Diagnostic, Formative & Summative Assessment”

You can find many articles on assessment by visiting the How to Implement Standards, Curriculum, and Assessment page.


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