Teacher to teacher: Conducting informal assessments
Davidson Institute for Talent Development
Educators Guild Newsletter
Vol. 1, Issue 1.
2003

This brief article is written for teachers by a former public school teacher, and discusses a few simple ways to conduct informal assessments.

Meeting the needs of gifted students does not need to be an all-consuming task. One of the easiest ways to better understand how to provide challenging material is to conduct informal, whole-class assessments on a regular basis.

For example, before beginning any unit, administer the end-of-the-unit test. Students who score better than 80 percent should not be forced to "relearn" information they already know. Rather, these students should be given parallel opportunities that are challenging. I generally offered these students the option to complete an independent project on the topic or to substitute another experience that would meet the objectives of the assignment, i.e. taking a college/distance course.

With areas of the curriculum that are sequential, such as mathematics and spelling, I recommend giving the end-of-the-year test during the first week of school. If you have students who demonstrate competency at 80 percent or higher, you will save them an entire year of frustration and boredom if you can determine exactly what their ability level is and then offer them curriculum that allows them to move onto the next grade.

Formal assessments can be extremely helpful, however, they are expensive, and there is generally a backlog of students waiting to be tested. Conducting informal assessments is a useful and inexpensive tool that will offer you a lot of information.


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Comments

Contributed by: Educator on 2/1/2005
This article is helpful for teachers who are looking to get some advice about how to keep their students working at their ability level and not getting bored in the classroom. I think administering tests to an entire class before giving them the subject to study is a great idea!

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