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Shabazz City High School : Assessment Strategies

Interactive Responders

Interactive Responders are wireless hand-held assessment devices used to assess student learning. Use of the responders or "clickers" requires a receiver (often a USB compatible devise that receives the responses from the clickers) and the accompanying assessment software (which creates graphs and analysis of the student data). They can be used for informal assessment during a lesson to determine if all students are understanding the material, if you need to explain further, reteach, or go on, or they can be used for formal assessment such as a quiz or exam. The interactive responders do not require the use of a SMART or Promethean board, but they can be integrated. The responders are ideal for objective questions: multiple choice, true-false, yes-no, numerical or text responses. Because of the design and intent of the clickers, asking students to write short answer or paragraph length responses would not be effective. One benefit to using the responders is that the responses are anonymous, so students will not be singled out if they answer the question incorrectly.  While the responses are anonymous, they are numbered, so you can keep track of who has answered the question. Depending on the type of software, some interactive responders can be set so that students login. The accompanying software is most useful to the teacher because it allows him/her to view and manage the questions that they've used, tag questions with standards or keywords, generate reports, or create a grade book that will automatically track student responses and performance on quizzes or tests. The data can then be exported as an excel spreadsheet.

A-ha! Umhmm... Say What?

ah-ha moments

Ah-ha! Umhmm... Say What? is a strategy for assessing student understanding of an assigned reading and to encourage students to self-assess their own understanding of a text. The "ah-ha" stands for something that the student learned that was brand new and intriguing, the "Umhmmm" represents an idea that they knew before, but was a good point in the text, and finally, the "Say What?" is used to mark a point that they found confusing. The strategy can be done during or after their reading of a complex chapter or article. If you are hoping to increase their metacognition, it might be better to have them conduct the exercise while they are reading, so that they can see the two actions happening at the same time: they are reading and thinking about how they are reading the text. If the assessment is done at the conclusion of the reading, it serves as a vehicle for reviewing the text and re-thinking about what they've read and how they worked through it.  To implement the strategy, students could either mark the text with post-it notes or divide their paper into the three sections and take notes their, adding page numbers for reference.



A portfolio is a summative assessment tool used to showcase a varied collection of a student's best work over an extended period of time. Because evaluation of the portfolio is subjective, it is important to be clear about the goal and purpose for using the portfolio. Some goals may include: showcase specific skills learned, demonstrate growth over time, provide exemplars of different writing modalities, or demonstrate understanding of a unit of study.  While each individual piece may be assessed individually, the portfolio takes on a higher purpose because students write a reflection for each piece submitted. They can answer questions related to selection: How does this piece represent your best work?, process: How did you complete/create this piece? What was most challenging? What might you do differently if you did this again? or affect: What are/were your reactions and feelings about each piece?

One-Minute Essay


The one-minute essay is a formative assessment tool used at the end of a lesson or the end of a class period.  Before students move on to another task or another classroom, ask them to write for 60 seconds about what they learned. Because it is such a short time frame, students must write about the most important thing they learned or the idea that most prominently stood out. They must be concise and direct. Students enjoy this because it is not a laborious endeavor and it excites them because they have a limited amount of time. You could use this strategy as an exit slip, something that students must complete in order to go on, or you could have them collect their one-minute essays in a specific section of their notebook and overtime, the one-minute essays develop into an archive of their thoughts throughout the quarter.  Remind students not to worry about grammar and spelling, the idea is to reflect on their learning. It serves as an assessment tool for you, but also a self-assessment tool for the students.

Self-Assessment Survey


While some assessments have qualities of self-assessment embedded within them, the purpose of a self-assessment survey is entirely based on an individual evaluating their abilities, experience and performance in order to do better work in the future. The survey will be tailored to your intents and purposes, but will generally ask questions about particular dimensions of academic performance, skill-level, motivation, personal or professional experience, background knowledge, and content knowledge. It serves as a means of personal reflection (for the student), establishing a baseline (for the instructor, especially working with new students), and setting goals/giving direction to the course.  Most often the questions are presented in a likert scale, with a range of responses between "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree" or "almost always" to "rarely or never".  It is helpful to add space after the objective questions where students can add comments, feedback, or clarification because the objective questions may not take into considerations all perspectives or ideas.