4 Different Ways To Evaluate Student Progress In the Inclusive Class
One of the most common questions I am asked about inclusive education is how do teachers educate so many diverse learners in one classroom? My response usually involves an explanation of techniques that inclusive teachers use such as Universal Design for Learning (UDL for short). In brief, UDL involves giving instruction that presents information and content in various ways, gives students different ways to show what they know, and stimulates an interest in more learning.
However, what happens once the lesson is over? How do teachers assess diverse student abilities and growth in an inclusive class? While not as common, these questions are just as important. Assessing and grading students must be as flexible and adaptable as instruction. Just like a “one size fits all” approach does not work with instruction, the same is true for student evaluation. Grading systems need to be fair and accurately reflect a student ability and potential.
In today’s diverse classrooms, it is as important for teachers to have different ways of assessing students as they do with teaching them. In addition to state and national standardized tests given at the end of a unit or semester, teachers can use a variety of well researched-based methods throughout the learning process to give students opportunities to demonstrate their learning. Below are 8 different types of ways that teachers can use to assess student progress in an inclusive class:
1. Change Weighting Scale
When calculating a final grade for report cards, teachers use student assignments, tests, quizzes, and exams collected over the semester. Each type of assessment holds a certain “weight” in the overall grade. Exam results might be worth 50% of the entire grade, while daily assignments are worth 20%. For students with instructional accommodations and modifications, teachers can adjust the importance or weight of an assessment activity.
2. Use Informal Observation
Observing students throughout the school day can give important insight into their learning needs and progress. Collecting data through notes, checklists, sticky notes, and audio notes can help teachers keep track of student strengths and needs. Moreover, informal observations alert teachers to issues and information that one can’t provide on a written test.
3. Allow for Self-Assessment
Give students an opportunity to assess their own learning and reflect on the progress they are making. They can identify their own gaps in skills or knowledge, revise their work, and set realistic goals. This process also helps students stay motivated and interested in their own learning.
4. Provide Multiple Test Formats
Tests do not need to be restricted to pencil and paper formats. Students with written output issues can be given oral-response tests. Teachers can use multiple choice, long answer, short answer, diagrams, charts, fill-in-the-blank, and other graphic organizers to have students answer questions about material.
There are hundreds of ways that teachers can assess students over the course of a school year. Giving students numerous ways to demonstrate their learning can give teachers a clearer picture of student progress than with written tests alone. For more tips and suggestions for assessing students in the inclusive class, visit www.theinclusiveclass.com.