XI. Modes of Assessment: Development, Scoring, and Validation

Traditional Assessment

Traditional assessments are “tests” taken with paper and pencil that are usually true/false, matching, or multiple choice. These assessments are easy to grade, but only test isolated application, facts, or memorized data at lower-level thinking skills. A student must be evaluated using various performance tasks and assessments.

Performance assessments include authentic assessments, alternative assessments, and integrated performance assessments.

Learners must use more complex, higher-order thinking skills. They must reason, problem-solve, or collaborate with others to produce individual responses. Rubrics, provided ahead of time so learners know their expectations, are used to evaluate students on multiple competency levels.

In Herman, Aschabacher, and Winters, 1992, alternative assessment, authentic assessment, and performance-based assessment “require students to generate rather than choose a response.”

Alternative assessments focus on the students’ strengths — what theycan do — allowing the teacher to choose an appropriate assessment for students with different learning styles, maturity levels, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, and other characteristics that could affect language performance. While one student may choose to write a response, another student may perform better in a role-play situation.

Although paper and pencil tests can be effective when assessing listening and reading comprehension skills, they are not appropriate assessment methods for performance skills such as speaking and writing. In a balanced assessment program, a variety of assessment techniques should be incorporated into daily instruction.

Authentic assessments combine the traditional academic content with the knowledge and skills needed to function appropriately in the real world. The context, purpose, audience, and focus should connect to real-world situations and problems.

Performance-based assessments

Performance-based assessments require the learner to perform in realistic situations. Students participate in specific tasks, interviews, or performances that are appropriate to the audience and setting.

An integrated performance assessment includes all three modes of communications — interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational — as a task in which students use a variety of skills appropriately in a realistic, real-world situation.


  • Open-ended questions
  • Role-play realistic situations
  • Writing samples
  • Interviews
  • Journals and learning logs
  • Retelling story
  • Cloze tests
  • Portfolios
  • Self and peer assessments
  • Teacher observations
  • Checklists
  • Surveys
  • Think-Pair-Share
  • KWL charts
  • Admit and exit slips
  • Concept maps or other graphic organizers


These assessments should be evaluated with rubrics or pre-set criterion.

  • Oral presentation
  • Demonstration
  • Dramatic reading
  • Dramatic performance
  • Role-play enactment
  • Debate
  • Panel discussion


The following are just a few ideas of products you can assign to students for assessment.

  • Story, poem, or play
  • Video or audio presentation
  • Portfolio
  • Log or journal
  • Essay, report, or research paper
  • Model or graphic representation

source: LEARN NC, a program of the UNC School of Education (http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/linguafolio/6305)


Rubrics: useful assessment tools

Rubrics are excellent tools to use when assessing students’ work for several reasons. You might consider developing and using rubrics if:

  • You find yourself re-writing the same comments on several different students’ assignments.
  • Your marking load is high, and writing out comments takes up a lot of your time.
  • Students repeatedly question you about the assignment requirements, even after you’ve handed back the marked the assignment.
  • You want to address the specific components of your marking scheme for student and instructor use both prior to and following the assignment submission.

A rubric is an assessment tool that clearly indicates marking criteria. It can be used for marking assignments, class participation, or overall grades. There are two types of rubrics: holistic and analytical.

  • Holistic rubrics group several different assessment criteria and classify them together under grade headings.
  • Analytic rubrics, on the other hand, separate different assessment criteria and address them comprehensively. The top axis includes values that can be expressed either numerically or by letter grade. The side axis includes the assessment criteria.

How to make a rubric:

  1. Decide what criteria or essential elements must be present in the student’s work to ensure that it is high in quality. At this stage, you might even consider selecting samples of exemplary student work that can be shown to students when setting assignments.
  2. Decide how many levels of achievement you will include on the rubric.
  3. For each criterion or essential element of quality, develop a clear description of performance at each achievement level.
  4. Leave space for additional comments and a final grade.

Variation: developing rubrics interactively with your students

You can enhance students’ learning experience by involving them in the rubric development process. Either as a class or in small groups, students decide upon criteria for grading the assignment. It would be helpful to provide students with samples of exemplary work so they could identify the criteria with greater ease. In such an activity, the instructor functions as facilitator, guiding the students toward the final goal of a rubric that can be used on their assignment. This activity not only results in a greater learning experience, it also enables students to feel a greater sense of ownership and inclusion in the decision making process.

How to use rubrics effectively

  • Develop a different rubric for each assignment. Although this takes time in the beginning, you’ll find that rubrics can be changed slightly or re-used later.
  • Give students a copy of the rubric when you assign the performance task.
  • Require students to attach the rubric to the assignment when they hand it in.
  • When you mark the assignment, circle or highlight the achieved level of performance for each criterion.
  • Include any additional comments that do not fit within the rubric’s criteria.
  • Decide upon a final grade for the assignment based on the rubric.
  • Hand the rubric back with the assignment.
  • If an assignment is being submitted to an electronic drop box you may be able to develop and use an online rubric. The scores from these rubrics are automatically entered in the online grade book in the course management system.

SOURCE: The Centre for Teaching Excellence
Environment ( https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-for-teaching-excellence/teaching-resources/teaching-tips/assessing-student-work/grading-and-feedback/rubrics-useful-assessment-tools)


What is portfolio assessment?

Portfolio assessment is an assessment form that learners do together with their teachers, and is an alternative to the classic classroom test. The portfolio contains samples of the learner’s work and shows growth over time. An important keyword is reflection: By reflection on their own work, learners begin to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their own work (self-assessment). The weaknesses then become improvement goals. In portfolio assessment it is the quality that counts, not the quantity. Another keyword is learning objectives. Each portfolio entry needs to be assessed with reference to its specific learning objectives or goals.

Different schools may create different forms of portfolios. Some schools create portfolios that are a representative sample of the learners’ work, while other schools use the portfolios as an assessment tool that can be an alternative to classical classroom tests and standardized teacher evaluation.


In portfolio assessment, the learners reflect on their own work. The reflections should say something about why the learners have made the choices they have made in the portfolio, and describe the method used to arrive at the final result. If two learners submit the same work for assessment, the individual reflections may make the difference. Even if a learner has failed with the content presented in the assessment portfolio to a certain degree, he or she might be rewarded for mature reflections on the work.

Preparations before you start with portfolio assessment

Portfolio assessment requires thorough preparation. Before you start with portfolio assessment in a course, you should specify the extent of the content and specify what and how much content is to be included in the portfolio. You should also specify how it should be assessed. In other words, portfolio assessment requires planning in advance.


Published by:

Rachel Shayne A. Besangre

Failure is a great teacher, and I think when you make mistakes and you recover from them and you treat them as valuable learning experiences, then you've got something to share (Steve Harvey) ^______^

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