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Student Centered Learning - Testing and Assessment

Page history last edited by aj265117@... 6 years, 3 months ago


How can you implement assessment so that it enhances student-centered learning?



First, what's the difference between assessment and evaluation strategies?

Assessment is the gathering of data about students’ performances like class activities, teachers observations, and quizzes to judge what students understand.

Evaluation is the process of making a judgement about the meaning of the data gathered by assessment. There are three types of evaluations:

                         1. Assessment for Learning (AFL)

                         2. Assessment as Learning (AAL)

                         3. Assessment of Learning (AOL)


These evaluations will guide the next steps of a lesson, inform student`s of their progress, and eventually be used to determine if the student has mastered the material. But…what if the assessment data is not necessarily wrong but…incomplete? What can we do to assess each student as full as possible to ensure the most accurate evaluations (CASLT ACPLS, 2015)?



     In addition to this fabulous video resource published on July 24, 2015, by CASLT ACPLS located above. We also have compiled summaries of specific methods/strategies for using student-centered learning in assessment not to just accurately assess students, but also so we, as teachers, can enhance their learning experience both through a more accurate gathering of data for evaluations allowing teachers to fully realize each student's potential but also to make every assessment meaningful to every student- not just some.


Let's look at IB Primary Years Program Assessment example brought by McGraw World IB Elementary school.

Preschool through Elementary School Level

What to assess?


  • Understanding of concepts (big ideas that transcend traditional subject areas)
  • Acquisition of knowledge
  • Mastery of skills
  • Development of attitudes
  • Decision to take action
  • Demonstration of the attributes of the IB learner profile
  • Student progress and performance in the following subject areas: language; mathematics; social studies; science; the arts; science; personal, social and physical education


When does assessment take place in a PYP school?

Assessment is a continuous process that allows teachers, parents, and children to identify areas of strength and areas that need improvement, as well as the effectiveness of the program. It is a daily activity at McGraw and takes various forms. There are two main categories of assessment:

  • Formative Assessment is interwoven with daily learning and helps teachers and students find out what children already know, understand and can do in order to plan for further student learning and growth. Formative assessment occurs throughout a learning unit or process.
  • Summative Assessment takes place at the end of a learning unit or process. It is a chance for students, teachers and parents to evaluate progress and demonstrate what has been learned over the course of time. It is a formal ending point to a taught unit or of a process but not necessarily the end of student learning in the areas being assessed.


What are the characteristics of effective assessments in the PYP?


  • Have criteria that are known and understood in advance
  • Allow children to synthesize and apply their learning, not merely recall facts
  • Promote student reflection and self-evaluation
  • Focus on the production of quality products or performances
  • Highlight children’s strengths and allows them to demonstrate mastery and expertise
  • Allow children to express different points of view and interpretations
  • Provide feedback regarding every stage of the learning/teaching cycle
  • Based on student needs, interests and learning styles (student-driven)
  • Involve collaboration between students and teachers
  • Produce evidence of student growth and learning that can be clearly reported and understood by children, parents, teachers and administrators
  • Identify what is worth knowing
  • Begin with the end results in mind (backwards design – what students should be able to know or do by the end of a learning unit, lesson or process)



Middle School through High School Level

Retrieved from IB Programme Standards and Practices

MYP requirements

  • The school uses the prescribed assessment criteria for each subject group in each year of the programme.
  • Teachers standardize their understanding and application of criteria before deciding on achievement levels.



In summary, when creating MYP units, teachers must ensure that assessments:

  • are integral to the learning process

  • are aligned with subject-group objectives

  • gather information from a variety of perspectives, using a range of tasks according to the needs of the subject and the nature of the knowledge, skills and understanding being assessed

  • are appropriate to the age group and reflect the development of the students within the subject

  • provide evidence of student understanding through authentic performance (not simply the recall of factual knowledge). 


As suggested by International Baccalaureate Organization, assessments can include:



  • Compositions—musical, physical, artistic

  • Creation of solutions or products in response to problems

  • Essays

  • Examinations

  • Questionnaires 


  • Investigations

  • Research

  • Performances

  • Presentations—verbal (oral or written), graphic (through various media)


 (MYP From Principles to Practice Guide, September 2014)  





So what are some assessment activities that will assist my student-centered teaching?


1. Learning Profile Cards from McCarthy published in 2016


Activity time: This takes about 10-25 minutes depending on the speed of the student’s or parent’s writing. You should use parents or older students to fill in the answers if the task of writing is too tedious for a younger child such as preschool or up to second grade.


Materials: Index card and a pen or pencil


     1. Have the students fill out the back of the card with their name and hopefully a phone number or email address.

                 - If for privacy or bullying concerns the contact method isn't available, then just put the name. Phone numbers are more likely

                   to be useful to a group than an email because at the elementary age many kids’ interest usage is heavily monitered for safety reason, so they

might not have an email.

               - The reason a contact method is necessary is because for collaboration projects, the team members need

                  to be able to contact one another.

               - Collaboration is a key part of student-centered learning, but how can students effectively collaborate

                  without effective communication? This iswhere the exchange of phone numbers and/or emails can he helpful.

       2. Start filling out the centre of the card which will consist of 3-4 hobbies.

               - A student`s hobbies could include talking to friends, skateboarding, or even playing videogames.

               - Making a list of potential hobbies on the board before asking the student`s write down their hobbies would be helpful.

               - We can use the hobby information from assessment to help create assignments that our students can relate to.

                  In particular, students who seem to struggle in class and might otherwise fall farther and father behind as the semester

                 progresses might become more motivated when a topic that they`re interested is used.

              - Potential topics of interest could be: sports stats in a reading, or if they like video games but are weak in math, a math computer

                game for practicing multiplication would work really well. It`s all about motivating the students.

          3. Then on the left corner have the students mark between 1-4 how strong they are in math, science, social studies, reading, and english.

              - You should use an even number scale because if you use an odd number scale many students will simple select the middle odd number.

                 But, you can learn more about a student based on whether they`d rate themselves at the lower or upper end of a subject.

              - A lower rating in a subject might indicate that the student has low confidence in a subject and therefore, you should focus on building

                 their perceived skill in an area so that they want to put more effort into the subject. Most people don`t enjoy doing things that they

                 consider themselves bad at.

              -  Also, you can check what the student is most confident about in this assessment. This can be used in two ways to benefit the student

                  in two ways.

                                   a. You can link a students` stronger subjects with their weaker subjects.

                                                  - For instance, if a student is really strong in science, but they struggle in reading, you can use a science

                                                     reading in class to build interest/confidence in reading.

                                   b. You can make sure that in team collaboration projects the student believes that he'll/she'll be useful and

                                        effective in a role by assigning them a role that plays to their strengths.

-                                                  - Somebody good with media like video games might be better as a media editor. Likewise, somebody stronger

                                                       in English would be a good choice to be an editor for the group.

Important note: Every role though must have academic relevance to the assignment. A role like Material manager where the student is assigned to track down materials won`t work well because the student will be most active only at the beginning and end of the assignment. This means that some students might not contribute throughout the assignment resulting in an unequal division of labor and learning (McCarthy, 2016).


          4. Finally, you should have a section asking about preferred learning styles. The primary earning styles are:

                                             - Kinesthetic

                                             - Auditory

                                             - Visual

**** You should explain the learning style characteristics to them, but also do not provide an option for all because many students will choose all. 


           5. You're finished, and now you have the information to plan truly engaging and relevant lessons for all your students! 


2. You can use quiz games from apps or popular testing sites (Ekersley, 2016)

          - Assessment is an important step in figuring out whether students really understood the particulars of your lesson. But do you

             always have to use a paper and pencil? 

                         - No, great online quiz services like Quizziz and Kahoot provide a new way to asses things.

                         - When students use sites like this, they feel like they`re playing a video game, so less motivated students often try harder,

                            and some students might even complete more lessons than average for competitive purposes.

                         -  Plus, you have a convenient way to check your students stats and progress. 



This video was pulled from Marie Ekersley published January 15, 2016 and accessed on February 15, 2018.


3. From Personal Teaching Experience:


I've used Summative assessments in forms of creation of book covers, posters, stories, cultural celebration + presentation and a time capsule. For each project, I would allow students various forms of submission, for example, students with dyslexia who struggle with written form, could submit their summaries as picture stories, or orally. The students who benefit most from group projects have the chance to work in groups for formative assessments, those who prefer to work alone are given this chance as well. The form of how they submit their assignments needs to be very flexible, in order to make sure we as educators are meeting all the individual learning habits of our students. 


Students' success should be composed of their academic performance, development of skills, creative projects, and community service projects.It is also important when assessing the student not to compare the student to the whole class or even grade, compare him/her to his or her own progress within your course to be fair to individuality and peculiarities of each and every student. 





Want to learn about more ways to incorporate student-centered learning into your classroom? Check out our Student-Centered Learning page. 






CASLT ACPLS. (2015, July 24). Using assessment and evaluation strategies to support students. Retrieved February 13, 2018 from



Ekersley, M. (2016, August 1). Using the quiz game Kahoot! in an LDS classroom or special activity. Retrieved February 15, 2018 from 



International Baccalaureate Organization. (2014, September). MYP From Principles to Practice Guide. Retrieved from http://www.ibo.org/contentassets/477a9bccb5794081a7bb8dd0ec5a4d17/myplatestdevelopmentsoctober2011ibaemconference.pdf 


International Baccalaureate Organization. (2014, January). Programme Standards and Practices. Retrieved from 



McCarthy, J. (2016, January 15). Learning preference cards. Retrieved from http://openingpaths.org/blog/2014/01/learning-profile-cards/


McGrowElementary. PYP Assessment. Retrieved from https://mcg.psdschools.org/international-baccalaureate/assessment-pyp 


Miller, J. (2015, September 2). Using assessment to create student-centered learning. Retrieved from



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