Top 10 Best Practices in Student Assessment

9 Aug, 2022
Paresh @Boloforms
6 min read
Use AI to answer all your Excel & Google Sheets related queries. Try SheetGod for free now.
Try now!


Assessment is one of the most important tasks for teachers and students alike. Effective assessment allows us to measure progress toward learning goals, diagnose areas where further instruction is needed, and identify strengths as well as weaknesses in student performance. In this post, we'll discuss 10 best practices that will help you create more effective assessments in your classroom while freeing up time to focus on other aspects of teaching.

1. Fewer, but focused learning goals.

It is important to keep your goals specific, measurable, and focused. The more specific your learning outcomes are, the easier it will be for you to determine whether or not students have achieved them. For example: instead of asking students to describe ‘digital citizenship’ in a blog post, ask them what makes an appropriate digital citizen.

In addition to being specific, learning goals should also be aligned with your course’s learning objectives (more on this later). You want each student assessment item to reinforce one or more of these objectives while also providing valuable feedback that helps inform future teaching decisions and improve student comprehension of the content.

2. Make assessment an integral part of learning.

Assessments should be used to inform and improve the learning process, not just to gather data about students' progress. They can be used as diagnostic tools that help teachers determine how students are thinking about a concept or topic, what they find difficult, and where they need more support or practice with certain skills (such as problem solving). Assessment results also allow teachers to modify their classroom instruction in order to better meet the needs of all learners within their class.

  • Provide opportunities for all learners to demonstrate what they know and can do at their own pace using multiple methods of delivery (e.g., writing summaries; creating digital presentations; presenting orally).
  • Use rubrics when setting specific expectations for student work products such as essays, research papers or speeches.

3. Know your learning goals and draw on them in making your assessment decisions.

  • Know what you want your students to be able to do after the end of a course, and make sure that these goals are reflected in the learning-target statements that you write for each unit.
  • Make sure that you have clear objectives for each unit or section of a course, so that when you assess student work, it is clear what skills, knowledge and understanding are being assessed. The more specific your objectives are, the better able teachers will be able to identify opportunities for formative feedback.

4. Create a variety of assessments that are consistent with your course and program learning goals.

Do you want to know how to create a variety of assessments? Here is a way:

Use a variety of assessments to measure different learning goals. To do this, identify the learning goals for your course and program and develop assessments that align with each goal. For instance, if you are teaching an introductory statistics course that has multiple learning outcomes, one assessment could measure whether students can apply statistical concepts in real-world contexts (e.g., developing a regression model), while another assessment could evaluate whether students understand how statistical techniques are applied in social science research (e.g., conducting meta-analysis).

For example, some students may prefer written examinations while others may prefer practical activities such as role plays or case studies; still others may be more comfortable taking tests online than on paper. Therefore it’s important for instructors to have multiple types of exams available so they can accommodate all types of learners in their classes

5. Develop clear, measurable criteria with cues and rubrics; use them every time you assess students' work.

The first step to developing clear, measurable criteria is establishing the learning goals of your course. These goals should be focused and specific, providing a roadmap for what students will know and be able to do by the end of the course. Once you have determined the desired outcomes of your class (or unit), it’s time to create a set of criteria that students must meet in order to demonstrate mastery over those skills.

The second step involves creating cues related to each standard; these are also known as rubrics or scoring guides. A cue is simply a statement that tells students what they need to include in their work in order for it meet certain standards. For example: “In this assignment, I will demonstrate an understanding of how social media can reinforce gender stereotypes” could be one cue from a presentation on gender inequality using Instagram posts as evidence supporting their claims.*

The final part of developing clear, measurable criteria involves creating a way for students’ work to be evaluated using them. Rubrics are often used for this purpose. However, there are many different ways you could go about evaluating student performance—including peer review or self-assessment—so long as it is structured enough so that all faculty members who evaluate student submissions will provide consistent feedback (and thus consistent grades) based on your established standards.

6. Vary the assessment procedures-multiple choice, essay, problem-solving, etc.-to give students more than one way to demonstrate their learning and you more information about their strengths and weaknesses with respect to specific learning goals.

Vary the assessment procedures-multiple choice, essay, problem-solving, etc.-to give students more than one way to demonstrate their learning and you more information about their strengths and weaknesses with respect to specific learning goals.

For example, a student who struggles with reading comprehension might be asked to write a paragraph explaining an assigned reading passage. This allows the teacher to assess the student's ability to understand what they read and write at an appropriate level of complexity for their grade level (i.e., not too simple).

7. Students should be involved in developing the criteria for assessing their work through the use of cues or rubrics designed to clarify expectations for assignments, tests, or final projects.

In addition to helping students understand what is expected of them, a well-designed cue or rubric will also help them understand how they will be assessed. The more explicit you are about your expectations and standards for a product, test or final project, the better chance you have of creating an authentic learning experience that enables students to demonstrate what they know and can do (as opposed to just knowing it).

8. Perform regular analysis of your teaching, including student feedback on the course, student performance on assignments and tests, and self-reflection on what worked well and what didn't.

  • Include students in the assessment process by requesting feedback from them at key points in the semester. This can be done through surveys or informal interviews conducted over coffee with a few students who are interested in helping you improve your teaching. You may also want to consider asking students how they would rate their overall satisfaction with the class—and how they could improve it in order to achieve an A+ experience next time around!
  • Self-reflection is an important part of learning as well as professional development; take some time every week (or month) where you reflect on how well your lessons went over with your class and what aspects of your course could be improved upon for future semesters.

9. Use systems for data management to make grading easier, faster, more reliable, and more accurate so that you have more time to spend on interpretation and feedback for improvement instead of tallying up grades all day long.

Data management tools have many benefits:

  • They make it faster and easier to assign grades.
  • They're more accurate than your own calculations.
  • Your students will get their grades sooner, so they can spend less time wondering what they got wrong and more time learning from their mistakes.

You save time by using a data management system instead of doing all the work yourself, which means you can spend more time doing what really matters—giving feedback on growth and improvement in your student's performance over time!

10. BoloForms Timer + Proctor add-on can help you eliminate all the manual tasks so that you can focus on spending more time with your students. Plus, everything is integrated within Google Forms-which makes it super simple!


As a teacher, it's easy to fall into the habit of using traditional methods of assessment. But now more than ever, we need to think critically about how we assess our students and what kind of learning goals our assessments are helping us achieve. We can't just ask questions or give tests; we have to use evidence from other sources as well (e.g., portfolios or projects). These ten best practices are the start of an ongoing process for improving student assessment in your classroom, but remember that there is no perfect system and that no one method will work for every student in every situation."