Something Fun??? But I Thought You Said We Were Being Assessed??

Whenever a student hears assessment, they immediately think “Oh no…a test.” The anxiety and stress begins. Or you may have some students say “Oh thank goodness, I need to improve my grade.” Whatever it is, giving a test at the end of every unit is NOT the best way to assess student growth and learning, especially with diverse learners.

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So then what do I do?

Try to assess your students throughout the unit, not just with a test at the end! Give students plenty of ways to show that they are learning the material, not just that they can answer a question on a test verbatim to the study guide. Students are already tested so heavily because of state testing, and though they do need to know how to take these tests, there are other, more engaging ways to assess students.

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This clip shows how ridiculous a lot of testing can be and how even tests you may give students aren’t actually assessing the important concepts that they need to know. Some students may excel, and others may perform better in other ways.

The Science Teacher says that one way to increase engagement and to assess students is by incorporating more pictures and images into your classroom (Brunsell, 2011). When provided with a series of images, students could arrange, sequence, or match images together to show comprehension of a concept. Images could also be a great way to generate discussions in the classroom to see where students are in the learning process.

Can I Have an Example?

One thing you could do to assess students instead of a test is to have students record a commercial or infomercial about a concept. For example, if you are in a unit about the cells, you could ask students to pick their favorite organelle (or assign everyone a different one) and ask them to create a commercial stating why a consumer should want to have that organelle. They can be as creative as they want while still showing that they understand the material.

A rubric for this could look like this:

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The rubric still assesses whether the student understands the material, but allows them to show it in their own way.


To differentiate for ELL students, students could be put in pairs or groups so that they can take their time to work through the language. Also, many visuals could be used so that the concepts are still shown, but not necessarily through spoken language.

For visually impaired students, an option for a podcast could be included and the rubric could be adjusted in the graphics category.

Brunsell, E., & Horejsi, M. (2011). Science 2.0: Picture This Assessment. The Science Teacher, 78(1), 10-10. Retrieved from


  1. Margaux,

    Your blog was amazing! You introduced your rubric really well, it set up a good visual for what I might use it for! My favorite part of your post was how you included thoughtfulness in differentiation with ELLs. I think you could also include more for your visually impaired students, but I love the podcast idea! What else could you incorporate for visually impaired students?


  2. Margaux, this was a very awesome and informational blog post. I loved the video that you used to really exaggerate how testing can be bad forms of assessments. The information form the science teacher journal was spot on with what we have been learning in all of our classes. I liked the simple accommodations that you will use when it come to assessment! Overall great blog post!

    • Thanks Bailey! I think the video shows just how ridiculous a lot of testing can be. Not just with the fact that there are better ways to assess, but also because it demonstrates that what its supposed to be assessing may not even be accurate. I am glad that you liked the accommodations because I tend to struggle with those sorts of things honestly. Thanks again!

  3. Margaux,

    I really enjoyed your blog! I like how you address to continually assess and not just save it for the end of a lesson! I think that’s a super important detail. In your experience as a student or in the field, what’s been your favorite assessment type or example you’ve encountered? Love the commercial idea by the way. Great blog!


    • Thanks Wyatt! I agree and think that formative assessment is super important. One of my favorite types of assessment, though not related to science but I’m sure could be adapted, was in my high school Spanish class. We were learning food words and how to say commands, so our teacher had us film an instructional cooking video. This was fun but we also had to demonstrate that we knew the words. Things like this are good to use to get out of the habit of using tests. Thanks again!

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