students are engaged in tasks, activities, and product creation,
you will use various tools to document their thinking and progress
toward learning goals. Set up a manageable record keeping system
that works for you. You might, for instance, keep a folder for
each student for notes, rubrics, and checklists.
are short descriptions of meaningful incidents, events, and student
comments that you observe (and hear) as students are engaged with
Journey North. Many teachers try to record just what they observe
or hear; at later point, they review notes and identify what they
reveal about student thinking, understanding, attitudes, and abilities.
can keep these on separate cards or sticky computer labels so
they can go right into students’ individual assessment folders
or individual students pages in a 3-ring binder.
Assessment Management Tips
students date all work so you and they can assess progress.
an assessment folder for each student.
students make pre/post concept maps, charts, or drawings,
have them use different colors before an after Journey
North learning experiences.
students write down journaling questions before answering
them so you and they have a record.
sticky labels or Post-It notes to note observations, student
comments, and other evidence of student thinking/abilities.
Transfer these to pages in students’ journals.
Checklists and Scales
note whether or not a behavior or understanding exists. A basic
checklist requires you (or students) to simply check off items;
you can also leave room for brief comments on each item. Scales
note to what degree a behavior exists or they describe the behavior.
A “Likert” scale, for instance, has a simple scoring
system so you can check off a level of achievement for each item
(e.g., beginning, developing, mastery).
can use these while students are engaged in activities and discussions,
apply them as you review student work, or have students use them
as self- or peer-assessments. If you design a checklist or scale,
be sure it reflects what you (and your standards) identify as
the most important skills, attitudes, and content.
offer you, students, and peers a chance to evaluate students’
grasp of concepts/topics by considering different levels of performance.
If you hand them out before the assignment begins, students can
think about the criteria on which their work will be judged. An
assessment rubric contains a measurement scale (often 4-point),
a set of criteria, and performance descriptions for each point
on the scale. A rubric can be general so it can be used in many
contexts (e.g., rubric for effective science investigations) or
taking photographs at different points during Journey North studies.
These can jog your memory about what students were doing and saying
during various investigations. More important, you can use them
as prompts to get youngsters to explain their thinking. For instance,
you might ask, How were you acting like a scientist here? or have
students write about what was happening in a photo and what they
learned from the experience.
Interpreting Children’s Work
By reviewing students’ drawings, writing, graphs, and other
work, you can uncover what and how students understand so you
can make instructional decisions to build on that understanding.
Ideally, you’d have students explain and describe their
thinking processes and use their responses as a window into their
thinking. Here are a few questions to ask yourself: