Creating effective classroom assessments is every teacher’s goal. These informal, daily tests and quizzes help determine whether students learn the subject matter taught and identify ways to adjust instruction. Supported by a high-quality, multiple-choice foundation, tests & quizzes that support embedded teaching strategies turn testing moments into learning moments.

Let’s consider a few strategies that extend assessments beyond multiple-choice answers. Doing so creates an environment where students engage more with the material, and you can see a deeper level of their understanding.

#1 Confidence Ratings

This strategic technique asks students to rate their level of confidence in the answer they have chosen and can be as simple as giving students a choice of three options: Low, Uncertain, and High. The student is predicting their level of success, a critical metacognitive skill that provides a much richer understanding of the student’s comprehension. For example, if the student rates their confidence as low but answers correctly, they may be relying on a guess. In that case, consider following up with additional instruction.

#2 “Tell Me More”

By encouraging students to explain their reasoning for choosing the answer they selected, they often reveal more about how well they understand the content. Your goal is to know more about what the student knows. Allowing them to provide a written explanation shows that the student answered the question and engaged in a higher-order thinking skill.

#3 Constructed-Response Items

This method requires the student to generate a response rather than selecting from a predetermined set of answers. Constructed response items can be as simple as fill-in-the-blank or as complex as short essays. Using this approach, students demonstrate a more in-depth application of understanding instead of mere memorization.

#4 Performance-Based Items

Lastly, add opportunities for students to engage in higher-order thinking. Encourage them to showcase their subject material knowledge by including oral presentations, speeches, laboratory investigations, and opinion debates. This expands the demonstration of understanding beyond written answers.

Assessments are an integral part of instruction and essential to evaluating your students’ understanding of your lesson goals. Bringing together selected-response items with confidence ratings, “tell me more”, constructed-response, and performance-based assessment items creates greater opportunities for students to show the breadth and depth of their learning.