Assessment is a tool or a mean ?


How do we assess our students? do we assess their knowledge or skills or their understandings, ..etc. which in your opinion is more important? are you with or against standardized tests? do you know how they affect the students ? and do they really assess the student level? these some of the questions that i used to think about and sometimes still reflect on.

4 years ago , i used to think that assessments are only just to know the students achievement level and  it should be done in one and only one right way and that’s all! but I was totally mistaken.

There are three types of assessments:

  1. assessments before the learning (Diagnostic assessments)
  2. assessments for learning ( Formative assessments)
  3. assessments after the learning (Summative assessments)

all of these assessments can be differentiated according to the student , put the end in mind and alter the way you want the student to reach it.

Diagnostic assessments:

Can help you know the students level either in content , their skills and capabilities.

this can be done either by self-assessments or responding to questions,…etc.

Formative assessments:

Formative assessment will help you in providing feedback feedback and information during the learning process itself , so you would have time for reflection and recap.

this could be done either through observations in classroom , taking anecdotal notes, answering questions either verbally or written , reflection journals or in-class activities,online formative as you can use different web tools for assessments like on the spot you could use Quizizz for making online fun assessments , also Quizlet is a really easy to use you could make flash cards , spellers, test and games.

you could use different tools as the formative assessment is a tool in itself to determine whether the student is on track which can be altered , it would even help you when chunking the inputs you know about the students progress and not to be surprised at the end of the theme!

Summative assessments:

Summative assessments takes place after the learning has been completed and  provides information and feedback that sums up the teaching and learning process.

everything should be set and rubrics should be developed according to a set of objectives that are reached. and these rubrics are designed to be easily used and understood.

The summative assessments can come into different forms , either it could be a group of formative s all together , a project , performance or evaluation.

. Hanna and Dettmer (2004) suggest that you should strive to develop a range of assessments strategies that match all aspects of their instructional plans. Instead of trying to differentiate between formative and summative assessments it may be more beneficial to begin planning assessment strategies to match instructional goals and objectives at the beginning of the semester and implement them throughout the entire instructional experience.

a good resource is understanding by design by Jay Mctighe it would help you a lot of setting the requirements and the objectives from the beginning.

so at the end assessments are not torture tools, they are helping tools but we have to use them effectively and efficiently to reach our mean and we can’t forget to add the fun element to it .efe169d1d0dbd84afab8421783b5730e



Thinking Routines

When inquiring into a new theme mainly, we start by finding out what the students already know and then we builds our inquires on that.So that is why a thinking routine is always the best. We can start by putting the topic in a concept map and reflect on it either individually or all class to gather to get all what we know about that topic. And then we can let them gather in groups and do together the KWHL chart, which I am fond of (what I know, what I want to know, How do I know, what did I learned).

This thinking routine is really good for kids and by time they start doing it by themselves, and even if they are too young they will observe the teacher doing it with them and when they get older they will start doing it by themselves.

The KWHL chart is mainly suitable for various inquiries and make space for more wonders.



  • Time needed

It takes about 10 minutes for the concept map and 25-30 minutes for the KWHL.

  • Pair/group work

Concept map either individually or whole class

KWHL chart is group work

  • Materials needed

Markers and one construction paper for the concept map.

Depend on the group number we get construction paper/each.

  • Instructions/steps for the KWHL

1-before the students start doing the KWHL chart, the class setting should have been rich with resources that supported that topic in order to provoke the students to ask questions.

2-either the students would fill the “what I know about that topic “, “what I want to know about it ” and “how will I know the answers” part all together.

3- And then at the end of the unit they fill “What I learned about” part.

Or we take a step each time they fill only the I know part and days later after provocations they fill the I want to know part ,…etc.




Inquiry Themes

The Primary years program (PYP) in the IB system have 6 transdiciplinary themes; these themes promotes an awareness of the human condition and an understanding that there is a commonality of the human experience.

“The students explore this common ground collaboratively, from the multiple perspectives of their individual experiences and backgrounds. This sharing of experience increases the students’ awareness of, and sensitivity to, the experiences of others beyond the local or national community. It is central to the programme and a critical element in developing an international perspective, which must begin with each student’s ability to consider and reflect upon the point of view of someone else in the same class.” (Making the PYP happen ).