Alternative Assessment





Studentassessment is a building block in educational success. In the currenteducational scene, there is formal and alternative assessment.However, with the changing issues in institutions and the students,educators now opt to use alternative assessment means to come up withclear conclusions on their students’ performance. The twoapproaches are different and have different success environments ofapplication. Educators have a choice between the two assessmentapproaches while determinants as their audience students and the setgoals to guide them.


Formalassessments are standardized measures that are provides the assessorswith mathematical data which is used to support conclusions made fromthe tests (Huerta-Macius, 2005). Formal assessment is appropriate inthe assessment of overall achievement, comparison of students’performance with other students of similar age and grade as well asin the identification of similar strengths and weaknesses amongpeers. An Informal/alternative assessment, on the other hand, has nodata to support conclusions made and is content and assessment drivenassessment (Huerta-Macius, 2005). They are appropriate to measureperformance based on a given set of instructions.


Inretrospect, alternative assessment was in use effectively when sixthgrade students had instructions to prepare detailed brochuresexplaining the different styles of writing. The students were inclusters of four and the instructions clearly stated that thestudents had to each research on a different writing style then theycould all work on compiling what they had researched on into a singlebrochure. This assessment was a huge success, and the teacher wasable to assess the students’ knowledge and understanding ofcontents as well as identify problem areas in writing styles. Sinceone of the main purposes of alternative assessment is to improvestudent results, the teacher was able to gather data from theassessment that will aid in future lesson planning, instruction andmonitoring of student progress. The teacher used results from thisassessment to modify later instruction. The results revealed thatwhen tutors break down academic tasks into smaller portions, thestudents understand better, and complete the tasks comprehensively.The results also revealed that academic instruction given in groupsare easier to understand, and the tasks completed, accurately.


AlternativeAssessment Plan

5thGrade English Language Learners

English Language

Level:5th Grade

Task:in group of four prepare comic strips that show the use of figurativelanguage

Purpose:To assess knowledge and understanding of content on figurativelanguage as well as to assess language proficiency

Instructionsand process:

• Ingroups of three or four discourse the content learn on figurativelanguage

• usingthe materials provided prepare comic strips that show the use offigurative language individually then as a group

Materialsprovided: papers, pencils, crayons, and language textbooks forreferencing

Inthis alternative assessment, students have the tasked to preparecomic strips that show the use of figurative language. The task`sobjective is to evaluate language proficiency and to test theknowledge of content on figurative language. The groups have thepotential to do well in group work since students work well in groupwork. When it comes to the individual work, some students willdemonstrate good language proficiency while other will not. Some willproblems expressing themselves through the comic strips there willbe spelling mistakes and wrong meanings for the figurative phrasesused. In regards to knowledge of content, some students willdemonstrate mastery of the figurative language while others willclearly prove not to have understood figurative language and its use.

Alternativeassessments are techniques or procedures used by teachers to monitortheir students’ progress in particular subjects in the curriculum,regularly. These assessments apply within the context of instructionand educators can incorporate them in the day-to-day classroomactivities. Alternative assessments allow educators to track theirstudents’ progress in language proficiency regularly. The main goalof student language proficiency is to attain lingual independencefrom educators. Alternative assessments helps the educators reachsuch a level with their students because it creates a one-on-oneassistance atmosphere between the two parties. While formalassessments measure the proficiency at a specific time of the year,alternative assessments provide continual assessments of the studentsthroughout the entire school year. Educators, therefore, identifyparticular problem areas in the students’ language proficiency andintervene early. Alternative assessments are vital for EnglishLanguage Learners since formal assessments do not reflect, fully, astudent’s true knowledge of content or abilities. Alternativeassessments provide a better picture of the students’ ongoingprogress, abilities, and skills. This assessment also allows theteacher to keep through records of English Language Learners inlanguage proficiency. These records make grading, special servicesand program placement easier for teachers.

Onceresults have proved that a student has certain academic deficiencies,intervention should be the next step. Educators should applydifferent teaching techniques for teaching these students sincedifferent students have different learning abilities (Hager, 2011).The teachers should make it easier for the students by using visualaid and practical examples in learning, using real life experiencesto explain the content in the curriculum. Additionally, reading outinstructions and explaining further if need be and writing hints andreminders for them in standardized assessments. Second, the educatorsshould also break work into smaller tasks and encourage the studentscarefully to read and re-read task instructions. Third, the educatorsshould be patient with students proven to have academic deficienciesand give them extra time to complete academic tasks as well asprovide native language support for students with languageproficiency problems.

Oncetutors identify a gifted student, educators should work together tobring significant changes to the curriculum of this student.Acceleration and enrichment of the curriculum is applicable (Musson,2011). Acceleration encompasses shortening the learning timeframewithin which specific subjects occur. Enrichment, on the other hand,involves expanding depth of attention paid towards a subject taken bythe student thus the student handles deeper content in a more complexlevel. Gifted students can be provided with Gifted StudentsPlacements which where the educators modify the learner’scurriculum in consultation with other educators specialized inproviding gifted services (Musson, 2011). These educators provideother additional instructions complement the student’s curriculum.Special education students include the disabled and slow learners. Inthe case of special education students, the curriculum ought to focuson attaining the same goals as the gifted students, only that thistime the manner of teaching them is different. Educators shouldcarefully assess and place the students according to their disabilityand most of all take their time with each student. Placement helpseducators to deliver special attention to these students withdifferent disabilities and attain the same success level as in thegifted students. Educators should modify the curriculum inconsultancy with special education specialists.

Inconclusion, alternative assessments are a better way to assessstudents as compared to the traditional standardized testing system.Alternative assessments are flexible and easier for both the learnersand educators. They allow students to show their knowledge, skill,and ability on a test that is easier providing a wider range ofassessment modification options. The ideas and assessment techniquespresented are realistic and practical for educators who aredetermined to create effective assessments for their students whoseresults will aid in future learning.


Hager,K. &amp. (2011). Using alternate assessment to improve educationaloutcomes. Rural Special Education Quarterly.

Huerta-Macius,A. (2005). : Responses to commonly askedquestions. TESOL Journal , 8-10.

Musson,J. T.-R. (2011). An analysis of state alternate assessmentparticipation guidelines. Journal of Special Education , 67-78.