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There are several types of alternative assessments including essay responses, oral

presentations, portfolios of compiled work, short answer questions and demonstrations of

a concept/strategy. Alternative assessments can be used at given intervals for grading or
they can be used as a final assessment at critical intervals such as final examinations or
for the overall promotion to the next grade.
A portfolio of work is an example of alternative assessments where a student has selected
or developed the work they think best depicts their study skills and understanding of
concepts. It is also an overall great teacher resource for showing what lesson plans were
effective and which were not. In the same way that traditional assessments can show the
flaws of poorly understood concepts when viewed at a holistic classroom level, the same
can be true with alternative assessments.

Effectively Implementing Alternative Assessments

The teacher resources available to assist with the deployment of alternative assessments
in the classroom setting should include more than simply testing options. The study skills
required to ensure sufficient supporting information prior to an actual alternative
assessment event are critical to the success of students. Worksheets can help a student
with the overall development of their responses, but overall, lesson plans should ensure
ample time to help students become familiar with the alternative assessment model.

There are teacher worksheets available to assist with improving the study skills of
students who are learning the alternative assessment methods. Just as many students feel
they have an inherent inability to successfully complete multiple choice or traditional
testing, there will be students who find the alternative method difficult. By continuing to
foster a sense of ownership and student accountability for their contributions to their own
assessment, many of these students will become more effective with their overall

Go Deeper Into Our Alternative Assessment Categories

 Alternative Assessment Research Literature
 Knowledge Mapping
 Performance-Based Assessment
 Project Based Assessment
 Portfolios
 Rubrics

Hot Topics in Education

Have you noticed the recent buzz around education? Lately, there have been some
important discussions and debates surrounding issues and trends in K-12 education and
beyond. Everyone seems to have an opinion, maybe even you. Let's take a look at some
trends and issues to see where you weigh in.
When we're talking about issues and trends, we're going to define issues as ideas,
thoughts, and debates centered on educational policy and practices. Trends will refer to
new, up-and-coming, and popular educational practices.

Current Issues
Most educators, parents, and even politicians have an opinion on what's going on in their
local schools. Think of your own thoughts about what you see going on in schools in your
region as well as across the country. What makes you feel passionate? Angry? Frustrated?
Some of the issues receiving the most attention include the use of standardized testing,
equity in education, and the use of adaptive learning in the classroom.
Standardized tests are examinations that are given to students and scored in the same
way in classrooms across the country. They are administered to students annually to
determine if they are meeting objectives set by their home state. Since the institution of
standardized tests, in many schools an emphasis has been placed on the outcome of the
test. This change in focus has had an effect on what students are taught in class, with
classroom teaching shifting from traditional instruction to test preparation.
While there are certainly those who support the tests' ability to evaluate students' and
schools' effectiveness, standardized testing also has its opponents. Administrators and
teachers feel the pressure to have their students perform well on these assessments and
often take their eyes off the concept of teaching each individual child and instead focus
on preparing children to pass a test. Parents and teachers are becoming frustrated with the
amount of time, energy, and resources thrown at testing in schools and are demanding a
closer look at testing practices and philosophies.
Equity in education refers to exactly what standardized tests attempt to measure: how
fair and equal education is to all students, regardless of socioeconomic background.
Research definitively shows that not all students across the country are receiving the
same education. Children in poverty are far more likely to drop out of school before
graduating high school, tend to have more discipline issues in the classroom, and
generally perform lower on standardized tests. The causes and solutions to equity in
education remain in question, but the passion behind balancing the scale on this issue is
Have you heard of adaptive learning yet? This new trend is gaining in popularity in some
circles but has its equal share of critics. Adaptive learning utilizes technology to provide
individualized instruction for students. Using online resources and computer programs,
and depending on a student's performance on material, the presentation of the next unit
may change to better suit the individual's needs. Many teachers and parents share the
opinion that they want real people teaching children, not a computer. Others tout the
ability of technology to intuit a child's needs and offer specific instruction as a plus.

One of the great things about education is that it's reflective. We like our data and use it to
drive smart decisions. What have you heard about as the newest focus and slant in
education? See if your ideas match these.
One of the top trends in postsecondary education is change in the higher education
system. Contributing factors to this trend include the rising cost of college, increased
debt-to-income ratio held by graduates due to college loans, and the decreased weight of
a typical four-year degree. The fact is that a bachelor's degree is far more expensive to
earn and does far less for the graduate in the 'real world' than in decades past. Now, the
latest trend in higher education is NOT to go to college. New models of post K-12
education are emerging that question the number of credits needed to graduate and the
amount of non-essential classes necessary. With the rise of online education and students
attending junior colleges and transferring credits, a new form of higher education is on
the rise.
While change in postsecondary school is trending, so is change in pre-elementary school.
There's no question about how much better children perform for the life of their academic
career if they are exposed to quality experiences in early childhood. Using this research,
educators are structuring more and more early childhood education programs into their
elementary school programs. More funding than ever before is being provided for
educating children as policy makers recognize the cost-effective measures of giving all
children a good start.

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