Informal Assessments

Students raising their hands. Informal Assessments include any type of assessment that is conducted that does not result in a formal score.  Some examples of informal assessments include checking for understanding, Think Pair Share activities, teacher questioning, and student polling.  Informal assessments allow teachers to informally gage how well their students understand the material. 

Strengths:  Informal assessments allow teachers to monitor comprehension during the course of the lesson. This is a huge advantage due to the fact that teachers can alter the lesson if necessary to help more students be successful instead of obtaining results at the end of the lesson when it is too late to modify it.  In addition, informal assessments encourage student participation and engagement in the lesson which again promotes productivity and understanding.

Weaknesses: Informal assessments usually only provide information for a cross section of students.  Therefore, some students who may be struggling might not be heard.  In addition, informal assessments are just that informal, so although they provide general information they cannot be used to assess a student’s total understanding of the course material.

Role of Technology:  Technology can provide teachers with a wider variety of tools to informally assess their students.  For example, teachers can find websites that conduct polls and surveys.  In addition, software programs such as DyKnow allow teachers to conduct classroom discussions, ask questions, and conduct polls.