This session is focused on how teachers assess students and why this is important.


  • Exploring, Social Services
  • US DOE, Education & Training


By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of assessment as a tool for teaching and learning.
  • State the value of assessment practices that capture as closely as possible the skill the teacher is delivering.


  • Board games such as checkers, chess, Chutes and Ladders, or Candy Land
  • Shoelace
  • Addition Quiz activity sheet


Text in italics should be read aloud to participants. As you engage your post in activities each week, please include comments, discussions, and feedback to the group relating to Character, Leadership, and Ethics. These are important attributes that make a difference in the success of youth in the workplace and in life.


Opening Activity

Select an activity from the resources available at the Exploring Activity Library, conduct a favorite opening activity of your own, or use this one: Have participants get into groups of two or three and brainstorm ideas on: • What assessments are • Why they are important • Why teachers do assessments • How they are helpful to individuals and teachers Then have each small group share their ideas with the larger group. Use the Explorers’ knowledge to add some “food for thought” on the importance of assessments before continuing with the other activities.

Activity 1

Finding Out What Students Know

Share this statement with the members of the post: “When the cook tastes the soup, that’s formative. When the guests taste the soup, that’s summative.” (Scriven, 1991)

Ask the following questions:

  • From the statement, what do you think the words “formative” and “summative” mean?
  • Which one is more related to coaching? To judging?
  • Why are they both important ways of learning about what students may know?
  • Which one is the most important? Why?

Activity 2

Board Games

Select a board game. It will be more helpful if not all members of the post know how to play the game.


Organize players around the game board, and instruct them in how to play. While the game is in progress, offer hints as to how to improve play.

When the game wraps up with a winner, prepare to ask the following questions:

  • How do you know that the game is over? What does that tell you about your knowledge of the game?
  • What was the value in giving hints along the way? How did that help you to improve your ability to play a game?
  • How are the hints—and knowing when a game is finished—similar to assessment?

Activity 3

Matching Assessment to Task

Display the shoelace and the Addition Quiz activity sheet.



  • What would the shoelace be useful for assessing? (how to tie a shoe, form a knot, etc.)
  • What would the addition quiz be useful for assessing? (how to add two-digit numbers)


Be sure to leave Explorers with this important point: The assessment should match the task you are trying to assess. Match or align the task with the type of assessment.


For example, a written quiz about how to tie your shoes would be silly—and would not do a good job of assessing what students know or understand. In the same way, if we want to find out what students know about addition facts, a simple quiz might be a good way to see what they have learned.


Some sample questions are below. They are designed to help the participants apply what they have learned to their own interests. You are welcome to use these questions or develop your own questions that relate to your post or specific focus area.


  • How did what you learned help you gain more understanding of education?
  • How does this topic help you understand the practices you experience as students?
  • How does matching the assessment to the task benefit the student and teacher?
  • How might you use assessment in your potential career?
  • How can you, as a student, make better use of formative assessment to help you get feedback while learning new information?
  • What is the difference between formative and summative assessment?
  • When do you use formative assessment?
  • When do you use summative assessment?
  • Is formative or summative assessment closer to coaching? Why?
  • How might you use this in life or in college?
  • Why is this important?


The Advisor closes the meeting with a brief message that connects the meeting’s activities with the post’s area of interest and adds a note of inspiration or a positive challenge.


After the meeting, address the following:

After the meeting, address the following:

  • Identify what was successful about the meeting.
  • Identify what needed improvement.
  • Schedule an officer and Advisor planning meeting to prepare for the next post meeting or activity.
Assessing Instruction Activity Guide
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