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One of the most challenging parts of being a teacher is assessing student learning. How do you ensure that a student is learning? What systems should be put in place?

Steps to Success
  1. Work with your school administrator to see if a standard grading procedure is already in place, or if you are able to make your own.
  2. Develop a standardized grading system and stick to it.



So, after all that teaching, how do you know if your students learned anything? You have to assess their learning! There are two major types of assessment: 1) formative assessment, and 2) summative assessment. Teachers should be sure to plan for how they plan on assessing student learning while they are planning their learning objectives for a lesson, unit, and course. Beginning with the end in mind, or what you expect students to be able to do as a result of the planned learning activities is essential to aligning your learning objectives to the assessments used to measure student performance.  


This type of assessment is ongoing and informative to both the student and the teacher regarding the progress of the learner towards the learning objectives. Formative assessment can occur through oral questioning, worksheets, entrance and exit slips, homework assignments, demonstration of skill development, student skits, and more! The purpose of formative assessment is to provide feedback to the learner on how they are doing, and feedback to the teacher regarding the effectiveness of their teaching methods. If a teacher assesses their class at the end of the lesson only to discover that the majority of the class is still lost and confused, then the teacher should reflect upon their lesson that day and identify the areas where there was the most confusion. Then, the subsequent lesson should address the areas of confusion. In this way, the formative assessment informs the design of subsequent instruction.


This is the final opportunity for students to demonstrate their learning, typically occurring through a written test or quiz, or through a performance-based assessment such as a project or skill demonstration. This is the summit or summation of student learning in a unit or course, and is usually weighted quite heavily in the gradebook as a result.

For ideas on how you might format your assessment approach check out the following resource:


It is likely that your school district will require you to administer a final exam to your students at the end of the grading period. Most districts have set requirements for final exams; work with your administrator to better understand how final exams are given at your school.



  • Be sure to keep the following things in mind while developing and implementing your grading policy.
  • Determine your grading system, and adhere to it throughout the grading period.
  • Some school districts may have a universal grading system; make sure to consult with your administrator and other teachers to learn more.
  • Be consistent and fair when assigning student grades.
  • Be prepared to explain your grading system to others should any questions arise.
  • Inform students in advance how they will be graded. Provide them with your grading scale at the beginning of the course.
  • Learn about and find opportunities to use student self-grading or self-evaluating.
  • Assign grades to all students using the same system.
  • An easy-to-understand grading system is easier to administer than a complicated one.
  • Be able to support the grades you assign to students. When asked, show the student how you arrived at his or her grade.
  • Do not be afraid to admit it if you make a mistake in grading. Acknowledge it, and take the necessary steps to correct the grade.

    While developing your plan for testing, grading, and record keeping, keep the following questions in mind:

    • Will tests be announced or surprise?
    • What kind of tests will I use to measure progress?
    • What will be the classroom rules during testing?
    • What will students do who finish early?
    • What will the general components of my grading be? Is everything graded? Is a curve used? Will some assignments be more important than others? Will students be graded on improvement? How?
    • How will I/my students keep track of progress?

    From time to time, it may be necessary to use a grading rubric. A rubric is a scoring tool that explicitly represents the performance expectations for an assignment or piece of work. A rubric divides the assigned work into component parts and provides clear descriptions of the characteristics of the work associated with each component, at varying levels of mastery.

    Visit this website to learn more about developing an effective rubric.