What Is Alternative Assessment In Education?


What Is Alternative Assessment In Education
Explanation – Unlike traditional assessments, alternative assessments typically require learners to reflect on their overall learning to determine what information and skills they need to use to solve a given problem. These assessments involve real-world tasks that are complex and multifaceted.

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What is meant by alternative assessment?

Alternative assessment is a holistic approach for student assessment with a different form of grading where students are enabled to provide their own responses or work by progressive demonstration of material learned over a given time period.
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What are the three types of alternative assessment?

According to Simonson and others, there are three approaches in alternative assessment: Authentic assessment, performance-based assessment, and constructivist assessment.
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Why do we need to use alternative assessment?

Challenges and Champions of Alternative Assessment – In a similar frame of mind as formative assessment, alternative assessment seeks to provide a means of assessing student learning in real time, rather than as a snapshot such as in summative assessment,

Alternative Assessment is less focused on grades and more focused on student process and thinking, allowing instructors to more clearly into the minds of their students and their learning. Other objectives you may be aiming for (including Universal Design for Learning and compassionate teaching ) can be incorporated, if not enhanced, by employing alternative assessment.

This has distinct advantages and challenges in the way it is realized in the classroom (Stasio et al., 2019). While these are important considerations, they are meant to provide context and mindful considerations as you explore these alternatives. Challenges:

  • Ensuring academic rigor
  • Restructuring understanding of student’s role in learning
  • Requires time for development
  • Trial and error may be necessary
  • Aligning course outcomes with assessment tasks


  • Source of motivation for students connecting with their areas of study
  • Holistic approaches to subject matter
  • Applied skills and products for student portfolios
  • Build collaboration and opportunities for living course work
  • Places learning outcomes in the foreground

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What is the value of alternative assessment?

Alternative Assessments – But online learning in higher education has now created potential synergies between authenticity and assessment. Alternative assessments, meaning an alternative to standard tests and exams, provide a true evaluation of what the student has learned, going beyond acquired knowledge to focus on what the student has actually learned by looking at their application of this knowledge (Ryerson, n.d).

Alternative assessments are used to determine what students can and cannot do, in contrast to what they do or do not know. In other words, an alternative assessment measures applied proficiency more than it measures knowledge (Brigham Young University, n.d). Authentic assessments replicate true settings.

The student in-class activities resemble real world situations and their constraints. Authentic assessments are only valuable when they meaningfully connect with students beyond the ascribed grade. When applying authentic assessment to student learning and achievement, a teacher applies criteria related to “construction of knowledge, disciplined inquiry, and the value of achievement beyond the school” (Scheurman and Newman 1998).

Authentic assessments promote ways of thinking and problem solving used in the field by professionals and build applicable skills. Implementing authentic assessments requires the willingness to incorporate these diverse assessment methods. Authentic assessments require more time and effort on an instructor’s part to develop and may be more difficult to grade.

To address the difficulty of grading, it is useful to create a grading rubric that specifies the traits that will be evaluated and the criteria by which they will be judged.
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When should alternate assessments be used?

Federal law requires states to test all students in reading and math once a year in grades 3–8 and once in high school. For kids with IEPs, there are only two assessment options:

Take the general assessment for the grade they’re enrolled in; orTake an alternate assessment that is not based on the academic standards for their grade level.

Most kids with IEPs take the general assessment. Many of these kids use accommodations, like extra time on the test or having the questions read out loud. Only a small number of kids with IEPs are unable to take the general assessment even with accommodations.

These kids take alternate assessments. These tests have less depth and breadth than the general assessment. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) says alternate assessments are for students with “significant cognitive disabilities.” These students are often classified under special education law as having an intellectual disability.

(The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act has 13 disability categories, Intellectual disabilities is one of the categories. Learning disabilities is a separate category.) The academic standards that students with intellectual disabilities are expected to meet might be very different from those of their peers in general education.

Alternate assessments enable schools to measure progress from year to year for, say, a teen who is working to master concepts of money and time. According to ESSA, no more than 1 percent of all students should take alternate assessments. The law says schools need to explain to parents that taking this type of test means kids are not being measured on grade-level standards.

The law also says parents need to be told that students who take alternate assessments may not be on a path to receive a high school diploma. Some states used to offer other kinds of alternate assessments. But these tests have been phased out as standardized testing has become more accessible to kids with learning disabilities, motor impairments and other issues that aren’t a sign of low intelligence.
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of alternative assessment?

Alternative assessments, while intended to provide equitable access to the general curriculum, sometimes measure curricular entry points and access skills. Disadvantages of alternative assessments include use of student time, use of educator time, and inaccurate reflection of student progress and knowledge.
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What is an example of alternative teaching?

ALTERNATIVE TEACHING For example, a teacher could take an individual student out to catch him/her up on a missed assignment. A teacher could work with an individual or a small group for assessment purposes or to teach social skills. A small group of students could work together for remedial or extended challenge work.
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What is an alternative assessment task?

Explanation – Unlike traditional assessments, alternative assessments typically require learners to reflect on their overall learning to determine what information and skills they need to use to solve a given problem. These assessments involve real-world tasks that are complex and multifaceted.

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What is rubric in alternative assessment?

Developing Rubrics for PBL Projects – Active learning situations challenge teachers to determine grades in a way that accurately reflects achievement and that is acceptable to students, parents, and colleagues. Rubrics are guides for assigning scores to alternative assessment products.

Rubrics are not a form of assessment but are the criteria for making an assessment. Rubrics encourage clear assessment targets and clear expectations. When a rubric is well defined, learners know exactly what is expected of them and how they may achieve a top grade. Most learners want to excel and will work hard if they believe there is an opportunity for success.

They will exert more effort and produce more work to meet clearly expressed expectations for success. Rubrics are sets of criteria or scoring guides that describe levels of performance or understanding. They provide students with expectations about what will be assessed, standards that need to be met, and information about where students are in relation to where they need to be.

  • Developing a rubric is a dynamic process.
  • As the goals of instruction become clearer to the teacher, the ability to define ranges and levels of execution within the processes of the active learning experience will make the development of a rubric easier.
  • Some teachers may require a “run-through” before they are ready to finalize a rubric.

With unfamiliar content it’s OK to write a rubric after the fact and save it for future reference. Even after a rubric is used, it may need modification. The information below has been provided by Donna Szpyrka and Ellyn B. Smith of Florida’s Statewide Systemic Initiative.
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What are the benefits of alternative learning system?

I. General Questions – 6. What are the benefits of Alternative Education programs/schools? Many school districts use engaging and effective teaching strategies to meet the needs of particular students whom they are serving in Alternative Education programs/schools.

For at-risk students, Alternative Education has the potential to offer a smaller and more personalized environment in which to learn and form strong connections with school staff and peers. Alternative Education may present a different pathway in which to achieve educational success and to earn a high school diploma.

Alternative Education programs/schools may also enable districts to maximize their use of teachers who are skilled in and dedicated to educating at-risk students. Furthermore, school districts are able to better meet the needs of their community, to the extent that Alternative Education programs and schools assist students who need smaller, more structured environments to address challenging behavior by utilizing, for example, positive behavioral supports.

533 ‘at-risk’ students were enrolled. Approximately 84% of the students passed the MCAS while enrolled in the program/school. The average attendance rate was 84%, while the average student attendance prior to enrolling in the grant program was approximately 67%.89 students that had previously dropped out of school were re-enrolled in the Alternative Education program/school. Enrolled students report increases in the following: interest and achievement in school, connection to caring school staff, and expectations for completing high school and entering higher education. Based on interviews, students often report that they would have dropped out had it not been for enrolling in the Alternative Education program/school.

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What is the purpose of alternative education?

Definition – An alternative school is an educational setting designed to accommodate educational, behavioral, and/or medical needs of children and adolescents that cannot be adequately addressed in a traditional school environment.
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Who decides if a learner will be administered an alternate assessment?

Parents, teachers, and administrators make the decision based on evidence and adherence to the Participation Guidelines and Guidance for IEP Teams.2. How do we know that a student has a ‘significant cognitive disability’?
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What is meaning of the alternative?

Something that is different from something else, especially from what is usual, and offering the possibility of choice : an alternative to coffee.
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What is meant by adaptive assessments?

Adaptive Testing – Adaptive assessment can be defined as any type of assessment that is tailored specifically to each examinee, based on their performance on previous items on the assessment. Most adaptive assessments are based on the theories and advances of Item Response Theory (IRT).

  • More specifically, in IRT the examinee ability estimates, as well as item characteristics such as the item difficulty, are placed on the same continuum.
  • This allows for the administration of items that are matched to the estimated ability level (θ), of each examinee, at each point of the assessment.
  • Therefore, adaptive assessments allow for the administration of items that are targeted to the ability level (or trait level) of each examinee, which enables the estimation of more accurate examinee ability estimates.

For example, if an examinee responds correctly to item 1, their estimated ability will increase, so the second item that will be administered will be of higher difficulty than the first item. If.
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What is alternative method in teaching?

Alternative Teaching is a co-teaching model where one teacher works with a small group of students, as the other teacher instructs the large group. The small group lesson can take place in or outside the classroom and can focus on content that is similar or different from what is being taught to the rest of the class.
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What does alternate assignment mean?

Course assignments can be traditional or creative. A break from the traditional research paper assignment can make the class more interesting and engaging. Institutions the world over are creating and encouraging alternative assignments to motivate students and provide them with better learning opportunities.

Alternative assignments allow students to use multimedia, technology, and other resources for their projects in order to promote student engagement, greater attention to detail, encourage creativity, and embrace challenge. Alternative assignments also help to limit plagiarism which is one of the big concerns today.

Reasons for considering the use of creative writing assignments:

Creativity and innovation are required in twenty first century workspaces Different types of assignments can help diverse learners connect with and retain course material Literature is perceived freshly when the method of analysis requires both creative and critical responses The importance of literary genre, structure, style and narrative perspective become clearer when one is crafting narrative and characters can be comprehended more deeply when one imagines their unstated thoughts Writing in various genres provides practice for students who will write as part of their careers Evaluation of new assignments invigorates the professor, while creative activities provide a variety and change of pace appreciated by contemporary college students Cummins, Amy. :Tell Me a Story: Effective Use of Creative Writing Assignments in College Literature Courses”. Currents in Teaching and Learning, 1.2 (Spring 2009): 42-49. http://www.worcester.edu/Currents/Archives/Volume_1_Number_2/CurrentsV1N2CumminsP42.pdf

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