If you are worried that your students won't be challenged if they don't take traditional tests, have no fear! This list of alternate tests can be way more thought provoking and challenging than any scantron test. I had my students create the professional presentation from this list, and I know that they learned so much more from that than a paper pencil test.
This is another great resource from the Teched Up Teacher blog. Although I do not teach a technology centered course, I found this to be an interesting read on the potential advances in this field. If your school has the money to support the incorporation of more technology in your curriculum, I highly suggest trying to use some of the ideas from this resource and his other blog posts.
I love, love, love this project! The reason I love this project so much is because it is encouraging students to form lifelong habits of learning. It also gives them a much needed break from focusing on standardized testing and doing things that actually matter to them. I suggest a semester long project for younger students. Even if you choose not to use this project with your students, I still think you would enjoy watching these awesome Be About It presentations.
Following the article’s suggestions, I had my students keep a list of unfamiliar words in their reading journals. Anytime they came across a word that was unfamiliar to them, I asked that they record it. At the end of the week, students would share their lists, and as a class voted on ten words for the week. I find that my students really have a good time with this, and I know they are learning words that have meaning and importance to them.
As an ELA teacher, vocabulary and spelling is a big portion of my curriculum, but I didn't want tests to be. Each Friday, I reserved about twenty minutes to play some of these vocabulary/spelling review games. Students received extra credit points by scoring in the games rather than a grade for a standard test. Not only did my kids have more fun with this, but I saved a lot of time by not having to grade vocabulary tests each week.
This is my favorite resource on alternate test methods, because it is just so innovative and creative! One method that I have utilized from this post is the story cubes. You can order them online through amazon, but I found them at my local Goodwill for a great price! Using the story cubes, I had my students roll five of them. Then I had them write a one page fiction story utilizing each of the images somehow in the story. The kids had a lot of fun with it, and I love reading their stories!
While most of the ideas on this list are not new, it was a helpful reminder of some assessment ideas I had either forgotten or failed to consider using. I really appreciate that the assessments are grouped by category also. I think this is a great list to print out and keep handy all throughout the year.