Imagine if you only knew what students had grasped after they took an exam. You’d miss out on a lot of opportunities to fill in gaps and provide differentiation. By implementing informal science assessment in your classroom, you’ll quickly check in on students’ comprehension or what they have learned. Using different types of informal assessments allows you to tailor your instruction to what your students need instead of waiting until the end of a unit to find that they missed the boat.
Types of Informal science Assessment
#1 White Board Review
Turn your informal assessment into a simple game. Ask students questions and have them answer on mini whiteboards (affiliate link). You can also create DIY whiteboard with a sheet protector and copy paper! Pair students up or put them into teams to add a little competition.
#2 Online games
Another example of informal assessment is using online games. Students won’t even realize that they’re being assessed, and you’ll get a really clear picture of what they know. I like using websites like Kahoot, Gimkit, Blooket, and Quizizz, which also have premade games if you want to save time. Middle schoolers go wild for games like these, so be prepared for some good times.
#3 Task cards
Task cards might seem boring, but they are great for informal assessment in the classroom. Plus, you can prep them once and use them year after year. Pass them out and have students answer them at the end of class or add them to stations. If you’re looking for a great set of ready-to-use science task cards, check out my Physical Science task cards bundle.
#4 Checkpoints and Exit tickets
One of the best parts of using informal assessments in your classroom is that you can sneak them into even the last 5 or 10 minutes of class. This is a quick way to check for comprehension before the next class. These Nature of Science exit tickets are a go-to because they include a lot of foundational science topics.
#5 Writing on Desks with Chalk Markers
What’s better than using a whiteboard? Getting to write on your desk! (I don’t know, there is just something fun about it.) These chalk markers (affiliate link) are perfect for desks and easy to clean off. Put a question on the board and have students solve it on your desk. You can walk around and check for understanding.
#6 Create Concept Maps
Switch it up and let students write on your board! Have them work together or come up one at a time to create concept maps or graphic organizers. You can also have students fill in a graphic organizer that you already created on the board. This type of informal assessment can lead to great discussions, which is another way to gain some insight into students’ understanding.
#7 The 3-2-1 method
This is a great example of informal assessment and reflection. After a lesson, students write down three things they learned, two things they found interesting, and one thing that they need more help understanding.
Informal assessments can really change the game in your classroom and help you get ahead – instead of trying to play catch up when you’re halfway through a unit. Try out some of these informal assessment examples in your classroom!