As a teacher I am often asked how I assess my students. Well, there is no one absolute answer to this question as there are so many methods and approaches.

Assessment can be:

  • formal e.g. evaluation tests or assignments or
  • informal like individual questions to answer or group work.

Teachers can use different methods including above mentioned to evaluate progress of their students.

Classroom assessment techniques (CAT) are relatively quick and easy methods that show student understanding in “real time”. CATs are meant to provide immediate feedback to the teacher about individual student performance and show the learning progress of the whole class. According to this the teacher can modify/improve course content, adjust teaching methods, and, ultimately improve student learning. To be able to correctly adjust classroom work in day-to-day operations of the course using the evaluation information provided the teacher needs to do CATs frequently.

When CATs are used frequently, they:

  • provide up-to-date feedback that can be applied at once;
  • provide important information about what students have learned without the amount of time required for preparing tests;
  • allow  the teacher to address students’ errors or lack of understanding in short time;
  • help to maintain good working relationships with students and encourage them to understand that teaching and learning are on-going processes that require full participation.

For students, CATs can:

  • help develop self-assessment and learning management skills;
  • reduce feelings of isolation, especially in large classes;
  • increase understanding and ability to think critically about the course content;
  • show teacher’s interest and support of students’ success in a classroom.
  1. However how to choose the right one?
  2. How to put it into practice during lessons?
  3. What if there is a common evaluation method which works for all and allows to see results in real time?

Today I would like to introduce you my unique system that I have designed especially for teaching VYL (very young learners) and YL (young learners).

My system is called “Assessment triangle” and helps you assess your students’ results immediately during classes. It also helps to manage unwanted behavior and maintain good learning environment.

Watch my video with explanations here:

So, how does it work?

The triangle is divided into 2 parts: blue and red accordingly.

Blue is a “good” zone, “red” is a bad zone. There are 4 divisions in the blue zone and only one in the red one. Every division is associated with its particular amount of “Stars”:

In the Blue Zone:

  1. “I am being good” – 5 stars;
  2. “Good try” – 4 stars;
  3. “Come on! Go! Go! Go!” – 3 stars;
  4. “Warning! Bad behavior” – 1 star.

Each lesson students start from “Come on! Go! Go! Go!” and I place their name cards nearby on the board, so everyone can see it.

The best score is “I am being good”  where students can get 5 stars. They can get more or less “star” points during class depending on their performance.

If a student doesn’t perform well, is being distracted and disturbs his/her peers during a lesson he/she “drops down” to “Warning! Bad behavior” with only 1 star. If the student continues unwanted behavior the teacher may place that student to the “red” zone where he/she looses 2 “star” points. Let’s say that student had 10 stars and by dropping to the “red” zone he/she got 8 stars left. So, the first thing my students learn is “no red zone”!

When during lessons I move name cards along these “triangle zones” my students have a clear visual of their performance and they clearly know why they got this or that score. They know when and how they need to improve to achieve better results and get more “star points”.

But why do they collect these “star points” you may ask?

I worked with children in Russia, China and Thailand and from what I’ve seen children aged 5-11 tend to be competitive and they want to achieve results! They also need clear system of how they can achieve these results! That’s why “Triangle system” works! My students collected their “star” points and exchanged them to stickers in their personal sticker books. One another way that I proposed to my students and that was highly effective was to exchange those stickers to some little gifts. Each gift had its price: e.g. a beautiful eraser was 10 stickers. (1 sticker = 10 star points). That motivated my YLs to work hard and study well).

Would you like to try my “Triangle System” in your classroom? Drop me your comments below !

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