Lesson Plan Step #8 - Assessment and Follow-Up

Measuring Whether Students Have Met the Learning Objectives

School Girl Writing Assignment with Pencil
Cavan Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images

In this series about lesson plans, we're breaking down the 8 steps you need to take to create an effective lesson plan for the elementary classroom. The final step in a successful lesson plan for teachers is Learning Goals, which coming after defining the following steps:

An 8-step lesson plan is not complete without the final step of Assessment. This is where you assess the final outcome of the lesson and to what extent the learning objectives were achieved. This is also your chance to adjust the overall lesson plan to overcome any unexpected challenges that may have arisen, preparing you for the next time you teach this lesson. It's also important to make note of the most successful aspects of your lesson plan, to ensure that you continue to capitalize on strengths and continue to push forward in those areas. 

How to Assess Learning Goals

Learning goals can be assessed in a variety of ways, including through quizzes, tests, independently performed worksheets, cooperative learning activities, hands-on experiments, oral discussion, question-and-answer sessions, writing assignments, presentations, or other concrete means. However, it's important to remember that you may have students who better display their mastery of a topic or skill through non-traditional assessment methods, so try to think about creative ways you can assist those students in demonstrating mastery.

Most importantly, teachers need to ensure that the Assessment activity is directly and explicitly tied to the stated learning objectives you developed in step one of the lesson plan. In the learning objective section, you specified what students would accomplish and how well they would have to be able to perform a task in order to consider the lesson satisfactorily accomplished. The goals also had to fit within your district or state educational standards for the grade level.

Follow-Up: Using the Results of the Assessment

Once the students have completed the given assessment activity, you must take some time to reflect on the results. If the learning objectives were not adequately achieved, you will need to revisit the lesson in a different manner, revising the approach to learning. Either you will need to teach the lesson again or you'll need to clear up areas that confused several of the students.

Whether or not most students showed understanding of the material, based on the assessment, you should note how well students learned different parts of the lesson. This will allow you to modify the lesson plan in the future, clarifying or spending more time on areas where the assessments showed the students were weakest.

Student performance on one lesson tends to inform performance on future lessons, giving you insight into where you should take your students next. If the assessment showed the students fully grasped the topic, you may want to proceed immediately to more advanced lessons. If understanding was moderate, you may want to take it slower and reinforce the takeaways. This may require teaching the entire lesson again, or, just portions of the lesson. Assessing different aspects of the lesson in greater detail can guide this decision. 

Examples of Types of Assessments

  • Quiz: a short series of questions with right and wrong answers that may not count towards a grade.
  • Test: a longer or more in-depth series of questions that probes for more understanding of the topic and may count towards a grade.
  • Class discussion: rather than a quiz or test that is scored, a discussion helps identify understanding. It's important to make sure all students are able to demonstrate mastery here, so that no one is lost in the shuffle. 
  • Hands-on experiment: Where the subject matter is appropriate, the students apply the lesson to an experiment and record the outcomes.
  • Worksheet: Students fill out a worksheet, especially for math or vocabulary lessons, but it also could be developed for many topics.
  • Cooperative Learning activities: Students work in a group to solve a problem or have a structured discussion.
  • Illustrations or Graphic Organizers: These can include Venn diagrams, K-W-L (Know, Want to Know, Learned) charts, flow charts, pie charts, concept maps, character traits, cause/effect diagrams, spider web, cloud chart,T-chart, Y-chart, semantic feature analysis,fact/opinion chart, star chart, cycle chart, and other appropriate graphic organizers. Often the subject will determine which works best as an assessment tool.

    Edited by Stacy Jagodowski