Evaluation and Assessment

Alternative Assessments

Hello all,

I currently teach high school chemistry and am always trying to broaden the ways that I assess students.  What are alternative assessment ideas (in any chem topic) that you have done that you felt gave you an accurate look into what your students have learned?




Alex Brown
Alex Brown
10 Activity Points

Hi Alex, 

When teaching about specific heat, I have my students play the role of lab technician at a chemistry diagnostics lab.  They had to report their results in order to identify a faulty metal. They write their lab report as a formal letter to the client and include an invoice for their services. 

Ruth Hutson
Ruth Hutson
63530 Activity Points

Greetings,  Dr.  Staples asked to me to share some ideas about your post.  I would say any alternative assessment you do would depend on the interest and commitiment of your students,  not all things will work in all classrooms.  Some things I do.

With Advanced Chemistry Students we host a mock trial and put atomic theory on trial as their assessment.  The students plays rolls of scientists that contributed to atomic theory and are placed on the "witness stand".  Other students serve as the judge and and defense  with the teacher being the prosecuter.  

For an assessment of the methods of science I would suggest having the students dissect the essays "The Relativity of Wrong" by Isaac Asimov.

In nuclear chem,  I work with the History department to have student write essays from different points of view (a modern student,  An american soldier in WWII,  President Truman,  a Japanese Citizen) on whether the dropping of the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was justified.

For types of Chemical reactions,  I have had my students present chemical reactions to other groups and explain (I have done third grade and as well as had my class direct a freshman Physical Science group through a lab)

To describe chemical bonding I have students write valentines stories for elements on valentines day,  this gives you a good understanding of what they know,  but you must model a good story for them or you will get two short lines, If you would like an example story I could send you one.


I hope this gives a few ideas .  Thanks. 


carl behrens

Wamego High School 



Carl Behrens
Carl Behrens
50 Activity Points

Hi Alex,

I found a collection of resources regarding Assessment that might be helpful. They include ideas for a variety of grade levels, but you could get an idea and then adjust to fit your students!


I hope this helps!


Megan Doty
Megan Doty
11847 Activity Points

I think it is very important to ensure that students are actually understanding the material and what it means as opposed to just being able to do the math or know the answer. Truly grasping a concept will not only help students visualize what certain questions are asking, but it will also most likely help students build upon those concepts and understand more complex ones. Therefore, I think asking students to explain the meaning behind their answers would be beneficial to you as a teacher because it allows you to see where they are in that developmental process.

Molly Hart
Molly Hart
525 Activity Points

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