How to Measure Student Growth in Innovative Ways

Assessments are great for educators to gauge student progress and curriculum comprehension. Periodic assessments are a common way to measure student growth in a given subject area. In recent years, educators have been diversifying their approach to classroom lesson plans, which has impacted the way assessments are given to students. Many of these new, unique approaches are showing signs of increased student engagement, retention, and comprehension of the classroom curriculum. In this article, you will learn about new assessment methods used to measure and better understand student growth.

Limitation of Traditional Assessments

Traditional classroom assessments typically include a pre-test and post-test to gauge student understanding at varying points of a lesson. Despite the fact traditional assessments have been used in educational settings for decades, there has been a recent shift away from this approach. The traditional assessment methods lack creativity. This rigid approach to assessments is no longer the gold standard for classrooms. Educators are looking for innovative and engaging ways to understand student learning and their comprehension of key concepts. 


The traditional assessment method is most effective for left brain learners who favor an analytical and fact based approach. Written assessments do not accurately reflect the comprehension level of right brain learners who prefer to look at lessons creatively and see the bigger picture. As educators aim to transform their classroom to benefit a variety of learners, the traditional assessment methods are becoming outdated. While they can still be used to flag low student comprehension, minimal improvement, or ineffective lesson strategies, these traditional pre and post assessments are being used in combination with new innovative assessment methods. 

Innovative Assessments Methods

There are a variety of different innovative methods educators can use to implement assessments with students. Below is a list of alternative assessments to integrate into your classroom: 

  • Project-Based Assessments: Assessing student performance involves evaluating their ability to apply the skills they have learned to complete a project successfully. Project-based assessments are an effective way to help students make connections between what they have learned in the classroom and real-world situations, leading to higher levels of comprehension.
  • Performance-Based Assessments: Performance-based assessments gauge student comprehension and success through the ability to display skills in activities. The activities used in this assessment style connect to real world situations to show students why what they are learning is important. 
  • Portfolios and Work Samples: Throughout the semester or school year students can compile their work into a portfolio. This shows a full view of what they have learned and the progress they have made over the course of the year. These portfolios can be used by students when applying to schools, after school programs, summer camps, or jobs.  
  • Self-Assessments: Self-assessments are beneficial for student reflection on their overall comprehension and skill level. The self awareness needed to conduct this assessment will help students focus on what they have learned and what they should practice in the future.
  • Peer Assessments: Peer assessments are beneficial for students to think critically about what they are learning. This also helps students develop the critical skill of being able to assess the abilities of others and provide feedback in an effective manner. 
  • Formative Assessments and Feedback Loops: Formative assessments include time for students and educators to reflect throughout the lesson. This approach gives educators the feedback they need to pivot their approach and create more effective lesson plans in real time. 
  • Capstones and Final Projects: Capstone projects allow students to take what they have learned and implement it into one final piece of work. The capstone project gauges student comprehension and allows them to further expand that knowledge when connecting it to real world situations. 

Benefits of Alternative Growth Measurements

Incorporating new and innovative assessments in the classroom is helpful in measuring student growth. Consider the following benefits of incorporating alternative growth measurements in the classroom:

  • The ability to personalize assessments to be most beneficial to students.
  • Implementing peer reviews teaches students collaboration and teamwork.
  • Self-assessments give students intrinsic motivation, which can lead to improved and increased work ethic.
  • Project-based assessments connect to real-world situations, leading to increased comprehension and retention of subject matter.
  • Interactive assessment methods can lead to improved results on standardized tests.
  • Many alternative assessments, such as project-based assessments and self-assessments, require students to think more deeply and critically about the material. This can lead to improved critical thinking skills, which are essential for success both in and outside of the classroom.
  • Increased student engagement throughout the lesson.
  • Alternative assessments, such as project-based assessments, require students to think deeply and critically about the material. This leads to improved critical thinking skills, which are essential for success both in and outside of the classroom.

Align Your Teaching Methods with Alternative Assessment Methods

The alternative assessment methods discussed above can be closely linked to the innovative teaching methods educators are now using in the classroom. These new teaching methods, which focus on personalized and engaging learning experiences, have been shown to benefit a variety of different learning styles. By incorporating alternative assessments, such as project-based learning, portfolios, and self-assessments, educators are able to measure student progress in ways more reflective of the students’ strengths and interests.


These alternative methods allow educators to better tailor their teaching to the needs of individual students, helping them to better comprehend and retain information. Ultimately, the combination of innovative teaching methods and alternative assessments can lead to increased student engagement, deeper comprehension, and greater success both in and outside of the classroom.

Unique STEM Curriculum for Your Classroom

STEM Sports® is an education company that provides STEM curriculum for K-8 students. The STEM Sports® curricula use sports as a way to facilitate STEM lessons. Each curriculum kit is separated by unique grade bands, which allows the lessons to align with state standards and student skill levels. For grade 6-8 students, each curriculum ends with a capstone project that allows students to further improve their STEM literacy. This innovative approach to classroom assessments teaches students how to connect what they have learned to the real world, preparing them for future careers. If you’re interested in learning more about how STEM Sports® can enhance your student’s learning experience with its innovative and engaging approach to STEM curriculum, visit our website now and explore our comprehensive curriculum offerings.

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