Digital Age Teaching & Learning

Personalizing, Assessing, and Evaluating Student Work

Part 3 of a 3 part series

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

You’ve now chosen a platform for the “Face of Your Classroom” as well as identified some activities and assignments that engage students. In this step you will look for ways to personalize the work and provide options around assessing the learning. Here, you think about the ways in which students will interact with the work and demonstrate competency, as well as how you will embrace learner variability.

Within an online environment, formative and summative assessments are unique, and methods for communication are varied. Each student has unique needs, wants, or motivators. Think about tools for assessment, communication, and differentiation - as well as how you can continue to personalize learning.

Consider the following questions regarding ASSESSMENT:

  • How will you empower student agency by integrating choices around platforms, processes, and products to demonstrate competency?
  • How will you provide opportunities for students to ask questions and gather feedback? 
  • Will you use web conferencing, virtual office hours, collaborative documents, or phone calls? 
  • How will you differentiate and provide support for struggling students? 
  • How will you assess the learning? 
  • What formative and summative assessments, discussion forums, reflection documents, feedback surveys, etc. will you incorporate in the learning? 
  • How can you also prepare students for State Testing?


Sound like a tall order? Let's dig into some resources that can help guide you on your journey. 

Personalizing & Differentiating

How do you empower students with voice and choice? One way is to provide a variety of tools and formats for students to create artifacts to demonstrate their competency. Visit Thing 14 - Creative Communications or the companion on the 21things4students site Thing 17 - Creative Communications. Here, students are asked to consider the best way to communicate their message. This is done by choosing the right platform (digital tool), process (method), and product (digital artifact) to demonstrate competency. Students then showcase their work through video, animation, audio, cartoons, screencasts, slideshows, infographics, or other media format against pre-established rubrics.

Conferencing and Checking for Understanding

In addition to formative and summative assessments, gathering feedback and providing opportunities for students to ask questions should be built into the mix of an online experience.  Embrace tools like Zoom, Adobe Connect, WebEx, Google Hangouts, or Microsoft Teams and offer to host virtual meetings. When students feel comfortable in the protocols of the face-to-face and online classroom environments, they will be more actively and confidently communicating. Whether it is with their peers or with the teacher, building capacity is the key here.

Here are some quick tips:

  • Show students how to participate in a chat box or “raise their hand” to comment in a webinar. 
  • Use your learning management system to create Discussion Forums for Q & A.  Ask low-stakes, mid-stakes, and high-stakes questions and require participation that is positive and accountable. 
  • Provide opportunities for students to join you for “office hours” in a free virtual space such as Google Hangouts, Skype, or phone. 
Have a plan for troubleshooting, and embrace the opportunity to co-learn with students!

Assessment Options with the T3PD Model

During this step, you will also think about how you will assess your students’ work. You may want to use formative or summative assessments, or may just be engaging students in progress monitoring. When moving to an online format, you will need to explore means and methods of evaluation.

With the T3PD model from Thing 19 - Assessment and Analysis as a guide, check out free formative and summative tools for assessing students. Options for assessment using digital tools take on many shapes and forms. There are a variety of free tools for gathering perceptions, monitoring progress, or assessing performance. 

  • Survey your students or gather feedback with Google Forms or Excel Surveys
  • Use discussion forums within Schoology or your LMS to ask reflective questions, check for understanding, or monitor progress.
  • Use Quizalize or Quizizz during a webinar to engage students in a live check for understanding experience
  • Use Socrative to create an interactive quiz using a variety of question types
  • Replicate a high-stakes test aligned to Standards using Edulastic


Let's Recap... 

As you consider these tools and resources, you might want to revisit your guiding questions from the beginning of this section (Part 3) on Assessment.

With the T3PD model from Thing 19 - Assessment and Analysis as a guide, check out free formative and summative tools for assessing students.

For more ideas about how to build engagement into your assignments and activities:



21things4educators  21things4 Project