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Authentic Assessment Tools for Teachers and Students

Authentic assessment -- that aims to measure student abilities in situations that mimic how those abilities are actually used -- is a goal of all teachers, but it's tough to get it right when each classroom has 30 to 40 individuals with unique needs. Some of the ways teachers can make assessment more student-centered are to include performance tasks, introduce real-life contexts, encourage construction and application activities, and gather portfolios of student work. One type of assessment you won't see: multiple-choice questions. This list of ELA, social studies, math, and science websites provides ways for teachers to assess students and promote exploration, collaboration, self-regulation, and even social justice at the same time.

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ELA and Social Studies

The Wonderment

Ambitious global community aims for public good through student engagement

Bottom line: A powerful, improving social network for exploring the world and effecting positive change.

PenPal Schools

Give students global perspective with pen pal projects in any subject

Bottom line: A thoughtful, ready-to-go platform that facilitates authentic, cross-cultural collaboration.

NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program

Wildly engaging contest turns students into novelists in 30 days

Bottom line: A thoughtful adaptation of the famous and fun grown-up novel writing contest, NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program is brimming with advice and encouragement as well as classroom support.

LitPick

Tweens' reviews of YA literature great for classroom use

Bottom line: LitPick is a safe, fun environment for YA lovers to read their favorite books while learning how to discuss literature.

Beyond the Bubble

Top-quality assessments challenge students to think like historians

Bottom line: A ready-to-go, pedagogically sound route for refocusing formative assessment on critical thinking and literacy rather than memorization.

Kaizena

Nifty add-on enables audio and text feedback in Google Docs

Bottom line: If your classroom relies a lot on Google Docs, this might just be the feedback tool you're looking for.

Youth Voices

Vibrant online community hosts authentic student writing

Bottom line: Supported student writing, collaboration, and communication make this a healthy space for kids to express themselves.

Write the World

Global community helps young writers write, revise, think, and grow

Bottom line: With interest-based writing prompts and thoughtful feedback from peers and pros, this is a great tool for writing for authentic audiences.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Defined STEM

Stellar collection of STEM resources supports project-based learning

Bottom line: Excellent, well-thought-out resources for developing problem-solving skills in the classroom.

Curiosity Machine

Kids build, share, receive pro feedback with awesome engineering site

Bottom line: Though it may not be an instant fit for your classroom, the exceptional quality of the site’s projects and processes makes it worth any problem solving.

CueThink

Social approach to problem-solving promotes deep math learning

Bottom line: CueThink is an innovative, community-based platform that helps students plan, strategize, and collaborate.

Tuva Labs

Dynamic data exploration tool offers large collection of data sets

Bottom line: Partner with another teacher (preferably a data whiz) and work together to develop cross-curricular activities.

Mosa Mack Science

Engaging design challenges turn kids into actual science detectives

Bottom line: An engaging way to weave some engineering into your middle school science lessons.

Inq-ITS

Virtual labs epitomize the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices

Bottom line: Earth, life, and physical science simulations coach kids through the NGSS Practices.

CanFigureIt Geometry

Flex your deductive reasoning muscles with geometric proofs

Bottom line: A really good way for math students to learn about proofs and explore them from a number of angles.

Desmos

Elegant graphing calculator and math simulations promote collaboration

Bottom line: Innovative calculator and simulations are a standout graphing option for inquiry-driven math.

NOVA Labs

Online science, mastered: exceptional content within meaningful tasks

Bottom line: Serious, sophisticated science engagement -- but be prepared to take some prep time to connect these labs with your classroom.

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