21 Creative Ways to Assess Students: 21 Unique Ideas

Besides the usual formal assessments, there are many creative ways to assess students.

Teachers frequently need to assess learning and performance. 

Student assessments help teachers understand the strengths and weaknesses of each student, making it easier to develop a curriculum tailored to the needs of the classroom.

If you’re seeking summative assessment ideas that you can use alongside traditional assessment methods, you’ll love the following assessment activities examples.

These fun ways to test knowledge lead to increased student engagement and offer more insight.

Here are 21 creative ways to assess students.

What Is the Best Way to Assess Creatively? 10+ Alternative Assessment Tools

Following you will find different formative assessment examples that help you assess students in a creative way.

1. Create an Infographic.

An infographic is a creative, fun way to assess students. 

It is a visual representation of facts or information presented in a clear, concise manner with a combination of words and images.

Require students to create an infographic based on a lesson. The infographic should cover the most important facts. 

You can use this assessment method for almost any topic, including history, English, math, or science.

creative ways to assess students
creative ways to assess students

2. Move Around the Room Writing Graffiti.

Of all of the creative ways to assess students, this one works best with science or social studies concepts.

  • Take four pieces of chart paper, and place one on each of the walls in your classroom.
  • Write a different sentence starter on each piece of chart paper.  The sentence starter should relate to the main idea of the lesson.
  • Divide students into 4 groups, and choose one child in each group to be the role of recorder. 
  • Each of the four recorders should have a different-colored permanent marker in which to write. Everyone else in the group is an active participant.
  • To begin, each group stands next to a chart paper.
  • When you give the signal, students have a minute to discuss any information they have related to the stem. 
  • The recorder writes their thoughts on the chart paper. 
  • After the minute, give a signal, and the groups rotate clockwise to the next chart paper, repeating the process.
  • Continue as such until all groups have visited each chart paper.

In a glance, you see how well each group has grasped the concept you are assessing because all responses are color-coded by group.

3. Talk to the Hand.

Of all the creative ways to assess students, this one is arguably one of the most popular.

At the end of a lesson, tell students to “talk to the hand.”

Give each student a piece of paper and have them trace a hand on it.

Instruct students to create a list of six words related to the main points of the lesson.

Rank the words in order of importance. 

The most important word should be written on the palm of the hand. The remaining five words are written on the fingers and thumb.

4. Write a How-to Manual.

Students need to explain the topic to someone else by writing a how-to manual. 

This creative way to assess students works best for lessons that involve steps, such as a math technique or science concept. 

The how-to manual should break the topic down into individual steps. Each step should include a short set of instructions.

5. Illustrate the Topic.

Allow learners to express their creativity by drawing a picture that represents the topic. 

Students should have the freedom to use any style of artwork. 

The only requirement is that the picture conveys at least three points discussed during the lesson.

6. Make a Top Ten List.

One of the most simple yet creative ways to assess students online is by having them make a top ten list.

Instruct learners to create a list of the top ten facts or pieces of information covered during a topic. 

Requiring students to recall and rank the information helps teachers assess their understanding.

Students should start with the most important piece of information. Each item on the list should also include a brief description.

7. Fill Out an Exit Slip.

An exit slip can assess a child’s understanding of a topic and help develop their thinking skills. 

The typical exit slip includes a question or a writing prompt and a space for students to write their responses. 

creative ways to assess students
creative ways to assess students

For example, to assess document learning, you may ask learners to write one thing that they learned during the lesson. 

You could also instruct them to describe the piece of information that they found most surprising.

See lots of exit ticket ideas.

8. Write a Poem.

Poetry is one of the most creative ways to assess students.

Choose a poem format or allow students to choose from different options, such as limericks, haikus, or free verse poetry. 

Instruct learners to write a poem based on the topic discussed in class. You may even provide an original poem as an example.

9. Create an ABC Book.

An ABC book encourages creativity, critical thinking, and memorization skills. 

Require students to create a book or a list of words related to the topic discussed. 

Each word should represent one of the letters in the alphabet from A to Z.

10. Make Meaningful Connections With a Tic-Tac-Toe Graphic Organizer.

This creative way to assess students encourages learners to go beyond memorizing definitions by looking for connections and patterns among ideas.

To use this assessment, ask students to draw a simple tic-tac-toe board or provide one.

They fill each space of the board with a vocabulary word from a unit or lesson. 

Now learners choose three words in any row, column, or diagonal.  They write five meaningful sentences using the three terms. 

As the child uses a set of three words, he or she then crosses it out.

creative ways to assess students
creative ways to assess students

Students cannot repeat the same set of three words. However, a word may repeat if part of another set.

11. Teach the Teacher.

The “Teach the Teacher” assessment helps boost student engagement and participation. 

It works best as a group activity, allowing students to call out answers and responses.

Pretend that you have amnesia and no longer remember the information discussed. 

Instruct students to teach you everything that you need to know about the topic.

The Teach the Teacher strategy is a creative way to assess students similar to reciprocal teaching, a favorite of students from elementary to high school. 

12. Make an Informational Pamphlet.

Instruct the children to create an informational pamphlet that provides a summary of the facts and information covered during the lesson. 

Students can use a single sheet of standard printer paper. 

Fold the paper in thirds, creating six sections including a cover and five pages of facts.

13. Create a Board Game.

Of the creative ways to assess students, creating a board game is arguably the most exciting for students.

Divide the class into small groups of three to four children. 

Each group should create an original board game that teaches players about the topic covered in class. 

For example, players may need to answer a question to move a specific number of spaces on the board.

14. Fill Out a Concept Map.

Concept maps help visualize relationships between ideas or break down a complex concept into smaller parts. 

Give students a word that represents the main concept, such as the name of a math formula or a historical event.

They then draw a series of circles below the main concept. 

Inside each circle, learners list one of the key sub-topics of the lesson. Lines are then used to connect related concepts.

15. Draw an Original Comic Strip.

Use a comic strip to assess a student’s knowledge of a historical event, science concept, math technique, or another topic. 

Give learners clear guidelines, such as the number of panels to use in the comic strip. 

If possible, save comics from the newspaper and pass them around the class for inspiration.

16. Write a Pitch for a New TV Show.

Assess students’ knowledge by having them write a pitch for a new TV show. 

The pitch should include a summary of the main characters, settings, and conflicts related to the topic discussed.

This assessment method works best for history lessons and English classes. Students may write a pitch based on a historical event or a book.

17. Design an Original Travel Brochure.

Require students to create an original travel brochure encouraging visitors to travel to the location discussed in class. 

A travel brochure allows students to demonstrate their knowledge of a geographic location, which is useful for history and geography classes.

The brochure should include relevant information, such as the climate, nearest major city, history of the area, and the sights or major events associated with the region.

18. Create a Collage.

Creating a collage is a useful way to assess knowledge of any topic. 

Students clip pictures from old magazines and glue the images to a large board. Give learners markers to include words and phrases related to the topic.

The collage should cover themes, methods, or specific points covered during the lesson. 

For example, after a science lesson on cloud patterns, students may use images to illustrate how clouds form.

19. Turn a Graphic Organizer Into a Foldable.

This is one of those creative ways to assess students that engage learners from start to finish.

Using a simple graphic organizer as inspiration, ask students to turn it into a 3-dimensional piece of work using nothing more than paper, creativity, and knowledge.

See Foldables activity ideas

20. Summarize the Lesson Using the ABCs.

Take small magnetic letters or simply write each letter of the alphabet on a separate note-card.

Place the letters in a bag and shake them. Have a student draw one letter from the bag. 

If he pulls an “S”, he must state a word (related to the concept being assessed) that begins with that letter.  

For example, if the assessment covers the three states of matter, the child might say…

“Solid. A solid is a state of matter and holds its shape.”

You will discover how well learners understood the concepts by how deep or detailed their responses.

Permit a few more students to pull from the bag.  If someone pulls the same letter, she shares a different word.

21. Complete an Activity From a Learning Styles Menu.

One of the most creative ways to assess students is to use multiple intelligence activities. 

Create a learning styles menu (see below), or simply list a few activities from which learners may choose. 

Ask the children to select one activity to complete.

See multiple intelligence activity ideas.

creative ways to assess students
creative ways to assess students

22. Choose an Activity from a Think-Tac-Toe Board.

Similar to choice boards, students choose activities to complete from the board. 

With a Think-Tac-Toe assessment, however, learners choose three tasks from any row, column, or diagonal to complete.

Final Thoughts: Alternative Assessment Ideas for Learning

Now you have a collection of creative ways to assess students of all ages.

Whether you need innovative ways to assess secondary students or elementary learners, these simple assessment strategies do the job well.

So pencil a few of these fun and unique assessments into your instruction this week.

If you enjoyed reading about creative ways to assess students, you might like to read aboutmultiple intelligence classroom activities for students.