Alternative assessment is any classroom assessment practice that focuses on
continuous individual student progress.
Perhaps the best way to define alternative assessment is to say that it is the counter
to traditional forms of standardized assessment.
. With alternative assessments, students are enabled to provide their own responses
rather than simply selecting from a given list of options.
With alternative assessment, students are expected to participate actively in
evaluating themselves and one another.
Alternative assessment uses activities that reveal what students can do with
language, emphasizing their strengths instead of their weaknesses. Alternative
assessment instruments are not only designed and structured differently from
traditional tests, but are also graded or scored differently.
Alternative assessment methods work well in learner-centered classrooms because
they are based on the idea that students can evaluate their own learning and learn
from the evaluation process.
Characteristics of Alternative Assessment
(1) Is usually teacher-generated, as opposed to being passed down from an
administration, government or third-party organization.
(2) Takes into account the individual background and needs of every unique
(3) Considers the big picture of individual student progress over an extended
period of time.
(4) Is flexible, responsive and continually developing according to curricular
Characteristics of Alternative
(5) Takes into consideration different learning styles and preferences.
(6) Allows language learners to demonstrate content knowledge and skills
mastery without language barrier difficulties.
(7) Is highly effective for use with students who are entitled to accommodations
Features of alternative assessment:
Assessment is based on authentic tasks that demonstrate learners' ability to
accomplish communication goals.
Instructor and learners focus on communication, not on right and wrong answers.
Learners help to set the criteria for successful completion of communication tasks.
Designing tasks for alternative assessment.
Features of alternative assessment
Successful use of alternative assessment depends on using performance tasks that
let students demonstrate what they can actually do with language. Fortunately,
many of the activities that take place in communicative classrooms lend
themselves to this type of assessment. These activities replicate the kinds of
challenges, and allow for the kinds of solutions, that learners would encounter in
communication outside the classroom.
Using Alternative Assessments
Student portfolios, grading with rubrics, and other alternative assessment
strategies can help you determine how well learning outcomes have been
Alternative assessments are used to determine what students can and cannot do, in
contrast to what they do or do not know.
Alternative assessments, also referred to as performance tests or authentic
assessments, are used to determine what students can and cannot do, in contrast to
what they do or do not know. In other words, an alternative assessment measures
applied proficiency more than it measures knowledge. Typical examples of
alternative assessments include portfolios, project work, and other activities
requiring some type of rubric.
Advantages of Alternative Assessments
They provide a means of assessing valued skills that cannot be directly assessed
with traditional tests.
They provide a more realistic setting for student performance than traditional tests.
They focus on student performance and the quality of work performed by students.
They can be easily aligned with established learning outcomes.
Disadvantages of Alternative
Process can be costly in terms of time, effort, equipment, materials, facilities, or
Rating process is sometimes more subjective than traditional exams.
Guidelines for Constructing Alternative
Define the instructional outcome you want to assess as clearly and unambiguously
as possible in terms of both the subject-matter content and the set of skills or
operations that a skillful performer would exhibit.