Submitted by Jennifer Hooten, Wichita Falls, Texas

Idea posted September 12, 2008

Assessment without paper/pencil: Index cards with rings test

I decide what questions I am going to ask and put the answers on the cards. (Note names, how many counts the notes get in 4/4 time, "The Star-Spangled Banner" questions, instrument names, actual drawn notes, etc.) I have been known to throw in a wrong answer and notes they haven't learned yet to keep them on their toes. Laminate and cut out (that's the time consuming part). Hole punch and put on rings. The making of these is a process I completed in three days. Day one: put answers on cards. Day two: laminate and cut out. Day three: group, hole punch, and put on rings.

Make sure you put responses on the same sides of the cards for each set that you make. I make a list of the kids by row (they sit in three rows of 10, depending on how many kids I have) before the day of the test. I put the question at the top of the grid, so I know what is next and don't forget anything. I pass the ring cards out and we begin the test. HINT: Do not let students open and close the rings. It will make the connection weaker and you will end up with cards everywhere, if it comes apart.

I ask the question, and it's their job to hold up the correct answer, I have them use their hands on either side of the card as a "blinder", so no one looks around.

If they got the question correct I leave the square empty, if it's incorrect, I "X" the box. This helps me identify the wrong responses FASTER and not having to look through checks for every question.

When we are finished with the test, I, or one of the kids, collects the rings and puts them in a plastic bin and the bin goes on my shelf. Voila! I add up the correct responses, put that amount at the end of each child's row, and do the math to get their grade or review as assessment for who knows what or needs more help with certain areas. I try to put the grades in the computer the day of so I don't forget. This is so much easier than grading tests! Happy testing!!