Opportunities for assessment: examples

In the following examples the key learning across a topic or series of lessons are provided. Ideas for how the teacher can check for students’ understanding are also provided.

Primary example

Year 6 (age 10-11) were about to start on the topic of Evolution and Inheritance. Working together, teachers mapped out a summary of the opportunities to assess progress through the topic, shown in the table below. They will then use this to plan for their own students’ learning.

Activity Opportunities for assessment
Variation in sweets Use observation to group sweets. Share different ways with others.
Variation in Sea Shells Use observation and measurement to group shells. Compare and justify with others.
Tool Use Decisions about effectiveness of tools. (Use spoon, cocktail stick, tweezers, mitten, etc to pick up individual beans and pop into small hole in yogurt pot).
Video of Darwin’s Finches Identify variation in finches on different islands. Decisions about ‘survival’ if food becomes scarce and only some foods available.


Year 7 (age 11-12) are about to do a unit on Forces. The plan below outlines the first two lessons showing what might be done during the activities. The teachers would need to consider what decisions about progressing learning they will need to make and the evidence to be collected to inform that decision.

Lesson Opportunities for assessment
Circus of forces activities In groups of 3-4, at each station, students discuss the type of force and its action.
Measuring force in air and water Students learn to use force meters correctly and measure weight of 3 objects in air and water. They then weight a 4th object and predict its weight in water.


Lessons are busy so you may not get evidence that some students have achieved the learning, and it is likely that some of your students can only ‘partly’ do some of the tasks.

If your students cannot complete the activities, how will this affect how you plan and enact your assessments during the current and following lessons?

Share this article:

This article is from the free online course:

Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment in Science and Maths

National STEM Learning Centre