IntelAssessing Projects : Using Assessment to Improve Teaching and Learning

Intermediate Phase Assessment Plans | Senior / FET Phase Assessment Plans


Dangerous Animals


At a Glance

Grade Level: K-2
Subjects: Language Arts, Science, Health
Topics: Reading, Writing, Classifying
Higher-Order Thinking Skills: Decision-making, Analysis
Key Learnings: Brainstorming, Organizing, Identifying and Analyzing Information, Fact and Fiction, Justifying Answers, Dangerous Animals, Dentistry
Time Needed: 1.5 hours per day for 5 days

Things You Need

Assessing Projects (CD)

Assessing Projects* (online)

Project Summary
Learners read the story of Doctor DeSoto by William Steig and then ponder the Essential Question, How do we know what is real and what is make believe? Throughout the project, learners use the story’s context to learn about fact and fiction, the importance of going to the dentist, and the characteristics of dangerous animals. They brainstorm a list of dangerous animals thinking about, What makes an animal dangerous? Then in small groups learners use the Visual Ranking Tool to rank the list of dangerous animals from least to most dangerous and explain their reasoning for their rankings. As a culminating activity, learners present their conclusions about whether the DeSotos were justified in refusing to treat "dangerous animals" or animals that eat mice. They provide evidence from the story or other stories to defend their conclusions.

Curriculum-Framing Questions

  • Essential Question
    How do we know what is real and what is make believe?
  • Focus Questions
    What makes an animal dangerous?
    If you were Doctor DeSoto, would you treat the fox?
  • Content Questions
    What is fact and what is fiction in the story?
    Why do the DeSotos refuse to treat dangerous animals?
    Why is it important to go to the dentist?

Assessment Plan
Assessment Timeline
This timeline shows in chronological order the different types of formal and informal assessments that occur during the project. The table below explains how each assessment is used and who uses it for what purpose.

Assessment Timeline

Before project work begins

Learners work on projects and
complete tasks

After project work is completed

  • Questioning
  • Journal Checklist


  • T-Chart
  • Observation Checklist
  • Scripting
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Voting
  • Drawing Checklist
  • Peer Feedback
  • Anecdotal Notes
  • Meetings
  • Team Assessment
  • Probing Questions
  • Project Checklist
  • Project Scoring Guide
  • Self-Assessment

Assessment Process and Purpose of Assessment
Questioning for Prior Knowledge The teacher uses questioning to access learners’ prior knowledge and to monitor their understanding of concepts. Learners are encouraged to ask each other questions for clarification and to challenge each others ideas.
Quickwrite Journal Checklist Learners use journals to keep written records of different types of discoveries, reflections or misconceptions, to access prior or current knowledge, and to record questions. The teacher uses the journal checklist to assess learners’ prior and current knowledge, to address any questions they may have, and to adjust teaching if necessary.
T-Chart The teacher uses the T-chart to assess learners’ prior knowledge and to monitor learners’ ability to make predictions and use clues to make meaning of a story. Learners use T-charts to make connections and to compare and contrast information.
Observation Checklist The teacher uses observations as visual or written snapshots of learners’ progress. Observations help the teacher check each learner’s current understanding and level in speaking, listening, writing, reading, identifying visual clues and applying critical analysis. Observations also allow the teacher to see which learners are progressing and which learners are in need of teaching and reteaching. Oral observation is a major component of a foundation phase assessment because learners are just learning to express their thoughts and feelings and hone their listening skills.
Scripting The teacher listens to learners and writes exactly what they say on a chart. Scripting allows the teacher to assess learners’ speaking, listening, and their ability to describe the concepts being taught. At this stage in development learners are learning how to put ideas into complete sentences as well as learning how to organize and express their thoughts and feelings. The teacher can provide immediate feedback and support by referring to the script.
Graphic Organizers The teacher uses graphic organizers to assess if learners understand the concept and are able to articulate and justify their answers. Learners use graphic organizers as visual representations of their thoughts. They use them to organize and interpret data. A specific graphic organizer used in the project is the COW diagram: Connection…this reminds me of. Observation…I noticed. Wonder…I wonder.
Voting The teacher takes a class vote to monitor learner thinking and the way they are processing information. This quick informal assessment method provides a “snap shot” of learner understanding of key concepts. The teacher can adjust instruction based on the responses learners provide. Learners use voting to express their thoughts and feeling on a certain situation and to justify their thinking.
Drawing Checklist The teacher uses the drawing checklist to assess the levels of learner understanding; this is especially helpful in assessing emerging writers. The checklist helps in planning future lessons and in re-teaching the concepts if necessary.
Peer Feedback Learners use peer feedback to seek assistance when reviewing each other’s work and then justifying their agreement or disagreement with their peers. They learn to share their reasoning and to think about others’ problem-solving methods. Foundation phase learners can do peer feedback orally. The teacher uses peer feedback to check for understanding and to make teaching decisions. Use the peer feedback forms with the fact and fiction activities.
Anecdotal Notes The teacher uses this form throughout the project to capture notes about learners as they work. The notes are used to monitor progress, provide feedback, and adjust teaching.
Meetings The teacher has private conversations with each learner to make sure they are learning what they need to, answer any questions learners may have, and to assess individual progress at the time. Meetings provide learners with the time to ask questions and clarify information.
Team Assessment Learners use the team assessment form to assess their collaboration skills during group work. The teacher uses it for final assessment. Use the job assignment sheet to help guide the group work.
Probing Questions The teacher uses these questions to probe for higher-level thinking towards the end of the project. The teacher assesses the learner’s ability to make connections, think critically, and justify answers with evidence from the story.
Project Checklist Learners use the checklist to help ensure they have met all of the requirements of the project. The teacher uses it during conferences to monitor progress, clarify misunderstandings, and offer feedback.
Project Scoring Guide The teacher uses the scoring guide to assess the final presentations.
Self-Assessment Learners self-assess to reflect on their learning. The teacher uses these self-assessments to help teach and reinforce metacognitive strategies.


Vanessa Jones participated in the Intel® Teach Program, which resulted in this idea for an assessment plan. A team of teachers expanded the plan into the example you see here.