Multiple Intelligences Assessment Case Study

Instructor: Tawnya Eash

Tawnya has a master's degree in early childhood education and teaches all subjects at an elementary school.

Is everyone good at taking tests? Not all students are good at standardized test taking and instead excel in other specific areas. This lesson shows how assessments reach multiple intelligences.

Meet Tim and Kate

Meet Tim and Kate, two sixth grade students in Mrs. Star's class. These students both excel in different areas. Throughout the year, their teacher observed certain characteristics about each student's learning style. Take a look at the image of notes from Mrs. Star.

Notes about Learning Styles

Since her students learn and acquire knowledge in different ways, could they also demonstrate this knowledge in various ways?

Mrs. Star was getting ready to test her students on how to find the surface area and volume of various polygons. She also wanted to compare observational tests with tests geared toward multiple intelligences. Which type of assessment would allow Tim and Kate to show what they know best?

Let's see what she did.

How to Select Individual Assessments

Mrs. Star used observational assessments, or ways to evaluate a student's abilities and skills through watching them perform a task, when applicable. However, she thought it might not be the most effective way to assess students as this form of assessment may not give a clear picture of what students truly know and are capable of doing.

She believes in incorporating Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences as she teaches. This theory states students could have any combination of the eight multiple intelligences, or specific categories that describe a person's strengths and how they learn best.

Take a look!

  1. Logical-Mathematical: great with numbers and processes
  2. Visual-Spatial: artistic and receptive to putting things together
  3. Bodily-Kinesthetic: does well with physical movement
  4. Musical: relates to rhythm and patterns in music
  5. Linguistic: great with words
  6. Interpersonal: works well with others
  7. Intrapersonal: works well alone
  8. Naturalist: in tune with nature

Her students who are bodily-kinesthetic learners, like Tim, may benefit from observational assessments. What about students who lean other types, such as linguistic learners like Kate?

To determine which type of assessment promotes the highest achievement, Mrs. Star decided to test Tim and Kate with both assessment types.

Observational Assessment

During the observational assessment:

  • Each student received a tissue box (rectangular prism), a shipping box (cube), and a can of soup (cylinder).
  • First, students measured and recorded the necessary information to find the surface area and volume for each object.
  • Next, students used the appropriate formula to set up an equation for finding the surface area and volume.
  • Then, students completed the calculations.

Mrs. Star used a scoring rubric to assess each student's knowledge of the ability to measure accurately, apply the correct formulas for surface area and volume, and complete calculations to find the correct answers.

Multiple Intelligences Assessment

In order to create an assessment that works for the multiple intelligences, Mrs. Star had to design something that would relate to real life, require students to apply their knowledge, and allow them to show a deep understanding.

She knew her students well and felt they were both capable of measuring and calculating to find surface area and volume. However, she also knew that by Tim working individually on the observational assessment, it would not benefit his interpersonal skills. Furthermore, Mrs. Star knew that Kate liked to write explanations and incorporate songs/rhymes as she remembered specific formulas or procedures. The observational assessment wouldn't allow her to highlight her musical and linguistic learning styles.

Mrs. Star had her work cut out for her, but came up with the following assessment:

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