Make a Bump It Up Board For Better Classroom Assessment

Making assessments meaningful can sometimes be challenging, especially when students are unsure of the criteria against which they are being evaluated. Over the years, I’ve found that a Bump It Up Board is an effective tool for clarifying these criteria and actively involving students in the assessment process.

Bump It Up Board: Enhancing Classroom Engagement

A Bump It Up Board is more than just a bulletin board; it’s a visual and interactive representation of assessment criteria. It utilizes exemplars of student writing to demonstrate the expected standards at various levels. The goal is to make the abstract concept of “improvement” concrete, offering students a clear path to elevate their skills from one level to the next. This approach demystifies the criteria for success, encouraging students to take ownership of their learning.

Bump It Up Board for Classroom Assessment

Why Use a Bump It Up Board in Your Classroom?

In addition to demystifying assessment criteria, here are more reasons to adopt this innovative tool:

  • Promotes Self-Assessment and Reflection: By visually comparing their work with exemplars, students can self-assess their performance and identify specific areas for improvement. This process fosters a growth mindset, encouraging students to view learning as a journey rather than a destination.
  • Facilitates Goal Setting: The board helps students set realistic and achievable goals for their writing. Seeing the “next level” laid out visually makes the steps they need to take to improve more tangible and less daunting.
  • Encourages Peer Learning: The board can spark discussions among students about what makes writing effective. This peer-to-peer interaction promotes a collaborative learning environment where students learn from each other.
  • Provides Clear Expectations: It sets a standard for quality, helping students understand what excellent work looks like. This clarity helps reduce anxiety around assessments, as students know exactly what is expected of them.
  • Supports Diverse Learning Needs: By offering multiple exemplars at various levels, the board caters to students with a range of abilities and learning styles. Each student can find something that resonates with their current level of understanding and skill.

Involving Students in the Assessment Process

Engaging students in the assessment process is crucial. Through discussions about what constitutes quality work—whether it’s a story, report, or any other project—students develop a shared understanding of excellence. This collaborative approach ensures that assessment is not just about receiving a grade but about ongoing learning and improvement.

What You Need to Create a Bump It Up Board

Creating a Bump It Up Board in your classroom is straightforward. Here’s what you need:

  •  Sufficient board space or a trifold poster board to display examples.
  • Coloured paper for headings to visually distinguish different levels of achievement.
  • Arrows and sticky notes to motivate students to aim higher in their learning journey.
  • Exemplars of student work from past students, ministry-provided samples, or other reliable sources to illustrate the different levels of quality.

Implementing the Bump It Up Board in Your Classroom

A bump it up board can be used with any assignment that you might use in the classroom.  If your students are completing monthly writing tasks from our Ignited Literacy Program, or a Weekly Inquiry Math task from Ignited Math, or even a science and social studies mini project a bump it up board can help students understand how they will be assessed.

  1. Start with Success Criteria: Collaborate with your students to establish clear success criteria for the task at hand. This sets a foundation for understanding what makes a good piece of work.
  2. Provide Practice Opportunities: Give students ample time to practice their skills before formal assessment. This builds confidence and provides a richer context for discussing assessment criteria.
  3. Moderate with Samples: Use student writing samples to review the success criteria together. Encourage students to critique the work, assign it a level, and justify their reasoning. This process not only helps in reinforcing the success criteria but also in developing critical thinking and evaluative skills.

Why Use a Bump It Up Board?

A Bump It Up Board is more than a visual aid; it’s a pathway for student improvement. Unlike traditional rubrics that might only provide a final score, this board outlines specific strategies and steps for students to enhance their skills. It transforms the assessment process into a constructive, interactive, and motivational journey towards academic excellence.


For additional resources and detailed instructions on setting up and using a Bump It Up Board in your classroom, including downloadable headers for your board, you can visit [insert link here]. Discover how this innovative tool can make a difference in your classroom assessment practices and foster a more engaging and effective learning environment.

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