Check list: what is this assessment tool and how it is used

One of the most widely used assessment tools in pedagogy is the checklist. In general, it allows a comparison between the objectives set and the learning or tasks obtained. It is a very simple and useful technique for analyzing, at different levels, the scope of a given skill or procedure.

Below, we’ll take a look at what a checklist is, how it’s done, and some related scoring techniques.

    Confrontation list: an assessment tool

    In pedagogy, an evaluation instrument is a material or a set of actions that allow obtain relevant information about the teaching and learning process. Thus, a checklist is a material that allows to record the objectives achieved and not achieved in a given process.

    It usually has the format of a three- or four-column table in which both the indicators (skills, behaviors or elements that are expected to be found in both the person and in a specific task) and specific information is self-explanatory. presence or absence of these indicators.

    In other words, the indicators are organized in the form of a list in a first column. On one side are placed two or three additional columns, where it is possible to indicate whether the indicator is “reached”, “not reached” or in “process”. The above conditions may vary depending on what is assessed. For example, in the case of procedures or elements that one would expect to find in a written or visual work, they may simply include the columns “yes” and “no” to indicate whether they are present or absent. .

      4 main features

      Like all assessment tools, the checklist it has certain characteristics that differentiate it from other techniques. These features can be both an advantage and a disadvantage, a matter which depends on what you want to assess. We can identify 4 main characteristics of the confrontation list: it is pre-structured, it is generally dichotomous, it makes it possible to establish sequences and it is based on observation.

      1. Pre-structured

      This is a pre-structured assessment technique, as the assessment criteria are established prior to observation. First, the goals they aim to achieve are listed, To then record which of these objectives have actually been achieved and which have not.

      The fact that this is a pre-structured tool can be an advantage, as it allows for an objective assessment. However, this can also be a disadvantage as it is difficult to add other elements or learnings obtained once the assessment has started.

      2. Dichotomy

      Related to the above, the checklist is generally a dichotomous assessment technique, that is, it generally only accepts the options “acquired”, “not acquired”, “present”, “ absent ”,“ yes ”,“ no ”. In some cases, the confrontation list includes a third option, “in progress”. In this sense, the confrontation list can be a very easy to access and very practical tool. But on the other hand, it can limit the evaluation criteria to a very specific learning.


      The confrontation list allows you to record in sequence the tasks that should be done or performed, as well as the order in which they should appear. In the specific context of pedagogy, the confrontation list is made by listing the behaviors, skills, attitudes or tasks that are expected of students. In this way it can be established a graphic sequence on the advances and the slopes.

      4. Observation

      It is a tool based mainly on observation. This means that it depends on what the rater looked at in relation to the person whose task is being evaluated. Depending on the structure of the indicators to be assessed, The comparison list allows a qualitative-quantitative evaluation.

      Associated educational tools

      Before deciding which evaluation technique is the most operational for analyzing the successes of a particular task, it is necessary to define that task. In other words, it’s important to first ask yourself what you want to assess and then ask yourself how.

      In this sense, some tools that resemble the confrontation list, while keeping some differences with it, are rubrics and rating scales. In the first case, these are tables of contents where the learning or the expected task can be explained in detail. They are used to measure both the level and the quality of these indicators. Above all, it facilitates the communication of evaluation criteria between those who evaluate and those who are evaluated.

      The rating scale, on the other hand, identifies the frequency of an indicator. It is also a list, but which indicates in more detail whether the expected skill, behavior or task has been achieved. It can be descriptive (detailing what was observed in the person being assessed), or it can be numerical (achievements are rated on scales, for example 1 to 10).

      Bibliographical references:

      • SENCE (S / A). Assessment instruments. Accessed August 14, 2018.Available at
      • Carbonell Sebarroja, J. (2015). 21st century pedagogies. Alternatives for educational innovation. Barcelona: octahedron.
      • Medina-Díaz, M. de la R., Verdejo-Carrión, A EL (1999). Assessment of student learning. San Juan (Puerto Rico): Isla Negra.

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