7 junio, 2024

Checklist: what it is, features, how to do it, advantages, examples

We explain what a checklist is, its characteristics, how to do it, and we give several examples.

What is a checklist?

A Checklist It is a pre-structured assessment instrument in the form of a table. It is applied in order to obtain information about the learning process and apply the necessary improvements.

This instrument is useful to evaluate not only behaviors or attitudes, but also finished products, such as concept maps, comparative charts, exhibitions, time lines, among others.

A checklist differs from other evaluation instruments, such as the rubric or the rating scale, in that it only accepts two possible options: yes or no, observed or not observed, present or absent.

The checklists can be classified according to the object that is intended to be evaluated. Thus, there are attitudinal, procedural, finished product or group strategy checklists.

Characteristics of a checklist

In a checklist we can identify five main characteristics:

1. Your assessment scale is dichotomous

It only presents two options. These are opposite and mutually exclusive, which means that both cannot be checked at the same time. For example, yes-no, achieved-not achieved, present-absent, observed-not observed.

2. It is diagnostic and informative

The checklist is not applied with the intention of assigning a score to the performance of the students, but to obtain information on the effectiveness of the training process. This information will allow the necessary improvements to be applied and will highlight the strengths of the teaching-learning strategy.

3. It is pre-structured

The criteria that guide the evaluation are established before applying it. These criteria include learning goals and indicators.

4. It is a qualitative-quantitative method

The person who applies the instrument observes if the evaluated indicator is present or not in the student. The subjective aspect of the evaluator comes into play, but the results of the evaluation are quantifiable. That is why it is stated that it is a qualitative-quantitative method.

5. It is also useful for evaluating finished products

For example: exhibitions, mental maps, time lines, comparative charts, among others. In this case, the indicators correspond to the requirements that the finished product must meet.

Types of checklists

The checklists can be classified according to the object of evaluation. Thus, we have:


They are designed to assess compliance with a series of steps. For example, in a checklist of this type to evaluate writing, some indicators could be: 1) Do research on the subject before starting the writing; 2) Review the text before handing it in to the teacher.


They are designed to observe the presence or absence of certain attitudes in students. For example: 1) He is willing to work as a team; 2) Listen with respect to the points of view of your classmates.

Of group strategies

They are designed with the objective of evaluating the way in which students perform when working as a team. They can assess both procedural and attitudinal elements.

Some of your indicators could be: 1) You express yourself clearly and coherently before your teammates; 2) The team divides the work equally among its members.

How to make a checklist

The elaboration of a checklist has four fundamental steps, which are the following:

Define what you want to evaluate

It can be a set of attitudes, behaviors, skills or actions. It can also be a finished product, such as a concept map, a writing exercise, a comparison chart, etc.

Precisely define the aspects to be evaluated

Once we know the what of the evaluation, we must now determine which facets of the topic to be evaluated are the most important. For example, if the object of my evaluation is writing in 6th grade students, one aspect could be spelling; another, grammatical correctness; another one, textual coherence.

Precisely define indicators

It is the most important step in the process and the one that requires the most reflection and analysis. It is about defining the indicators that we really want to evaluate, those that will give us the information we are looking for.

They must be concrete and observable, and only those strictly necessary. For example, if the student raises his hand before speaking in class.

Once we have identified the indicators, it is time to write them. It must be done in the most precise and objective way possible, always in the affirmative.

For example: «Raise your hand before you intervene.» The options are not appropriate: “Will you raise your hand before you intervene?” or «He does not raise his hand before intervening.»

Define the evaluation scale

As we have already explained, this must be dichotomous and mutually exclusive; however, the specific terms in which it is expressed are of our choice, such as: observed-not observed, present-absent, yes-no, among others.

Pour the information into a table

From a format standpoint, the checklist is a table. In the upper part we must place the general information: city, date, school, course, subject and student’s name, if it is an individual evaluation.

Two columns will be placed below: one for the evaluation criteria and another for the two options of the evaluation scale. The evaluation criteria must be ordered sequentially.

Difference Between Checklist and Rubric

The difference between the checklist and the rubric is located in the rating scale. In the checklist, this must be dichotomous. Instead, the rubric allows for nuances or different levels of achievement.

Let’s see it with an example. In an evaluation on writing in elementary students I have the following indicator: «Place the point on the Yo”.

In a checklist I will only have two options: yes or no. On the other hand, the rubric allows you to add other possibilities: «Almost always», «Achieved», «In development», «Outstanding».

This variety of options provides more information. Well, it not only shows us that a certain student has reached the objective, but that he has been «Outstanding». Or, in the opposite case, it clarifies that the student is on track to achieve the objective, although he has not yet done so.

Advantages and disadvantages


They are easy to perform.
They are objective.
They allow adapting the teaching process.


They do not reflect well all types of learning.
They do not allow you to put a rating.

Examples of Checklists

Oral Presentation Checklist

MOOC or digital course checklist

Checklist to prepare essay

Checklist for taking blood pressure

Checklist for evaluating mind maps

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