The Classroom Assessment KnowledgeBase

The Classroom Assessment KnowledgeBase is an online resource for state departments of education to use as part of their professional development efforts with districts and schools. Organized around five elements, it brings together concepts, how-to guidance, tools, and resources about classroom assessment.

Element 1: Determine the Goals of the Formative Assessment

Purpose: Developing effective formative assessments begins with an understanding of the fundamentals. These include being knowledgeable about the basic concepts, being able to define "formative," and establishing goals and objectives for formative assessments. Element 1 outlines these tasks and offers resources for the classroom teacher to gain such understanding.

Activity 1: Understand the Basic Concepts of Formative Assessment

Activity 2: Define Formative Assessment

Activity 3: Determine the Objectives for the Assessment

Task 2: Identify What Students Need to Know and Be Able to Do

Guideline: Formative assessments should be based on what students must know so they understand what is expected of them and how they can help to close gaps in their learning. Subject matter expectations should be enumerated in measurable objectives related to the assessment.

Shopping List of Useful Verbs

This resource offers a categorized "shopping list" of useful verbs to assist in making objectives more precise.

Bloom's Taxonomy

This document provides links to websites offering resources on Bloom's Taxonomy.

Goals, Objectives, and Activities

This document summarizes the key elements of well-written goals, objectives, and activities. The document includes a link to the Performance Objectives Worksheet, which is a guide on writing objectives.

Writing Objectives

This Penn State University resource offers a model for writing objectives addressing audience, behavior, condition, and degree of mastery. Though intended for higher education, the model is adaptable for use by K-12 teachers. The resource also provides examples of well-written objectives and identifies problems encountered when writing objectives.

Aligning Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

This link to Carnegie Mellon University's Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation why assessments, learning objectives, and instructional strategies be aligned.

Element 2: Design or Select the Assessment

Purpose: Assessments used in the classroom can be designed locally by teachers or selected from any number of commercial or other professional sources. Regardless of an assessment's origin, teachers must first plan what they intend to accomplish with the assessment. Upon doing so, they can determine whether a pre-existing or new assessment will best meet their needs.

Activity 1: Plan the Assessment

Activity 2: Evaluate Pre-existing Assessments

Activity 3: Develop Own Assessment

Element 3: Administer the Assessment

Purpose: Administering assessments includes conducting and scoring. Conducting the assessment addresses the when, where, and how of doing so. Scoring the assessment focuses on the scoring rubric, determining individual scores, and analyzing the results. Both are essential parts of administering the assessment.

Activity 1: Conduct the Assessment

Activity 2: Score the Assessment

Element 4: Understand and Interpret the Assessment Results

Purpose: When used properly, assessment results enhance instruction. It is incumbent upon teachers to understand, know how to interpret, and explain the results effectively to their students, parents, and other district and school staff members.

Activity 1: Produce and Review Assessment Results

Activity 2: Inform and Collect Feedback from Constituencies

Element 5: Make Adjustments in Instruction and Assessment

Purpose: Good assessments provide the basis for making adjustments in instruction as well as future assessments. Assessment results show teachers where changes need to be made in instructional approaches for groups of students or individual students. The assessment outcomes also show students what they need to do to improve their learning. Changes to instruction based on assessment results complete the learning cycle.

Activity 1: Make Adjustments to Instruction

Activity 2: Make Adjustments to the Assessment