The Classroom Assessment KnowledgeBase

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

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

Task 1: Work Through Considerations for Developing the Assessment


Guideline: The critical factors for developing an assessment should be identified prior to creating the assessment. These factors should include how the assessment will achieve its purpose and goal as well as meet any special needs that might be present.

Assessment for Learning

This resource summarizes Chapter 3: Assessment for Learning from Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind. Developed by Dr. Lorna Earl and Dr. Steven Katz in collaboration with the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol for Collaboration in Education, it is "intended to support teachers in assessing their students effectively, efficiently, and fairly, and to serve as a basis for professional learning." Chapter 3 provides a series of questions for teachers to consider when developing classroom assessments.


Defining and Enhancing Formative Assessment

This paper by Dr. James Popham proposes a definition for formative assessment and discusses issues impacting its effectiveness. It was prepared for presentation at the October 10-13, 2006, meeting of the Formative Assessment for Students and Teachers subgroup of the Council of Chief State School Officers' (CCSSO's) State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards held in Austin, Texas.


Designing High Quality Assessments

Developed by Education Northwest, formerly the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, Toolkit98 is designed to assist classroom teachers to become better assessors of student learning. Chapter 3 addresses Designing High Quality Assessments. This chapter reviews design options and quality considerations.

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