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 3: Identify Necessary Accommodation(s) and Timing


Guideline: In many instances, students with special needs and English language learners require accommodation to participate in assessments. The assessment process provides feedback for the teacher, student, and parent. As such, the teacher should ensure these students are able to participate in each assessment. If needed, the teacher should seek assistance from colleagues and district staff members having expertise with special needs students and English language learners.

Accommodations from the Student's Perspective

This tool from the Council of Chief State School Officers' Accommodations Manual: How to Select, Administer, and Evaluate Use of Accommodations for Instruction and Assessment of Students with Disabilities assists teachers with assessing accommodations from the student's perspective.


Assess Needs that May Require Accommodations

This tool for assessing needs that may require accommmodations is from the Council of Chief State School Officers' Accommodations Manual: How to Select, Administer, and Evaluate Use of Accommodations for Instruction and Assessment of Students with Disabilities.


Assessment Tests - Improving Accessibility

This document from the Council of Chief State School Officers' publication, Ensuring Accuracy in Testing For English Language Learners, identifies nine elements to consider when writing accessible assessment items.

Leveling the Playing Field for English Language Learners: Increasing Participation in State and Local Assessments through Accommodations

This resource from the former Region III Comprehensive Center provides practical guidance for using test preparation strategies with English language learner students as a form of accommodation for standardized tests.

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