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

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

Task 1: Review Results for Student Strengths and Weaknesses

Guideline: The aim of formative assessment is to assess student strengths and weaknesses in relation to understanding subject content and concepts. Identifying individual strengths and weaknesses is necessary to provide useful feedback to each student.

Examining Student Work

This Maryland Department of Education online workshop reviews how to plan an examination of student work and lead a team through the process. Its focus is on teachers collaborating to examine student work. Though oriented toward the Maryland state assessment system, the content may be useful for all teachers.

Using Classroom Assessment Data

This document highlights Chapter 5: Using Classroom Assessment Data of Assessment for the Diverse Classroom: A Handbook for Teachers from the Florida Department of Education. Though oriented toward exceptional students, the concepts addressed are useful for teachers to apply in general.

Consensus Scoring and Peer Planning

This article authored by Douglas Fisher, Diane Lapp, and James Flood, describes how teachers can "work together improve their understanding of content and performance standards, collaborate to assess student work, work together to plan instruction, and re-teach content as necessary."

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