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

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

Task 1: Make Adjustments to Content Emphasis and Curriculum

Guideline: Formative assessments enable teachers to adjust instruction to ensure students are grasping the subject matter and concepts presented. After analyzing assessment results, teachers can use those findings to make necessary adjustments in content emphasis and/or how to deliver curriculum.

Assessment, Evaluation, and Curriculum Redesign

This online workshop is part of Concept to Classroom, a series of award-winning professional development workshops developed by Thirteen Ed Online. As noted at its website, "This workshop is intended to help the classroom teacher rethink, and perhaps redesign, how they plan their classes. In an assessment-focused classroom, the role of the teacher shifts to planning the curriculum with a vision of what he/she intends all students to achieve. Likewise, the role of the student changes in assessment-focused classrooms as they now have a good idea of what they are expected to accomplish and how they can demonstrate their knowledge."

Examining Classroom Assignments and Assessments

This Maryland Department of Education online workshop explains how to examine assessments and assignments for good alignment with content standards indicators and appropriate rigor. Though oriented toward the Maryland state assessment system, the content may be useful for all teachers.

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.

Looking Collaboratively at Student and Teacher Work

From Turning Points, "this guide provides six protocols, structured formats that will help a school community engage in the process of collaboratively analyzing and discussing teacher and student work."

Professional Collaboration to Improve Teacher and Student Work

This Turning Points publication presents a series of brief stories with examples of teachers interacting to improve their instruction and students' work.

Center for Collaborative Education

Why PLC?

CCE Publications

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