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 2: Formulate Adjustments to Instructional Delivery

Guideline: Assessment results can guide teachers in formulating adjustments to instructional delivery. When formulating these adjustments, teachers should keep in mind that a number of approaches may be needed to help each student achieve lesson objectives. Formulating adjustments may reveal patterns that can be used to improve overall instructional delivery.

Academic Vocabulary

This link is to the Tennessee Department of Education's academic vocabulary initiative. As noted at its website, "The goal of this project is to provide teachers a list of common terms or phrases aimed at improving vocabulary development of students in Tennessee." Though developed for use by Tennessee teachers, other teachers may find this content helpful with enhancing vocabulary instruction.

Building Academic Vocabulary

This link is to the Oklahoma State Department of Education's academic vocabulary initiative. As noted at its website, "This manual is designed to help school districts or individual schools systematically enhance the academic vocabulary of their students to better prepare them to learn new content in mathematics, science, language arts, and social studies."

Differentiated Instruction

This link to the National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials website offers an overview of differentiated instruction.

Differentiating Instruction

Authored by Scott Willis and Larry Mann, this article describes how differentiated instruction provides manageable ways to meet individual student needs.

Using Assessment Results to Plan Instruction

Developed with funding from The Meadows Foundation and the Texas Education Agency, Effective Instruction for Middle School Students with Reading Difficulties: The Reading Teacher's Sourcebook offers middle school reading teachers an overview of research-based instructional approaches for teaching struggling readers. Chapter Three: Using Assessment Results to Plan Instruction offers gudiance for teachers on how to adjust their instruction to respond to the needs identified by the assessment outcomes.

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