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Creating Common Assessments

Why talk about assessment?.

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Creating Common Assessments

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Creating common assessments

Creating Common Assessments

Submitted by LyneeTourdot

Why talk about assessment

Why talk about assessment?

“You can enhance or destroy students’ desire to succeed in school more quickly and permanently through your use of assessment than with any other tools”

  • Rick Stiggins, ETS

What makes a difference at the classroom level

What makes a difference at the classroom level?

The teacher (assessment being a big part of what makes a good teacher)

  • Milwaukee Reading Study

  • Several studies with same socioeconomic population; one teacher 27% pass state test, another 72% (Marzano, 2003)

  • 5 years of above-average teaching in a row could eliminate the achievement gap (Kain&Hanushek, in Haycock, 2005)

At your table, share an assessment experience that either happened to you or someone close to you (good or bad)

Objectives for today

Objectives for Today

  • Overview of Assessments

    • Formative, Summative, Common and Pre-Assessment

    • Brief Intro to Marzano’s 6 Vocab Steps

      ELL, Low Readers (High Readers)

  • What is a Common Assessment?

    • How to create a Common Assessment

Quick review of assessment terms

Quick Review of Assessment Terms:

  • (Use some of the Marzano Strategies)

  • Pre-Assessment

  • Formative Assessment

  • Feedback

  • Summative Assessment

  • Common Assessment

  • Essential Learning

  • Side Note

    • Marzano—6 Steps to Teaching Vocabulary (so students will remember)

      • Provide description or explanation (not definition)

      • Have students restate in their own words

      • Have students construct a picture, symbol or graphic representation of the term

      • Engage students in activities to help them add to their knowledge of the terms

      • Involve students in games to help them remember the terms.*

Pre assessments


  • How do I get into the mind of the student to figure out what they already know about what I am going to teach?

Pre assessments1


How do we use pre-assessments?

  • Given to all students

  • Used to adjust instruction based on what students know.

Pre assessments2



  • Small Group discussion based on a question

    • “What do you think caused the Civil War?”

  • A Pre-test

    • Try this problem: 2½+3¾

  • A KWL

    • What do you Know?, Want to Know? (What you learned comes later)

  • List everything you know about training within your heart rate. What questions do you have about training within your heart rate?

Fill out vocabulary sheet

Fill out Vocabulary Sheet

  • Pre-Assessment

    • Description in your own words

    • Picture to remind you of the meaning

      What are some Pre-Assessments that you use, or could use for the unit/topic you are working on?

Formative assessments

Formative Assessments

Like a

Medical Checkup

Formative assessments1

Formative Assessments

Other Names for Formative Assessment

  • Assessment FOR Learning

  • Ongoing Assessments

Formative assessments2

Formative Assessments

Some examples COULD BE: (if used for giving feedback and adjusting instruction)

  • Guided practice, or homework**

  • exit slips

  • using a white board to assess understanding

  • quizzes

  • thumbs up, sideways or down

  • think alouds

  • feedback given for revision on assignments, etc.

  • These do NOT have to be graded.

Formative assessments3

Formative Assessments

How are they used?

  • Adjust instruction

  • Address misconceptions or misunderstandings

  • Give feedback

Effective feedback and monitoring progress

Effective Feedback and Monitoring Progress

  • What is effective feedback?

    • Helps student to make improvements

    • Makes the student think

    • Is specific—rather than “good job”

      “Practice does not make perfect unless it provides the opportunity for feedback” (Darling-Hammond, 2005)


Scores none top-positive


Comments 30% all—positive

What do you think happened for the students who were given BOTH scores and comments by the teacher?

Kinds of feedback: Israel-264 grade 6 students in 12 classes in 4 schools; analysis of 132 students at the top and bottom of each class-Same teaching, same aim, same teachers, same coursework-Three kinds of feedback: scores, comments, scores and comments

Feedback gain attitude scores none top positive bottom negative comments 30 all positive

FeedbackGainAttitudeScores none top-positive bottom-negativeComments 30% all—positive

What do you think happened for the students who were given both scores and comments by the teacher?

  • Gain: 30% Attitude: All positive

  • Gain: 30% Attitude: top—positive, bottom—negative

  • Gain: 0% Attitude: All—positive

  • Gain: 0% Attitude: top—positive, bottom—negative

  • Something else.

    ETS, 2005, from Butler (1988) British Journal of Educational Psychology, 58, 1-14

Formative assessments4

Formative Assessments

William (1998) found that focused efforts to improve formative assessments produced learning gains greater than one-half standard deviation, which would be equivalent to raising the score of an average student from the 50th percentile (average) to the 85th percentile.

In other words, formative assessment, effectively implemented, can do as much or more to improve student achievement than any of the most powerful instructional interventions, intensive reading instruction, one-on-one tutoring, and the like.

(as cited in Darling-Hammond, 2005)

Fill out vocabulary sheet1

Fill out Vocabulary Sheet

  • Formative Assessment

    • Description in your own words

    • Picture to remind you of the meaning

  • Feedback

    • Description in your own words

    • Picture to remind you of the meaning

      What are some Formative Assessments that you use, or could use for the unit/topic you are working on?

Summative assessments

Summative Assessments:

Like an


Summative assessments1

Summative Assessments:

Other Names for Summative Assessment

  • Assessment OF Learning

  • Final exam, final project, final assessment

Summative assessments2

Summative Assessments:

How are they used?

  • End of the unit/topic, or at an end point within the unit or topic.

  • Feedback for the next time you teach it—not usually going back to re-teach.

  • Make sure the assessment matches your ESSENTIAL Learning

    • What do you really want kids to learn?

    • Book tests don’t often do this.

Summative assessments3

Summative Assessments

Types of Summative Assessment:

  • Final Written Exams/Tests (but they don’t all have to be like this!)

  • Open-ended questions (see Kathie Nunley’s book on Layered Curriculum)

  • Projects

  • Choice of activities or projects, etc.

  • Debate

  • Role-play a scenario (SEPUP Science)

  • Multi-genre research

Fill out vocabulary sheet2

Fill out Vocabulary Sheet

  • Summative Assessment

    • Description in your own words

    • Picture to remind you of the meaning

      What are some Summative Assessments that you use, or could use for the unit/topic you are working on?

Why do we need assessments to be common

Why do we need assessments to be “common”?

Answer these questions in your group

Answer these questions in your group:


  • What are common assessments?

  • How are they different from giving the same test at the end of the unit (summative assessment)?

    (Choose a person to report out from your group)

Common assessments

Common Assessments

Common assessments1

Common Assessments


  • Can be formative or summative

  • Based on Essential Learning

  • Used for grade level or content teams to look at student work, check for understanding, and share instructional strategies to improve student learning

  • (So much morethan the end of unit book test!)

Let s try it

Let’s try it…

Fill out vocabulary sheet3

Fill out Vocabulary Sheet

  • Common Assessment

    • Description in your own words

    • Picture to remind you of the meaning

      What is a Common Assessment that you use, or could use for the unit/topic you are working on?

So why are common assessments important

So why are Common Assessments Important?

Choose One--What has the biggest impact on student achievement at a school-wide level? (Marzano Research)

1. Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum

2. High Expectations of Student Achievement

3. Effective Feedback and Monitoring Progress

The answer

The Answer:

#1—Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum*

#2--High Expectations of Student Achievement


#2 Effective Feedback and Monitoring Progress*

*(Related to Common Assessments)

What is a guaranteed curriculum

What is a Guaranteed Curriculum?

  • Opportunity to Learn (Guaranteed to be taught)

    • Intended Curriculum (standards/curric. maps)

    • Implemented Curriculum (actually taught)

What are some ways to make sure intended curriculum is taught

What are some ways to make sure intended curriculum is taught?

  • Make sure essential learning is clearly identified

  • Use the same assessments

  • Grade student work together to clearly identify desired outcomes

  • Have frequent discussions about instruction related to student results

What is a viable curriculum

What is a Viable Curriculum?

  • Viable Curriculum

    • Identify the Essential Learning

    • ….if we taught all of the standards it would take more than 22 years….

Essential learning

Essential Learning

  • What do you really want students to know and be able to do?

  • What would you want them to remember about the unit 5 years from now?


    Civil War: What is most essential to remember?

    Dates, Times, Battles?

    or Causes of Conflict leading to the Civil War?

Within your group

Within your group…

  • Think about the unit/topic that you brought with you today

    Without discussion…

  • Write down the 3 most “essential learnings” that should be taught in that unit/topic.

  • Share the three priorities in your group

  • Try to come to an agreement in your group on the three “essential learnings”

  • Record them on the top of the Learning Plan Sheet

Fill out vocabulary sheet4

Fill out Vocabulary Sheet

  • Essential Learning

    • Description in your own words

    • Picture to remind you of the meaning

      What is the Essential Learning for the unit/topic you are working on?

Review of vocabulary

Review of Vocabulary

  • Pick a partner at your table

  • One of you sit with your back to the front

  • Pre-Assessment

  • Feedback

  • Summative Assessment

  • Essential Learning

  • Common Assessment

  • Formative Assessment

Choose one of the essential learnings

Choose one of the Essential Learnings

(Summative Assessment)*VIDEO

  • Discuss in your group

    You are all done teaching that

    essential learning….

    • What will it look like when a student

      understands that essential learning?

    • How will the essential learning

      be assessed?* Examples…

      Try one together…

      Then in your group…

In what ways can i check for understanding along the way

In what ways can I check for understanding along the way?

  • (Formative Assessment)

  • What are the natural check points?

  • How will I assess understanding of the essential learning while teaching the unit?

  • What type of assessment makes sense?

  • You will do other formative assessments that are not Common Assessments

Steps to creating a common assessment

Steps to Creating a Common Assessment

Team Process:

  • Determine the Essential Learning for the unit you will be teaching

  • Determine the BEST way to assess the Essential Learning

  • Determine the criterion for the assessment

  • How will students be given the criterion? It should be NO SECRET

  • Use the Assessment to Refine, Rework, Revise and Re-teach

  • Meet as a group to assess student work

Other thoughts

Other Thoughts…

  • Backward Design (Understanding by Design)

  • Take Small Steps

  • Get students involved

  • Show SAMPLES!

  • Collaborate on Student Assessments!