Designing assessments for learning rather than of learning
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Designing Assessments for Learning (rather than of learning) . EDC448 Dr. Julie Coiro. Today’s Objectives: You will be able to. Differentiate between a learning objective and an educational standard and identify/generate examples of each

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Designing Assessments for Learning (rather than of learning)

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Designing Assessments for Learning(rather than of learning)


Dr. Julie Coiro

Today’s Objectives: You will be able to

  • Differentiate between a learning objective and an educational standard and identify/generate examples of each

  • Identify the characteristics of a holistic and analytic rubric scoring system

  • Discuss the benefits and the impact of a well-designed/well-defined assignment and companion rubric

Standards Vs. Objectives

  • Educational Standard: defines the knowledge and skills students should possess at critical points in their educational career (e.g., at each grade level); provides common expectations for all students to measure up to these standards

  • Learning Objective: a detailed description that states the expected change in student learning, how the change will be demonstrated, and the expected level of change as a result of a specific course of instruction

Are Standards A Curriculum?

  • Curriculum: Scripted day-to-day lesson plans that include your learning objectives; materials for measuring performance of those objectives; links to learning standards; teaching practices; and key learning experiences students will engage in

  • Recently, the Common Core Standards has raised red flags for some who fear the entire curriculum is being mandated

Each discipline has a professional set of standards

  • ELA: National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)

  • History: National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS); C3 Framework (College, Career, & Civic Life)

  • Science: Next Generation Science Standards

  • For. Lang: Standards for Foreign Language Learning

Common Core State Standardsin English Language Arts, History/Social Studies, Science & Technical Subjects

  • Literature; Informational Text; Literacy in History/Soc Studies; Literacy in Science & Technical Subjects

    • Key ideas & details; Craft & structure; Integration of knowledge & ideas; Complex texts at grade level

  • Writing:

    • Texts and Purposes: Write arguments with sound reasoning & evidence; write informative/explanatory texts

    • Produce & Distribute (with both traditional & digital tools)

  • Speaking and Listening:

    • Comprehension and Collaboration (solve problems in groups)

    • Presentation of knowledge and ideas (transfer to new problems)

  • Language(Conventions, Use, and Vocabulary)

Which is which? And why?(educational standard vs. learning objective)


  • Using a graphic organizer and working in groups, students will be able to make inferences about the symbols found in Lord of the Flies.

  • Students will determine the meaning of words as they are used in the text including figurative & connotative meanings

Which is which? And why?(educational standard vs. learning objective)


  • Students will analyze and interpret individual texts, citing evidence as appropriate by explaining connects about information within a text, across texts, or to related ideas.

  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of how individuals and groups exercise (or are denied) their rights and responsibilities by identifying and explaining how an action taken by an individual or groups impacts the rights of others.

  • Students will evaluate the impact of Andrew Jackson’s passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 on the Cherokee Indians.

Which is which? And why?(educational standard vs. learning objective)


  • After reading The Great Kapok Tree, students will discuss in small groups examples from the book that illustrate the different ways that deforestation affects the environment.

  • Students will cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of descriptions.

  • Students demonstrate an understanding of how humans are affected by environmental factors by provide an explanation of how the human species impacts the environment and other organisms.

Your turn…Craft a relevant learning objective that addresses these standards

  • CCSS: Students determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another.

  • History:

  • Language Arts:

  • Foreign Language:

  • CCSS: Students translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words into visual form (e.g., a table or chart)

  • Science:

  • Math:

Part 2: Standards or Objectives?

Identify the characteristics of a holistic and analytic rubric scoring system

Discuss the benefits and the impact of a well-designed/well-defined assignment and companion rubric

What is a rubric?

  • A scoring guide that seeks to evaluate a student’s performance based on the sum of a full range of criteria rather than a single numerical scores

  • A working guide handed out BEFORE the assignment begins to enhance quality of student’s work and teacher’s instruction

  • Expectations vary according to one’s level of expertise (along a continuum of sorts)

Evaluating Chocolate Chip Cookies


High Medium Low






You get to determine which quality level is “passing”.

Evaluating Fictional Writing

Is this an ANALYTIC rubric or a HOLISTIC rubric? Why?

Analytic vs. Holistic Rubrics

  • Analytic rubrics identify and assess components of a finished product.

  • Holistic rubrics assess student work as a whole

    • Holistic rubrics are sometimes easier to provide a “big picture” while extra detail of analytic rubrics helps guide instruction in each component and increases consistency among multiple-scorers (many teachers)

Holistic Rubric

How do rubrics shape learning (and quality of products)?

  • Grade 7: Data Collection Project vs. “Make a campaign poster” Project

  • Better Examples (see handouts)

  • Friedman (2000) - staff study groups for enhancing student performance in reading and writing in the content area by revising the assignment prompts/directions & rubrics

    • Writing in Science: Solar System

    • Writing in Social Studies: Colonial America

Design a poster that includes an important message from one of the presidential candidates and include a carefully drawn visual.

The project that “failed”

  • needs more color

  • no “statistics”

  • no particular issue (of the 3 selected)

Friedman (2000) Initial Assignment: Science

  • The sun is one of the most important stars in the solar system. How does the sun affect our lives and how would the lives of people in the future change if the sun suddenly disappeared?

  • Students helped develop initial rubric, teachers modeled and reflected as wrote draft with students > revised 4 times to improve!

  • Students were involved in rating as well.

Designing a Rubric for Writing in Science

  • Rubric elements:

    • Note score on each part (Excellent, good, just passing, and not acceptable)

    • Analytic components

      • Content

        • Background information -- Thesis Statement

        • Supporting Paragraph(s) -- Conclusion

      • Organization

      • Mechanics

Revising the Assignment: History

  • Prompt: Colonial America: How were people dependent on one another for survival?

  • The teachers had specific expectations, but even the most sophisticated writers had difficulty creating the desired response

  • So…they restructured the content-focused prompt to provide clear expectations and encourage them to tell what they learned

How would you restructure the prompt?

The Revised Prompt

Comparing the Ratings from Prompt 1 to Prompt 2

So…how does your own assessment prompt and the companion rubric compare? Could either be more precise in eliciting the knowledge/behaviors you want?


  • Finish your lesson plan

  • Make sure all the materials are included

  • Complete the cover sheet checklist (both sides) and attach to the front

  • See APA format links for ideas – we’ll cover more about APA on Thursday

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