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Formative Assessments . How will we know if they learned it?. The power of common assessments: Schools with the greatest improvements in student achievement consistently used common assessments. D Reeves What are common assessments?

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how will we know if they learned it
How will we know if they learned it?

The power of common assessments:

Schools with the greatest improvements in student achievement consistently used common assessments. D Reeves

What are common assessments?

Not standardized tests, but rather teacher created, teacher owned assessments that are collaboratively scored and that provide immediate feedback to students and teachers.

D Reeves

assessment terminology
Assessment Terminology


  • Assessment of learning
  • Assessment of unit, quarter, semester, grade level, or course study
  • Provides status report on degree of student proficiency or mastery relative to targeted standards
  • Answers question: Have students achieved the goals defined by a given standard or group of standards?
common formative
Common Formative
  • Assessment for Learning given to all students in a grade level or course several a times during semester, trimester or year.
  • Design as matching pre and post assessments to ensure same assessment to same assessment comparison of student growth.
  • Diagnostic: intended to be used as a guide to improve teaching and learning
  • Items collectively designed by participating teachers
  • Items should represent priority standards only
  • Results analyzed in data teams in order to differentiate instruction
  • Provides information for instructional planning and delivery
  • Similar in design and format to district and state assessments
formative assessment research
Formative Assessment Research
  • Research suggests that if done well, genuine “assessments for learning” can produce among the largest achievement gains ever reported for educational interventions.Education Week May 2, 2007 p.22
  • In other words, formative assessment, effectively implemented, can do as much or more to improve student achievement than any type of the most powerful instructional interventions (such as) intensive reading instruction, one on one tutoring and the like.L Darling-Hammond and J Branford, Preparing Teachers for a Changing World, 2005, p277.
formative assessment research6
Formative Assessment Research
  • In reviewing 250 studies from around the world, published between 1987 and 1998, we found that a focus by teachers on assessment for learning, as opposed to assessment of learning, produced a substantial increase in students’ achievement. Black and Wiliam, Assessment and Classroom Learning, Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy, and Practice. 1998, pp 7-73
formative assessment research7
Formative Assessment Research
  • Reviews of research in this area by Natriello (1987) and Crooks ( 1988) were updated by Black and Wiliam (1998)who concluded that regular use of classroom formative assessment would raise student achievement by 0.4 to 0.7 standard deviations – enough to raise the United States to the top five in international rankings.

Wiliam, content Then Process: Teaching Learning communities in the Service of Formative Assessment, Unpublished Manuscript, 2007

criteria for formative assessments
Criteria for Formative Assessments

1. Identify the four to five power indicators to assess, they represent the big idea of your units.

2. Design a minimum of 4 questions for each power indicator for students to demonstrate their understanding of the key concepts.

  • Item response
  • Constructed response
  • Extended response

3. Limit the total number of items

4. Design scoring guides and rubrics


10 Steps for Designing Common Formative Assessments

Laying the standards foundations Steps 1-6

  • Choose important topic
  • Identify matching priority standards
  • Unwrap matching priority standards
  • Create a graphic organizer (New Bloom)
  • Determine the big ideas
  • Write the essential questions

Creating the assessments steps 7-10

7. Write selected response items

8. Write constructed response items (extended or short)

9. Write essential question – big idea directions

10. Create scoring guides for constructed items

where to start
Where to start
  • Determine purpose of the assessment
  • Select assessment types – consider what students are demonstrating understanding of
  • Write first draft items
  • Create answer keys and scoring guides
  • Review and revise common assessment items
assessment is inference making
Assessment is Inference Making
  • Teachers use assessment information and results to reach instructional decisions
  • The purpose of the formative assessment is to evaluate your students’ understanding of the power standards
  • What kind of assessment will provide the best evidence as to whether students have met this singular purpose.
general guide for effective item writing
General Guide for Effective Item Writing
  • Reflect higher order instructional objectives
  • Students should not be able to answer solely from memory – must apply knowledge not just recall
  • Be clear and brief
  • Include correct standard terminology
selected response
Selected response
  • Students select from a provided list
  • Types include: multiple choice, true or false, matching, fill in blank
  • Criteria
    • Ask a question with only one best answer
    • Eliminate clues leading to correct answer
    • Avoid choices that are obviously wrong
constructed response
Constructed Response
  • Includes short and extended response
  • Students will demonstrate through writing, speaking, or performance their integrated understanding of the “unwrapped” concepts and skills
  • Link to Bloom’s levels
    • Level 4 – Draw; inferences, conclusions, generalizations
    • Level 5 - Support; inferences, conclusions, with text evidence, prior knowledge
  • May ask students to respond in writing to your essential questions with their own big ideas.
  • Ask students to explain their thinking using the unwrapped concept vocabulary terms
  • Requires a rubric for scoring
value of pre assessment
Value of Pre-Assessment
  • Pre-assessments decide where to aim early instruction
  • Pre-assessments indicate what sorts of skills, knowledge, or attitudes student have or do not have
  • Pre-assessments determine enabling sub skills necessary for the unit
design matching assessments
Design matching Assessments
  • A pretest/post-test design provides a matching set of bookend assessments that are either the same or alternate forms of the same assessment
  • The improvement between the pre and post assessment constitutes credible evidence of learning
designing a rubric
Designing a rubric
  • Do proficient first and than exemplary
  • Proficient - States answer choice provides 3 reasons for answer choice supports each reason with examples from text, writes one or more paragraphs
  • Exemplary -all of the proficient plus includes reasons why one choice is better than another includes real life connections in support it was the expectation for success was with over and above work
    • Meets two or three