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Standard 5 - Assessing Students for Learning

Teachers apply knowledge of the purposes, characteristics, and uses of different types of assessments. They collect and analyze assessment data from a variety of sources and use those data to inform instruction. They review data, both individually and with colleagues, to monitor student learning. Teachers use assessment data to establish learning goals and to plan, differentiate, and modify instruction. They involve all students in self-assessment, goal setting and monitoring progress. Teachers use available technologies to assist in assessment, analysis, and communication of student learning. They use assessment information to share timely and comprehensible feedback with students and their families.

5.1 - Applying knowledge of the purposes, characteristics, and uses of different types of Assessments

As teachers develop, they may ask, “How do I…” or “Why do I…”

  • become knowledgeable of the different types of assessments--and their uses, benefits, and limitations--that I draw on to inform my instruction?
  • select assessment strategies and instruments appropriate to the learning outcomes being evaluated?
  • use my knowledge of assessment concepts such as validity, reliability, and bias to choose assessments appropriate to my students?
  • design grading practices that draw on multiple sources of information and reflect student learning?

Examples and Resources


Formative Assessments

Formative assessments are ongoing assessments, reviews, and observations in a classroom. Teachers use formative assessment to improve instructional methods and student feedback throughout the teaching and learning process. Examples include quizzes, discussions, and exit tickets.

Example: During a lesson on fractions, a teacher uses quick quizzes and exit tickets to gauge students’ understanding and adjust instruction accordingly.

Resource: Formative Assessment Strategies


Summative Assessments

Summative assessments evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional period by comparing it against some standard or benchmark. Examples include final exams, end-of-unit tests, and standardized tests.

Example: At the end of a semester, a teacher gives a comprehensive test covering all topics discussed in the term.

Resource: Summative Assessments Overview


Diagnostic Assessments

Diagnostic assessments are pre-assessments providing instructors with information about students’ prior knowledge before beginning a learning activity. They help identify student strengths and areas for improvement.

Example: Before starting a new math unit, the teacher administers a diagnostic test to determine students’ existing knowledge.

Resource: Understanding Diagnostic Assessment


Performance Assessments

Performance assessments require students to perform a task rather than select an answer from a ready-made list. They assess higher-order thinking skills and the application of knowledge.

Example: In a science class, students conduct an experiment and present their findings as a performance assessment.

Resource: Performance-Based Assessment


Self-Assessment and Peer Assessment

Self-assessment involves students assessing their own work and learning progress. Peer assessment involves students evaluating each other’s work.

Example: After completing a project, students use a rubric to assess their own work and provide feedback to peers.

Resource: Self and Peer Assessment Techniques


Become Knowledgeable of Different Types of Assessments

Understanding the variety of assessments available and their specific applications is crucial for effective teaching. This includes formative, summative, diagnostic, and performance assessments, each serving unique purposes in the learning process.

Example: A teacher takes a professional development course on assessment strategies to better understand when and how to use different types of assessments.

Resource: Types of Assessment: A Comprehensive Guide


Select Assessment Strategies and Instruments Appropriate to Learning Outcomes

Selecting appropriate assessments requires aligning them with learning objectives. Teachers must ensure that assessments are valid (measuring what they are supposed to measure) and reliable (producing consistent results).

Example: For a unit on persuasive writing, a teacher uses a rubric to assess students’ essays, ensuring alignment with the learning objectives of argument structure, evidence, and writing mechanics.

Resource: Aligning Assessments with Learning Objectives


Use Knowledge of Assessment Concepts such as Validity, Reliability, and Bias

Teachers need to understand these key concepts to select and design fair and effective assessments.

Example: A teacher reviews assessment items for cultural bias and modifies them to ensure all students can understand and respond appropriately.

Resource: Validity and Reliability in Assessment


Design Grading Practices that Reflect Student Learning

Grading practices should incorporate various assessment data and reflect a comprehensive picture of student learning.

Example: A teacher uses a combination of quizzes, projects, and class participation to determine students’ grades, rather than relying solely on tests.

Resource: Effective Grading Practices


Web Resources for Teachers

1. Edutopia - Assessment: Comprehensive articles and resources on various assessment strategies.

Edutopia Assessment

2. Carnegie Mellon University - Eberly Center: Detailed guides on aligning assessments with learning objectives and understanding assessment basics.

CMU Eberly Center

3. The Glossary of Education Reform: Definitions and explanations of key assessment terms and practices.

Glossary of Education Reform

4. TeachThought - Assessment: Insights and strategies for both formative and summative assessments.

TeachThought Assessment

By applying these principles and utilizing these resources, teachers can effectively assess student learning, adapt instruction, and foster a productive learning environment.


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