Assessment for Instruction

Making assessment effective and purposful for our students

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Main Discussion

What is Assessment?

Assessment in a Nutshell

Assessment is a tool to help guide my teaching! It is a way for me to measure what my students are understanding and and what they are not. Simple as that.

We use Assessment to determine:

  • Overall development
  • Readiness
  • Progress in a program
  • Program effectiveness
  • Children at risk

Assessment should be:

  • Purposeful
  • Flexible
  • Adaptable
  • Multidisiplinary

Kinds of Assessments

  • Formal (Academic readiness, developmental, diagnostic) = Standardized Tests
  • Informal (Performance, checklists, anecdotal notes)
  • Formative - During learning while modifications can still be made
  • Summative - After an educational experience

Why do we Assess our Students?

  1. To find out how much students understand the material
  2. Compare students across the board
  3. So we can measure students’ achievement
  4. In order to assign students a grade
  5. So that students can have something to take away with them at the end
  6. To ensure that students have achieved certain standards and core knowledge
  7. To ensure that the course is recognised by external organisations/professional bodies etc.
  8. To maintain quality and standards
  9. Because we have to
  10. As a way of monitoring our teaching
  11. So we can identify areas where students need further guidance/support
  12. So we can give students feedback and help them improve
  13. To help students to monitor their own progress
  14. To encourage students to learn

Types of Assessments

Formative Assessment: This type of assessment is always ongoing and occurs during a topic, unit or lesson. Formative assessment offers the teacher time to change teaching strategy right in the middle of teaching before any gaps in learning can occur. Examples of Formative Assessments are: a very interactive class discussion; a warm-up, closure, or exit slip; a on-the-spot performance; a quiz.

Summative Assessment: This type of assessment comes after the learning has already taken place at the end of a unit or year. Examples of Summative Assessments are: Standardized testing, Final exams; Major cumulative projects, research projects, unit tests and performances.

Self-Assessments: These types of assessments are for students to rate themselves and assess how they feel they are doing. These are obviously subjective and many not alway be reliable, however it is healthy for students to occastionally rate their own academic performance.

Interim Assessments: These assessments take place over a longer period of time and similar to formative, offer students feedback on their score with the added ability to improve their work thereby developing mastery. Examples of Interim Assessments are: Rubrics, Chapter tests, essays, and projects.

Rubrics: This type of assessment can be teacher created, created online and student-created. This syle of assessment allows students to know what is expected of them prior to working on a project. It also puts more of the responsibility on the student for the final outcome.

Skills-Based Intuitive Assessments: These types of tests are administered via computer and cannot be prepared for in the classroom. They are skills-based and measure skills rather than information. These assessments are intuitive, meaning that they change according to how the student is doing at that moment. If the student is scoring well on every question, the program will begin to add in more challenging questions. These tests do not go according to grade level and are used mostly to track student performance gains across an entire year or even several years. Examples of Skills-based Assessments are: MAP (measures of academic progress) testing program by NWEA and SuccessMaker by Pearson Group

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How do we use the Results?

We can use assessments to:

  • Inform our teaching
  • Indentify gaps in learning
  • Identify if there are any special needs
  • Compare students
  • Measure student progress
  • Change curriculum
  • Motivate students

Authentic Assessment - What's the Point?

Authentic Assessment

Authentic assessment can include many of the following:

  • Observation
  • Essays
  • Interviews
  • Performance tasks
  • Exhibitions and demonstrations
  • Portfolios
  • Journals
  • Teacher-created tests
  • Rubrics
  • Self- and peer-evaluation

Quantitative Information vs. Qualitative Information

Gathering information can happen in a multitude of ways. These ways can be separated into 2 main processes: Quantitative and Qualitative

  • Quantitative tells you "what" - True/False, multiple choice , surveys that show comparisons, progress, and statistics. These results are expressed in numbers.

  • Qualitative tells you "why" - Open-ended questioning, discussions, focus groups, interviews that express motives, opinions, feelings, or relationships. These results are expressed in observations and explanations about more complex topics.

When using these methods to assess, both have components that the other does not. It is best to try to incorporate both tools to bring forth the best results and to obtain the clearset picture of a student's understanding and grasp of the material.

Online Assessment Resources


Teachers: Create a simple assessment using rubistar or an online quiz maker that coinsides with a lesson you are currently teaching. Email it to me for feedback and information.

Assessment Needs Survey

Please take a few moments to fill out the following survey so that I can better facilitate your needs as a classroom teacher when it comes to assessing your students. If there is anything else you think I should know about your assessment practices, please include it at the end of the survey.

Thank you,


April Wells

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.