Classroom Assessment KnowledgeBase

The Classroom Assessment KnowledgeBase is an online resource for state departments of education to use as part of their professional development efforts with districts and schools. Organized around five elements, it brings together concepts, how-to guidance, tools, and resources about classroom assessment.

Element 1: Determine the Goals of the Formative Assessment

Purpose: Developing effective formative assessments begins with an understanding of the fundamentals. These include being knowledgeable about the basic concepts, being able to define "formative," and establishing goals and objectives for formative assessments. Element 1 outlines these tasks and offers resources for the classroom teacher to gain such understanding.

Activity 1: Understand the Basic Concepts of Formative Assessment

Activity 2: Define Formative Assessment

Activity 3: Determine the Objectives for the Assessment

Task 1: Identify Available Pre-existing Assessments


Guideline: There are a number of pre-existing assessment instruments available for teachers to use. The challenge lies in identifying the instuments useful for a teacher's assessment purpose. Having an approach to identify and properly evaluate useful pre-existing formative assessments is imperative.

Commercially Available Assessments

This list of commercially available assessments is provided for informational purposes. The Center has neither reviewed nor endorses the assessments listed or the organizations offering them.


Kansas Assessment Program Management Tool

This link is to the Kansas Assessment Program Management Tool. As noted at its website, the "KCA TestBuilder is a free online tool that allows teachers to prepare for the state-mandated Kansas Assessments. Using the same KCA testing engine that is used for the Kansas Assessments, teachers can create and administer their own standards-based formative practice tests in a secure online environment." While specific to Kansas, it is offered as an example of what a state might do to support formative assessment.

Curriculum-based Measurement in Mathemtics: An Evidence-based Formative Assessment Procedure

This link is to a Center on Instruction report on M-CBM (Mathematics Curriculum-based Measurement). As noted at its website, the report provides "a brief history, basic procedures, implications for practice, and further resources. It also reviews the research that supports the use of M-CBM."

Element 2: Design or Select the Assessment

Purpose: Assessments used in the classroom can be designed locally by teachers or selected from any number of commercial or other professional sources. Regardless of an assessment's origin, teachers must first plan what they intend to accomplish with the assessment. Upon doing so, they can determine whether a pre-existing or new assessment will best meet their needs.

Activity 1: Plan the Assessment

Activity 2: Evaluate Pre-existing Assessments

Activity 3: Develop Own Assessment

Element 3: Administer the Assessment

Purpose: Administering assessments includes conducting and scoring. Conducting the assessment addresses the when, where, and how of doing so. Scoring the assessment focuses on the scoring rubric, determining individual scores, and analyzing the results. Both are essential parts of administering the assessment.

Activity 1: Conduct the Assessment

Activity 2: Score the Assessment

Element 4: Understand and Interpret the Assessment Results

Purpose: When used properly, assessment results enhance instruction. It is incumbent upon teachers to understand, know how to interpret, and explain the results effectively to their students, parents, and other district and school staff members.

Activity 1: Produce and Review Assessment Results

Activity 2: Inform and Collect Feedback from Constituencies

Element 5: Make Adjustments in Instruction and Assessment

Purpose: Good assessments provide the basis for making adjustments in instruction as well as future assessments. Assessment results show teachers where changes need to be made in instructional approaches for groups of students or individual students. The assessment outcomes also show students what they need to do to improve their learning. Changes to instruction based on assessment results complete the learning cycle.

Activity 1: Make Adjustments to Instruction

Activity 2: Make Adjustments to the Assessment