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

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

Task 2: Create the Assessment Based on the Specific Purpose and Goal


Guideline: Each assessment should have a specific purpose and goal. The purpose statement describes what the teacher intends to learn from conducting the assessment. The goal statement defines what the teacher intends to achieve by conducting the assessment. The goal statement should be specific with definitive parameters to be achieved within a given timeframe.

The Helpful Hundred

This list from Instructional Media and Technologies for Learning provides 100 observable and measurable verbs useful when writing instructional objectives.

Classroom Assessment: Setting Targets and Writing Objectives

This is a portion of an online course providing guidance for setting clear and achievable targets for classroom assessments. It was developed in partnership between the Pinellas (Florida) School District and the Florida Center for Instruction Technology (FCIT) at the University of South Florida (USF).

Indicators of Use of Formative Assessment

This document created by the New York Comprehensive Center and Assessment and Accountability Content Center provides a summary of key indicators of formative assessment practices.


Writing Objectives

This Penn State University resource offers a model for writing objectives addressing audience, behavior, condition, and degree of mastery. Though intended for higher education, the model is adaptable for use by K-12 teachers. The resource also provides examples of well-written objectives and identifies problems encountered when writing objectives.

Linking Classroom Assessment with Student Learning

This Education Testing Service resource offers an overview of classroom assessment and its link to instruction. It also addresses planning assessments, involving students, assessing the assessment, and reviewing the results after the assessment has been conducted.

Writing Instructional Goals and Objectives

This Penn State University tutorial introduces instructional goals, the three types of instructional objectives, and the nest way to write and assess them.

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