The Classroom Assessment KnowledgeBase

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 a Comfortable and Productive Environment in which to Conduct the Assessment


Guideline: Formative assessments are a means for teachers to provide feedback to students on how well they understand lesson concepts. As an informal tool, the assessments should be in harmony with instruction and consistent with class needs. Assessments should be conducted in a comfortable and productive environment.

Classroom Architect

Classroom Architect is an online tool enabling teachers to easily lay out their classroom.


Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools

This Environmental Protection Agency website provides tools to help schools maintain healthy indoor air quality.

Creating a Caring Context for Learning and Healthy Development

This one page brief from the UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools offers a rationale for creating a caring learning environment within the classroom. Such an environment is necessary for the effective application of formative assessment.


Talking with Kids

How teachers interact with students impacts the effectiveness of formative assessments. This UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools brief offers teachers techniques to apply when talking with children.

Quiet Classrooms

As noted the Quiet Classrooms website, "Quiet Classrooms is an alliance of non-profit organizations working to create better learning environments in schools by reducing noise. It offers resources for students, teachers, administrators, parents and architects."

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