An architect and contractor wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint. As educators, we should build our assessments intentionally using a clear blueprint of what we want the assessment product to look like. This involves making choices about the content of the assessment, the form of the questions and the number of questions aligned to that content, and the level of cognitive demand of each of those questions. This blueprint development tool will be very helpful for teams starting the process.
Step One: Identify what essential skills & knowledge you will assess (column one).
Step Two: Select the form(s) for your assessment.
1) Selected Response Assessments: Ask students to select the correct answer from a provided set of answers.
2) Constructed Response Assessments: Ask students to construct their own answer to a question.
3) Performance Assessments: Ask students to demonstrate understanding by performing or creating a product.
Step Three: Determine the number of items at each level of cognitive demand
1) Basic-Readily Assessable questions that ask the student to remember something or simply understand. This includes memorization and automaticity of math facts as well as questions that ask “right there” questions from the text.
2) Standard-Moderately Complex questions that ask students to apply, compare and contrast or analyze. This includes application story problems as well as students comparing more than one character, author or text.
3) Expanded-These questions are very complex and ask students to evaluate and create. They are often associated with free response items but clever test writing can also put evaluate questions in multiple choice formats.
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Anne is an assessment and curriculum specialist best known for her work in assessment design, data analysis and instructional effectiveness. Anne is a sought after speaker in the area of assessment design, curriculum and instruction.