Assessment Quality

Teachers are making critical decisions about instruction…hopefully driven by student quality assessments results.

The underlying concern:  

If the assessment is not high quality,

can we make useful instructional changes as a result?


Criteria can be used by assessment developers, policymakers, and educators as they work to create and adopt assessments that promote deeper learning as well as opportunities for instructional responses.

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Our Checklists are a great place to start

Research Says:

Linda Darling-Hammond, et al Listed 5 important criteria

1. Assessment of Higher-Order Cognitive Skills that allow students to transfer their learning to new situations and problems.

2. High-Fidelity Assessment of Critical Abilities as they will be used in the real world, rather than through artificial proxies. This calls for performances that directly evaluate such skills as oral, written, and multimedia communication; collaboration; research; experimentation; and the use of new technologies.

3. Assessments that Are Internationally Benchmarked: Assessments should be evaluated against those of the leading education countries, in terms of the kinds of tasks they present as well as the level of performance they expect.

4. Use of Items that Are Instructionally Sensitive and Educationally Valuable: Tests should be designed so that the underlying concepts can be taught and learned, rather than depending mostly on test-taking skills or reflecting students’ out-of-school experiences. To support instruction, they should also offer good models for teaching and learning and insights into how students think as well as what they know.

5. Assessments that Are Valid, Reliable, and Fair should accurately evaluate students’ abilities, appropriately assess the knowledge and skills they intend to measure, be free from bias, and be designed to reduce unnecessary obstacles to performance that could undermine validity. They should also have positive consequences for the quality of instruction and the opportunities available for student learning.


Sure, every formative assessment we give can’t be internationally benchmarked or assess only critical abilities, but we can use these guiding principals when we look at our work as a whole.

Read more about The Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education’s 2013 Report


Anne Weerda
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Anne Weerda

This article was written by Kids at the Core founder, Anne Weerda.

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.
Anne Weerda
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