Assessment Validity Checklist Resource

Once the assessment draft is created, there are often questions of assessment quality and validity. Download our assessment checklist to help you write a valid questions leading to a high quality assessment.assessment validity checklist

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Is THIS a Quality Assessment?

Tough question. It is essential that we give kids great assessments.  I have often talked about “junk in, junk out.”  Spend hours analyzing data that comes from a “junk” assessment, you will not have the good information that can help you teach differently tomorrow, or help individual students grow and succeed.


The importance of quality assessment tools is not a question as much as: HOW do we make sure we are using quality assessments?

Checklists for both Typical classroom, and common assessments, performance assessments and even a tool to serve as a graphic organizer for planning an assessment can be dowloaded by clicking the links below.


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Writing Great Rubrics

Rubrics are wonderful tools for defining quality for a process, product of behavior. They are powerful tools for both teaching and learning as they help communicate what it takes to succeed.

Question Complexity & Question Format

When measuring student understanding, teachers have CHOICES!  Performance assessments, written assessments, discussions, multiple choice, fill in the blank….

One of the greatest ways to narrow your focus is to examine the complexity of the skill you intend to measure.  This will often help you narrow down the format for the question.

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This chart was adapted from Classroom Assessment For Student Learning

Dig Deeper Here:

Content Fact & Content Skill Planner

There are several subjects that teach students factual knowledge, conceptual knowledge, procedural knowledge and metacognitive knowledge.  This content elements students will know including facts, dates, vocabulary, structures and classifications.  Beyond this knowledge, these same subjects teach the application of this knowledge, elements of the curriculum students will be able to do which includes evaluation of theories using this knowledge, planning and producing with this knowledge.  The content tends to be isolated to single units, where as the skills tend to be threads which are used throughout several different units.

ContentSkillHandoutDownload Here: KATC Content & Skill Planner

A Common Roadblock

The teacher team needs to separate skills with leverage across many units from content facts which are typically applicable to a single unit.  

Sometimes after we have taught lessons for years the same way it is difficult to differentiate between the skills and content.  This graphic organizer is a way for teams to begin discussions around the content and the skills measured in their teaching.  

It is not a battle of content vs skills, but rather two essential sides of the same coin which was discussed in an article posted in November.

Measuring Longitudinal Learning

In order to  follow student growth over longer periods of time, teachers must pull out the specific skills they are teaching the students in their class through the changing content.  Most often, teachers can measure the growth in specific skills (ex: Interpreting experimental data, analysis of a political cartoon) in the context of a specific unit where students must draw upon their content knowledge to execute the skill.


Quality Assessment Checklist

We can agree:  quality is the cornerstone.

A quality assessment checklist is a helpful tool for teachers or administrators making sure the assessments used with students are the very best.


Click Here to Download Our Quality Checklist

Understanding Assesment Validity

Teachers give up instructional TIME to give the assessment, panning TIME to grade the assessment and preparation TIME to analyze the results.  If the tool does not give back information that will help instruct students immediately, it isn’t a good use of our precious TIME!

Lets resolve to use quality assessments. This checklist is a great tool for teacher teams and educator evaluator conferences to discuss the quality of an assessment tool.


Other Assessment checklists of interest:

KATC Growth Assessment Review Tool

Achieve New Jersey Checklist


Assessment Blueprint Tool

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.

Ready to start?

Click Here to Download Assessment Blueprint Tool (Word)

Click Here to Download Assessment Blueprint Tool(PDF)


Leading Staff Training?

Click Here for Helpful Slides


Assessment Inventory

Click Here to Download & Use!

A helpful exercise for both departments and individual teachers.

Once all assessments given are listed, teachers should evaluate which assessments provide valuable data to adjust teaching.  If an assessment does not provide quality, timely data about student learning that the teacher can use to pivot instruction to the students’ needs, then the value of that assessment really should be evaluated.  If instructional time is lost to administer an assessment, the value of the data gained must be more than the value of the teaching time lost.


Question Stems

When writing questions, using a similar stem with two different passages, experiments or pictures will help keep the level of cognitive demand comparable between the questions.

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