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.


Download FREE Tools Here

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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.

Download Handout


This chart was adapted from Classroom Assessment For Student Learning

Dig Deeper Here:

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


Growth: Quality Assessment Elements

A great assessment set to measure student growth and learning must be designed to be comparable.

The comparable points must have consistent quality elements which allows us to make interpretations about student learning over time.  The assessments should measure the same content or skill and it should be measured in comparable formats. For example, the assessments should both be constructed response or both performance, but not two different formats.  The complexity should be comparable in terms of the difficulty of prompt, difficulty of reading passage, or difficulty of questions.


Comparable assessment tools that allow educators to collect good growth data are called mirrored assessments. Data points must be similar in order to be comparable.  Of course you can’t easily see how much weight you have lost if you are using a scale with pounds one week, and another scale with kilograms the next. Similarly, you can’t easily see student growth if your tests are not using the same elements.

Download: Our Growth Assessment Handout