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Assessment resources
Types of Assessment (from PDE www.pdesas.org)


Seeks to make an overall judgment of progress made at the end of a defined period of instruction. They occur at the end of a school level, grade, or course, or are administered at certain grades for purposes of state or local accountability. These are considered high-stakes assessments and the results are often used in conjunction with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). They are designed to produce clear data on the student’s accomplishments at key points in his or her academic career. Scores on these assessments usually become part of the student’s permanent record and are statements as to whether or not the student has fallen short of, met, or exceeded the expected standards. Whereas the results of formative assessments are primarily of interest to students and the teachers, the results of summative assessments are also of great interest to parents, the faculty as a whole, the central administration, the press and the public at large. It is the data from summative assessments on which public accountability systems are based. If the results of these assessments are reported with reference to standards and individual students, they can be used as diagnostic tools by teachers to plan instruction and guide the leadership team in developing strategies that help improve student achievement. Examples of summative assessment are PSSA and Terra Nova.

Used by teachers and students during instruction to provide feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning to improve students’ achievement of intended instructional outcomes.

In Pennsylvania we are defining formative assessment as classroom based assessment that allows teachers to monitor and adjust their instructional practice in order to meet the individual needs of their students. Formative assessment can consist of formal instruments or informal observations.

The key is how the results are used. Results should be used to shape teaching and learning. It is recommended that information from formative assessment should NOT be used for grading purposes. Black and Wiliam (1998) define formative assessment broadly to include instructional formats that teachers utilize in order to get information that when used diagnostically alter instructional practices and have a direct impact student learning and achievement. Under this definition, formative assessment encompasses questioning strategies, active engagement check-ins, (such as response cards, white boards, random selection, think-pair-share, popsicle sticks for open-ended questions, and numbered heads) and analysis of student work based on set rubrics and standards including homework and tests. Assessments are formative when the information is used to adapt instructional practices to meet individual student needs as well as providing individual students corrective feedback that allows them to “reach” set goals and targets. Ongoing formative assessment is an integral part of effective instructional routines that provide teachers with the information they need to differentiate and make adjustments to instructional practice in order to meet the needs of individual students.

When teachers know how students are progressing and where they are having trouble, they can use this information to make necessary instructional adjustments, such as re-teaching, trying alternative instructional approaches, or offering more opportunities for practice. The use of ongoing formative classroom assessment data is an imperative. Effective teachers seamlessly integrate formative assessment strategies into their daily instructional routines.

Designed to provide feedback to both the teacher and the student about how the student is progressing towards demonstrating proficiency on grade level standards. Well-designed benchmark assessments and standards-based assessments measure the degree to which a student has mastered a given concept; measure concepts, skills, and/or applications; reported by referencing the standards, not other students’ performance; serve as a test to which teachers want to teach; and measure performance regularly, not only at a single moment in time.

Ascertains, prior to instruction, each student’s strengths, weaknesses, knowledge, and skills. Establishing these permits the instructor to adjust the curriculum to meet pupils’ unique needs.
Examples of diagnostic assessments are DRAs, running records, GRADE, and GMADE.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education offers Classroom Diagnostic Tools (CDT) to LEAs in Reading/Literature, Writing/ English Composition, Mathematics, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Science, Biology and Chemistry

Formative Assessment resources
The What and Why of formative assessments (articles)
From ASCD - "Ready-made benchmark tests cannot substitute for day-to-day formative assessment conducted by assessment-literate teachers."
From Scholastic - "Tips for using formative assessments to help you differentiate instruction and improve student achievement"
From PDE - General information about formative assessment

Video Dylan Wiliam on Formative Assessment

Formative Assessment Example Cards

(Thanks to Diane Hubona, Bethann McCain, and Brandy Sheneman)

This versiion may print better than the one above.

Examples from West Virginia's Department of Education - "When incorporated into classroom practice, the formative assessment process provides information needed to adjust teaching and learning while they are still happening. The process serves as practice for the student and a check for understanding during the learning process. The formative assessment process guides teachers in making decisions about future instruction. Here are a few examples that may be used in the classroom during the formative assessment process to collect evidence of student learning."

A chart of examples, explanations, and suggestions from the Illinois State Board of Education

National School Reform Faculty Protocols
Examples of "protocols and activities that result in meaningful and efficeint communication, problem solving and learning".

More Formative Assessment Examples
Curated by David Wees, Formative assessment specialist, New Visions for Public Schools

Additional Formative Assessment Samples

Technology Integration
Digital media and technology tools can also be used as additional forms of assessment
TPACK (Technology, Pedagogy, and Content Knowledge) - Learning Activity Types wiki - developed by the College of Willam and Mary - examples and suggestions for all content areas