40: Assessment Design & Implementation





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Guiding Questions for Designing Assessments:
  • What evidence can show that students have achieved desire results? (ALIGNMENT)
  • What assessment tasks and other evidence will anchor projects and guide instruction? (ANCHORING)
  • What should we look for, to determine the extent of student understanding? (EVALUATION)
  • Does the proposed evidence enable use to infer a student’s knowledge, skill or understanding? (FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT, ALIGNMENT)
Assessment Implementation tips:
  • Use judicial analogy while assembling assessment portfolio – student is ignorant until proven otherwise
  • Check that assessments align to standards, essential questions and learning targets
  • Use self and peer assessment to improve understandings and products
  • Vary assessment types depending on type of knowledge:
    • use contextualized applied assessments to assess enduring understandings
    • use more traditional assessments for enabling skills
Embed assessments in authentic tasks.  Authentic tasks …
  • involve real world contexts
  • require judgement and innovation
  • ask students to do the subject
  • simulates challenging situations handled by discipline experts
  • assess student ability to use a repertoire of knowledge to solve a complex problem
  • creates opportunities for practice, rehearsal, research, feedback and revision
Use GRASPS to design and frame authentic tasks:
  • Goals
  • Roles
  • Audience
  • Situation
  • Performances and/or products
  • Standards to evaluate performance


Rigorous coherent units are more likely to be designed when a variety of assignments are planned that align to learning goals.  Prioritizing activity planning over assessment planning can lead to watered down, unaligned assessments and activities.  Planning assessments around understanding can lead to measures of students’ ability to apply and transfer knowledge.  Well planned assessments can lead to targeted feedback that helps students improve their learning and products.


Authentic tasks and assessments can demonstrate to students how adults really use (or don’t use) knowledge.  These can also show students how discrete packets of information come together to create more meaningful solutions and performances.


Preparation Steps
  • Analyze standards to determine learning targets, enduring understandings, and enabling skills
  • Uses GRASPS and standards analysis to design project contexts and product problems / products that are authentic and aligned to standards
  • Use 4 Guiding Assessment Questions (see above) to design and evaluate assessment portfolio to project
  • Design scaffolding activities that support student achievement on assessments
Early Implementation Steps
  • Use GRASPS to help students analyze project launch materials
  • Use feedback from assessments to give students helpful formative feedback and to fine tune scaffolding activities
  • Use assessment data from multiple assessments to determine whether or not students are progressing towards mastery of learning goals
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Have students evaluate the quality of assessments use student friendly versions of the assessment guiding questions
  • Have students use a Learning targets chart to provide and justify evidence from previous assessments and tasks that they have successfully achieved mastery of learning targets

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