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Classroom Assessment KnowledgeBase

This KnowledgeBase archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.

The Classroom Assessment KnowledgeBase is an online resource for state departments of education to use as part of their professional development efforts with districts and schools. Organized around five elements, it brings together concepts, how-to guidance, tools, and resources about classroom assessment.

Task 3: Be Knowledgeable About the Multiple Forms of Assessment

Guideline: Knowledgeable practitioners of classroom assessment understand its place within the overall context of assessment. As such, they are able to determine the purposes of assessment, understand what they want their students to know and be able to do, and choose instruments to help accomplish their objectives. Universal screening, diagnostic testing, progress monitoring, and formative assessment are forms of assessment tools available to the teacher. They are defined as follows:

Universal screening is a quick and simple assessment of key indicators of performance in a particular domain considered to be predictive of more complex performance in that domain. The purposes of screening are to identify students quickly who may not be meeting benchmarks (risk factors) and to provide information to help analyze the overall effectiveness of core curriculum.

Diagnostic testing is an in-depth study of individual student strengths and weaknesses to identify areas where additional assistance is needed. Diagnostic measures can be administered any time over the course of the school year and may be administered by someone other than the teacher.

Progress monitoring is a frequent comparison of current to desired performance over a specified period of time and is designed to estimate rates of student improvement; identify students who are not demonstrating adequate progress; compare the efficacy of different forms of instruction; and design more effective, individualized instructional programs for students experiencing learning problems.

Formative assessment is a less formal tool for teachers to guide their instruction on a daily and weekly basis. The ongoing feedback provided to students enables them to comprehend more fully their grasp of the subject matter being taught. In turn, teachers and students are able to make adjustments, as necessary, in their part of the instructional process.

As a set of teacher tools, screening, progress monitoring, diagnostics, and formative assessment work together as follows:

  • Universal Screening assessments usually occur at the beginning of a school year or instructional cycle. Like a health assessment at the beginning of the school year, they provide a quick look at key instructional factors.
  • Diagnostics are applied to identify what is happening if the student is not progressing as expected.
  • Progress monitoring gauges a student's growth in understanding the subject matter over a period of time.
  • Formative assessment enables teachers to determine if what they are doing is helping students be successful in their classes.



Selecting Assessments for Your School

From the American Federation of Teachers, this article gives an overview of the screening tools and the kind of information they provide.

The National Center on Student Progress Monitoring

This link is to the National Center on Progress Monitoring funded by the OESP (Office of Special Education Programs) under the Ideas That Work umbrella. The National Center on Student Progress Monitoring is dedicated to the implementation of scientifically based progress monitoring for grades K-5 .

The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and are intended for general reference purposes only. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education or the Center, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Some resources on this site require Adobe Acrobat Reader. This website archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.