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Overview to Common

Formative Assessments
Adapted from The Leadership and Learning Center
Presented by Jane Cook & Madeline Negron
For Windham Public Schools

Connecticut Accountability for Learning Initiative
Common Findings in
Successful Schools
Formed a professional learning
Focused on student work (through
Changed their instructional practice
accordingly to get better results
Did all of this on a continuing basis
Fullan, April 2000
Professional Learning
Four essential questions:
What do all students need to know and be able to do?
How do we teach so that all students will learn?
How will we know if they have learned it?
What will we do if they dont know or if they come to
us already knowing?
DuFour & Eaker, 1998

Priority Standards
Standards, Big
Ideas, Essential
Making for
Assessments Scoring
How Powerful Practices Work Together
Data Teams: The Mechanism
for Measuring Progress
Step 1: Collect and chart data and
Step 2: Analyze strengths and obstacles
Step 3: Set S.M.A.R.T. goal for student
Step 4: Select effective teaching
Step 5: Determine results indicators.
Data Teams Process, The Leadership and Learning Center
Nine + 1 Effective Teaching Strategies
1. Similarities and differences
2. Summarizing and note taking
3. Effort and recognition
4. Homework and practice
5. Nonlinguistic representation
6. Cooperative learning
7. Setting objectives, providing feedback
8. Generating and testing hypotheses
9. Cues, questions, advance organizers
10.Non-fiction writing
Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001
The Two Tools of Assessment
No single assessment can meet everyones
information needsTo maximize student
success, assessment must be seen as an
instructional tool for use while learning is
occurring, and as an accountability tool to
determine if learning has occurred. Because
both purposes are important, they must be in
NEA, 2003
Two Purposes of Assessment:
Important Distinctions

Diagnosis Assessment FOR Learning
Evaluation Assessment OF Learning
Assessment FOR Learning
Formative: Given before and during the
teaching process
Diagnostic: Intended to be used as a guide to
improve teaching and learning
Provides teachers with information they need
to create appropriate work for groups of
learners or individual students
Not typically used to assign grades
Answers key questions: Do students possess
critical pre-requisite skills and knowledge?
Do students already know some of the
material that is to be taught?
Bravmann, 2004
Assessment OF Learning
Summative assessment for unit, quarter,
semester, grade level, or course of study
Provides status report on degree of
student proficiency or mastery relative to
targeted standard(s)
Helps teachers judge effectiveness of their
teaching practices
Supports the assignment of grades
Answers question: Have students
achieved the goals defined by a given
standard or group of standards?
Bravmann, 2004
The Power Of
COMMON Assessments
Schools with the greatest
improvements in student
achievement consistently
used common assessments.
What Are Common
Not standardized tests, but rather
teacher-created, teacher-owned
assessments that are collaboratively
scored and that provide immediate
feedback to students and
Douglas B. Reeves, CEO,
The Leadership and Learning Center
What Are Common
Formative Assessments?
Common formative assessments are designed to give
students specific feedback on the clear target to be
achieved, along with suggestions on how to reach that
target on subsequent assessments. Students need to
understand that this feedback will not be graded but
that it will be used by their teachers to design specific
instruction to help them improve. After a review of
almost 8,000 classroom studies focused on determining
the impact of feedback on student improvement, John
Hattie (1992) declared: The most powerful single
modification that enhances achievement is feedback.
The simplest prescription for improving education must
be dollops of feedback.
Hattie, 1992, p. 9
What Are Common
Formative Assessments? (continued)
Assessments for learning administered to all
students in grade level or course several times
during semester, trimester, or year
Items collaboratively designed by participating
Items represent essential (Priority) standards
Items aligned to district and state tests
Results analyzed in Data Teams in order to
differentiate instruction
Ainsworth & Viegut, 2006
Simply Put A Common
Formative Assessment is
Common = Given by all teachers at a grade
level or in a content area
Formative = Provides data to inform planning
and instruction
Assessment = Provides diagnostic rather than
evaluative information
Grade Levels # of CFA Items
Grades K-1 Approximately 5-8
Grades 2-3 Approximately 8-10
Grade 4-5 Approximately 10-15
Grades 6-8 Approximately 15-20
Grades 9-12 Approximately 20-25
Recommended # of CFA Items
How Long Should a CFA Take?
A CFA should take no more than one 45-
minute class period. For early grades, it
should take much less time. Limit the
total number of items so that student
papers can be quickly scored and the
results can be used right away to inform

Achievement Gains Associated With
Number of Assessments over 15 weeks
Number of
Effect Size Percentile Gain
0 0 0
1 0.34 13.5
5 0.53 20.0
10 0.60 22.5
15 0.66 24.5
20 0.71 26.0
25 0.78 28.5
30 0.82 29.0
Bangert-Drowns, Kulik, & Kulik, 2007
(The higher the effect size and percentile gain, the more statistically significant.)
The Process of Developing CFAs:
Laying The Standards Foundation
- Steps 1-6
Step 1: Choose Important Topic
Step 2: Identify Matching Priority
Step 3: Unwrap Matching Priority
Step 4: Create Graphic Organizer
Step 5: Determine the Big Ideas
Step 6: Write the Essential Questions
The Process of Developing CFAs:
Creating The Assessment
Steps 7-10
Step 7: Write Selected-Response Items
Step 8: Write Constructed-Response
Items (extended or short)
Step 9: Write Essential Question-Big
Idea Directions
Step 10: Create Answer Key & Scoring Guides
for Constructed-Response Items
CFAs A Summary
Periodic assessments collaboratively
Matching pre- and post-assessments
Similar in design to high stakes tests
Items should represent priority standards
Blend of item types including selected and
constructed response
Administered several times a year
Results analyzed in Data Teams
Results used to inform planning and
Now its your turn
Youre ready to begin Step 1 in the CFA
process this is also Step 1 in the Data Team
In your Grade Level Data Teams work on
your Treasure Hunt looking for CMT Strands
that are important topics for your grade
level students.
You may divide into smaller content area
teams within your Grade Level Data Teams,
e.g., Science and Math may choose to look at
the Math & Science data while Social Studies
and English work together on the Reading &
Writing data.