Sunday, May 28, 2017

What is the Definition of Common Assessment?

By Jennifer Hardy

Too often educators use the term "common assessment"  "CFA" interchangeably with district assessments and benchmarks.  This communicates a false identity to the purpose, design and research behind common formative assessments.  “[Common assessments are] not standardized tests, but teacher-created, teacher-owned assessments that are collaboratively scored and that provide immediate feedback to students and teachers.” —Douglas Reeves, CEO and founder, The Leadership and Learning Center.  Common formative assessments or CFA's are focused intentional check-ins developed by teachers who are giving the assessment.  CFA's help teachers determine if core instruction was effective based on the the level of rigor and learning criteria the teachers are delivering and assessing.  These assessments are designed through the collaborative efforts during a content grade level professional learning community for the purpose of driving instruction.  CFA's should focus on a few learning targets, aligned to the standards, 5-10 questions per target, with the same criteria for delivery and grading.  Rubrics for learning criteria should be established during CFA development.

Benchmark assessments are helpful for informing instruction and to look for gaps in the instruction, however too much time between instruction has lapsed for immediate formative data.  Nor, are benchmarks typically designed by the teachers giving them to students.  Benchmark data is wonderful for progress monitoring students and establishing the level of questions and rigor that are aligned with curriculum standards.


Students do not have to know it is an assessment!
What can a common assessment look like?

  1. Game
  2. Exit Ticket
  3. Poll
  4. Survey
  5. Anticipation guide
  6. Short Answer
  7. Writing Sample
  8. Daily Essential Question
  9. Group Activity
  10. Learning logs
  11. Summaries
  12. Thinking Maps
  13. Quiz
  14. Various Checkpoints During A Project


Serving Onslow County Schools since 2002, Jennifer Hardy has taught third through sixth grade students.  In her current role as an Instructional Coach, it has truly been an honor to support students and staff across the district.  She has a passion for teaching that is fueled through her zany little girl, Ava.  She is a third-grade product of Onslow County Schools and every decision Mrs. Hardy makes, every battle she chooses to fight, is never initiated without trying to view the outcome through her daughter's big blue beautiful eyes!


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