Friday / June 14

Plan Ahead for Assessment!

Assessments provide valuable information on student learning. Teachers conduct and analyze ongoing formative and summative assessment to inform their instruction. As we implement Common Core State Standards, we are likely looking at using a greater variety of assessments. Creating an assessment calendar enables us to see not only how often and what types of assessments they are using, but also what types of learning styles and multiple intelligences are addressed. Below are eight steps to follow along with corresponding factors to take into consideration. Summer is the perfect time to do some planning!

On a school-year calendar,

  • Step 1:  Determine “instructional days for students.”
  • Step 2:  Indicate each “end of marking period.”
  • Step 3:  Mark “school benchmark” tests, if any.
  • Step 4:  Mark “standardized test dates.”
  • Step 5:  Plan the length of your units and indicate summative assessment dates.
  • Step 6:  Identify the types of assessments you would like your students to experience throughout the year.

Consider a variety of formats:

A list of examples is provided below. If you do not see your favorites, add them!

Answers to Objective Questions


Creative writing

Demonstration of Problem Solving

Document-based analysis



Illustrated Timeline




Report or research paper

Skill performance



Technology-based Slide Presentation/Prezi


Website or Weebly

Consider grouping:  Individual, partner or group (with individual accountability and group accountability)

Consider access to technology:

Types of Devices
Student accessibility

Consider time:

Administration/Implementation of Assessment
Assessing/Grading/Recording Results

  • Step 7:  Match assessments to your units.
  • Step 8:  Adapt as needed.

With mindful planning, your assessments will be appropriate and relevant to each unit of study. Students will have multiple opportunities to provide evidence of proficiency on standards in different ways. Furthermore, you will be able to explain the purpose of each not only to the students but also parents/guardians and administrators. At the end of the year, you can explore with students which they thought were the most engaging and relevant to refine your calendar for the next year!

Written by

Ellen Kottler, Ed.S., has been a teacher for over 30 years in public and private schools, alternative schools, adult education programs, and universities. She has worked in inner-city schools as well as in suburban and rural settings. She was a curriculum specialist in charge of secondary social studies and law-related education for one of the country’s largest school districts. Ellen is the author or coauthor of several books for educators, including Secrets for Secondary School Teachers: How to Succeed in Your First Year, On Being a Teacher, Secrets to Success for Beginning Elementary School Teachers, Counseling Skills for Teachers, English Language Learners in Your Classroom: Strategies That Work, Secrets to Success for Science Teachers, Students Who Drive You Crazy: Succeeding with Resistant, Unmotivated, and Otherwise Difficult Young People, and The Teacher’s Journey.

She teaches secondary education and supervises intern teachers at California State University, Fullerton.

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