Posts Tagged: formative assessment

A Balanced Assessment System

Creating, Implementing, and Sustaining Effective Assessment Practices As a society, we’ve shifted the thinking about schools from places where it’s OK for some students to succeed and some to fail to places where the expectation is for all students to succeed. With this shift, the role of assessment has changed from separating successful and unsuccessful students to becoming a set of educational practices that support the learning of all students (Stiggins, 2008). What are these assessment practices and how can they be used to most effectively support learning? In the broadest sense, … Read More


Professional Development

Creating & Sustaining Effective Classroom Assessment Practices If you are trying to decide where to send your child to school, your best bet might be to focus on which teacher(s) your child gets rather than on which school. Why? The vast majority of studies that have examined the classroom teacher’s impact on student learning have come to a simple conclusion: Out of all aspects of schooling, the teacher has the most positive impact on student learning (for a review of several studies, see Nye, Konstantopoulos, & Hedges, 2004). In addition to … Read More


Writing Short-Answer Items in Naiku

This week’s class focuses on the topic of item writing. All assessment items can be categorized either as a selected-response or a constructed-response item. I will be going over the advantages and disadvantages of each of the item type (i.e., true-false, multiple-choice, matching, short-answer, and essay items) in my class.  For this blog, I want to focus on short-answer items. Short-answer items require a word, short phrase, or a number response. There are three different varieties of short-answer items. The question variety asks a direct question. The completion variety presents an … Read More


Reliability Concerns for Classroom Formative Assessment

This week, I started teaching a course called Assessment: Theory and Practice to graduate students in the Leadership program at Saint Mary’s University. More than 70% of the students in the class are K-12 teachers. In a course like this, reliability and validity are of course big topics. In fact, next week’s class (5 hours of class time) will be spent on these two topics. So, I guess it’s the right time to return to these topics on this blog. My last blog post on this topic was on May … Read More


The Importance of Student Reflection

Student Reflection When I do professional development for teachers and administrators on how to incorporate Naiku into their formative assessment practice, the part that gets them most excited is when I talk about student reflection. Merriam-Webster.com defines reflection as “a thought, idea, or opinion formed or a remark made as a result of meditation.” Here, I define reflection as a process by which students engage in metacogntive thinking about what they have done, what they are doing, and what they will do in the future. This type of thinking helps students … Read More


How Item Statistics Can Help Your Formative Assessment Practice

When I worked as a psychometrician for large testing companies, I would always conduct an item analysis on the test questions to ensure that they were good and reliable.  And when I often met with teacher groups to explain and discuss their statewide accountability test results, the teachers would always ask for the item analysis results. They wanted to know how their students did on each question. They wanted to know how hard or easy each question was and how many students selected each of the response options.  Invariably, I … Read More


The Testing Effect

We all knew that learning is not a passive mechanism – the learner (i.e., the student) must be an active participant in the process. But who knew that taking a test is also not a passive mechanism for assessing how much students know? Cognitive psychologists (learning and memory experts) knew, and they have been studying the benefits of testing for decades. What they’ve found is that test taking actually helps students learn. This phenomenon, called the testing effect, has been observed in a wide variety of materials, including word lists, … Read More


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