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New Teachers: A Primer on Assessment

In this guide for new teachers, learn about different types of assessment and how they can be used to provide feedback to learners and inform instruction.
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Graphic of measuring tools

In order to effectively plan instruction, it’s important to determine students’ current level of knowledge and state of academic, social, and emotional skills. There are a variety of ways for teachers and students to arrive at this understanding and gauge student progress through assessment.

View the video "Five Keys to Comprehensive Assessment" for a helpful overview of the various types and purposes of assessment. Then explore the resources below for tips and strategies to help you plan and craft assessments to guide teaching and learning in your classroom. After you have seen the video, make sure to read "The 5 Keys to Successful Comprehensive Assessment in Action" for a better understanding of what these elements look like in practice.

Setting Meaningful Goals

Using Rubrics

  • How Do Rubrics Help? (Edutopia, 2008)

    Learn how rubrics can help students and teachers understand the standards against which work will be measured.

  • Tame the Beast: Tips for Designing and Using Rubrics (Edutopia, 2012)

    Need help creating content for your rubrics? Andrew Miller shares his experiences and suggestions for creating content for rubrics that will make students' -- and teachers' -- lives much easier. You can also download an editable rubric template and customize it to the particulars of your own situation.

Exploring Different Ways to Collect and Use Data

  • New Teachers: How to Use Data to Inform Instruction (Edutopia, 2015)

    Assessing your students’ skills in order to target ways you can help them develop is one of the most challenging tasks faced by new teachers. In this post, learn about some simple strategies you can use to collect information about student understanding of material in order to inform the direction of your teaching.

  • Three Ways Student Data Can Inform Your Teaching (Edutopia, 2014)

    Read more about three ways to gather and use valuable student data.

Different Forms of Assessment

  • What Are Some Types of Assessment? (Edutopia, 2008)

    Learn about some of the different types of assessment in this article from Edutopia’s Assessment Professional Development Guide.

  • 5 Assessment Forms That Promote Content Retention (Edutopia, 2014)

    Judy Willis, suggesting that effective assessment is built on students' strengths and interests, offers five forms of assessment that will help students retain content rather than forgetting material they no longer need.

  • Assessment, Choice, and the Learning Brain (Edutopia, 2014)

    Is there a difference between performance goals and mastery goals? Yes -- and that difference can affect student outcome on assessments.

Checking Understanding and Providing Student Feedback

Self- and Peer Assessment

Performance and Portfolio Assessment

Traditional and Standardized Tests

Looking for additional resources for new teachers? Visit the "Resources Toolkit for New Teachers" page for other curated guides, check out all of Edutopia’s content for new teachers on the New Teachers page, and participate in discussions for new teachers in Edutopia’s community.

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