Assessment - Preview


* Recently Updated *

This module explores educational assessment – what it is, how it’s used, and why it’s important. It considers formative and summative approaches, measurement of adult indicators, and evaluation of student performance.

This module aligns with:

  • Ohio's Leadership Development Framework, Area 3: Instruction and the Learning Process
  • The Ohio Improvement Process

Receiving Credit for this Module

The Ohio Leadership Advisory Council offers educators credit and contact hours for OLAC work. Teachers, principals, and superintendents who are working toward license renewal can receive university credit for completing OLAC modules from a number of Ohio universities. Pre-approval is required. For estimated contact hours for credit or to learn more about receiving credit for OLAC work, visit the Credit Corner.

Video Transcript

Larry Ainsworth, The Leadership and Learning Center

Hello, I'm Larry Ainsworth. Welcome to the module on Assessment and Learning.

This very exciting module provides a wealth of information on the powerful use of assessment as an integral component of quality teaching. In the Ohio Leadership Advisory Council's Leadership Development Framework, district and building leadership teams are asked to ensure that ongoing assessment and progress monitoring are consistently used to inform instruction. The cycle of assessing, instructing, reassessing, reteaching and again assessing is all part of sound classroom teaching and assessment practice.

As stated in Ohio's Leadership Framework, authored by the Ohio Leadership Counsel, effective classroom assessment is central to school improvement. Every successful school district must have, and I quote, an internal accountability system for continuously monitoring whether instructional practices are having the desired effect on student performance.

Assessment results inform the practices of classroom teachers and also inform a school about the effectiveness of their programs and districts about the impact of their system-wide strategies on student learning.

This module addresses the components of different types of assessment. You will explore formal and informal formative assessments, which are often referred to as assessments for learning. This type of assessment takes place during instruction and is an ongoing process. Teachers use the results of formative assessment to improve their instruction and students use the results of formative assessment to inform their learning. In the formative assessment process, students are allowed multiple opportunities to demonstrate mastery of their learning.

In Preparing Teachers for a Changing World, Linda Darling Hammond notes thatformative assessment, effectively implemented, can do as much or more to improve student achievement than any of the most powerful instructional interventions.

Black and William are credited with pivotal research on the impact of formative assessment. The authors maintain that at the heart of effective teaching and increased student achievement is the skillful use of formative assessment. Lorrie Shepard cites research grounded in cognitive science that quote, has shown that formative assessment, used to discover what a student understands or does not understand, can be a powerful tool in targeting instruction so as to move learning forward.

In our book Common Formative Assessments, my co-author Donald Viegut and I suggest a powerful method for unifying teacher-based teams around the analysis of common formative assessments. These common formative assessments are generated by teachers in grade level or content area teams and are given before and after a specified unit of instruction. These assessment results inform teachers about student learning so that they can explore and implement sound instructional strategies and plan for needed learning interventions to help students master critical concepts and skills.

This module also addresses summative assessments, which historically have been the most frequently used type of assessment. These assessments are sometimes referred to as assessments of learning. They often occur at the end of a segment of learning and are evaluative in nature and used for a grade or ranking.

No single assessment can meet everyone's information needs. To 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 balance.

Ohio's Leadership Development Framework and the Ohio Improvement Process and both emphasize that it is important for educators to examine a variety of assessment results in order to determine a clear, immediate picture of student learning so that they can make immediate adjustments in instruction. District Leadership Teams and Building Leadership Teams, along with teacher-based teams, must intentionally use formal, informal, formative and summative assessment results to ensure maximum positive impact on student learning.

This module is rich with quality information about assessment. I hope you will be able to use this information to guide the development of a more robust and aligned assessment system for your district. Thank you for listening and considering the role that assessment plays toward improved learning for students and educators.

Video Player Help

Brightcove Video Hosting: This website uses Brightcove, a video hosting company, to serve video content. If you are having difficulty viewing videos on this site, it may mean that your location (e.g. school district, organization) is blocking or filtering the Brightcove website. Please contact your IT personell to resolve this issue.

Flash Issues: Depending on your browser version, a Flash video player may be displayed. If you are having trouble viewing videos on one of our sites, you can try installing the latest version of Flash.

Accessibility: We strive to make this website accessible for all users, including people with disabilities. We test and modify this website for optimal usability. If you have any accessibility questions or find any pages on our website that pose accessibility barriers, please contact Hal Hixson at

This module features videos, pre- and post-assesments, and questions for discussion.

Number of content pages: 31

Enter Module