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Identify Available Assessments

STEP 2:
Identify available assessments that are being used in your district to evaluate student learning throughout the year

In Step 1, districts determined what they expected their students to know and be able to do.  In Step 2, districts identify the different types of assessments that are commonly used across multiple schools/grades/courses to measure what students should know and be able to do.  The purpose of this step is to help districts identify:

  • Which assessments are being used to measure student learning across the district
  • Grades and subjects where no formal instrument or assessment exists to evaluate student learning

In addition to using State assessment results (which are required by State Board Rules, as described in Table 1), districts are encouraged to use district based and teacher-developed assessments.  Teachers use a variety of informal and formal assessments to evaluate student learning in their classrooms every day. They use the information generated from these types of assessments to inform instruction, provide instructional feedback to students, determine mastery of standards, check on the progress made by students and determine a student’s level of mastery by the end of the instructional period.   

Districts and schools can use the sample assessment inventory template referenced below, the inventory of performance data associated with Unified Improvement Planning or develop their own inventories to identify assessments that are in place across their districts.  

Once the inventory has been completed, districts should use the following questions to identify the assessments that will be considered in educator evaluation:

  • Which assessments are aligned to the Colorado Academic Standards?
  • Which assessments best measure student progress toward district/school/course learning goals, described in Step 1?
  • Which assessments are deemed by educators to provide valuable information to help inform their instructional decisions?

To further assist districts as they answer the above questions, CDE has provided an Assessment Review Tool.  The Assessment Review Tool allows users to evaluate the quality of assessments based on the following quality criteria: alignment to the Colorado Academic Standards, provision of relevant tasks to students, , fairness, provision of clear scoring criteria and guidelines and accessibility of content for all learners.  Districts and BOCES should also check the technical quality and rigor of the various assessments that are used to generate results that are used in educator evaluation. 

Districts are advised to keep the assessment selection process simple by selecting the assessments that are aligned with school and district goals, generate results that educators use to make the greatest impact on student learning, and most importantly, are aligned with the learning goals specified in Step 1.

The identification of common assessments can then be applied for different teacher types (discussed in the next section) and to help guide policy decisions on which assessments are most appropriate for use in teacher evaluations.

Tools/resources to assist with Step 2:

  • Assessment Inventories: The use of these templates can help highlight limitations in the type of approaches and methods that can be used to evaluate student learning for a given content area and grade.  
  • Assessment Review Tool: Designed to help Colorado educators rate an assessment’s potential for measuring student academic growth aligned to the Colorado Academic Standards. The collaborative use of this tool is one way that districts and BOCES can include teachers in a discussion regarding the assessment measures used in their performance evaluations. Proper use of the Assessment Review Tool requires thorough documentation of the rating for each assessment and, in turn, will build confidence and support in using the assessments for evaluation purposes
  • CDE Resource Bank: The CDE Resource Bank includes assessments in all grades and content areas that may provide districts with a starting point for assessing student learning and may be used for educator effectiveness purposes.

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