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General Assessment Guidance

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Intentional Planning for Collecting Evidence Using Observation-based Assessment Tools

Teaching and learning begin and continue from the first days of school.

Teaching and learning begin and continue from the first days of school. In planning, teachers and leaders include a plan for collecting evidence of primary and any applicable secondary assessment items using guidance documents and resources provided by the school readiness assessment tool. This plan might include when to observe and what might be collected as evidence of what a child knows and is able to do. The following provides a brief overview of how teachers may intentionally plan for assessment.

When and what will I observe?

Teachers plan which lessons, routines, and assignments will provide opportunities for students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in a variety of ways. In doing so, teachers consider when the skills, knowledge and abilities occur naturally, when an established routine would facilitate this, or when the addition of a family lens might be valuable. 

This could include: 

  • Interactive times such as large group, small group, and one-on-one sessions
  • Independent Work
  • Family check-ins and dialogue

To ensure students have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their skills, teachers plan opportunities for students to express and represent what they know and can do in a variety of ways.

How will I collect evidence? 

Teachers plan how evidence will be collected within routines and lessons. Within each domain, they plan for collecting a variety of evidence of what a child knows or is able to do. This might include collecting and organizing work and language samples, collecting photo or video documentation, creating tools for recording observations, and planning prompts for family dialogue. Increasing intentionality in planning for observations and collecting evidence maximizes available time with each child.

Some districts have supported teachers with categorizing assessment items for ease of embedding within continual planning. Two methods of categorizing currently used include:

Categorizing by when to observe or collect evidence, for example:

Daily routine, lesson, or activity

  • Morning meeting

Collect evidence towards:

  • Social-emotional check-ins
  • Language

Categorizing by what assessment item(s) to observe or collect evidence toward, for example:

Assessment item

  • Retelling stories

Daily routine, lesson, or activity

  • One-on-one sessions
  • Small group for literacy
  • Writing assignment

Impacts of remote learning models

Remote learning models change the context but may still include each of these categories. For example:

  • Interactive sessions: virtual conferencing might occur in lieu of in-person sessions
  • Independent work: asynchronous activities might be posted on virtual learning or communication sharing platforms, i.e., Seesaw, ClassDojo, or Google Classroom
  • Family check-ins and dialogue: virtual conferencing, virtual office hours, or text/email communications might be used to support interactions with families

To decrease family burden, consider using a consistent virtual platform for sharing and communicating with families. If using a virtual communication platform offered through an assessment vendor, ensure privacy and security statements from applicable vendors follow local privacy polices.

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Reviewing the evidence, assessing and scoring

Reviewing the evidence, assessing, and scoring.

Kindergarten school readiness assessments provide opportunities for students to demonstrate their knowledge skills and abilities as they enter kindergarten. Throughout the assessment window, teachers continue to plan, prioritize, and collect evidence. School and district leadership can encourage teachers to regularly analyze collected evidence and observations for each child and modify plans for assessment to ensure completeness and variation of opportunities for students to demonstrate knowledge and skills. 

At the end of the assessment window, teachers analyze the collection of evidence and observations for each child and finalize scores in alignment with the school readiness vendor's guidelines. CDE encourages districts to follow tool guidance in determining local procedures for assessing students who are not present or who are not present long enough for a complete assessment. This data is then sent to data respondents to be submitted as part of the statewide data collection in the fall and is to be used to inform an individualized plan to monitor growth over time for each kindergartner.

Interrater Reliability

Teachers are the reliable, trained, and knowledgeable assessors. Setting expectations to maintain inter-rater reliability on the assessment tool through ongoing training maintains the reliability of the assessment data and aids in ensuring equitable observations.


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