Part III: Writing and Selecting Assessments

Since you started your career as a teacher, you’ve been designing and administering assessments. You’ve probably written multiple-choice questions, asked students to fill in the blanks with correct answers, requested short responses to prompts or designed performance tasks, such as essays, or, if you are a physical education teacher, perhaps dance routines, or, if a science teacher, perhaps experiments.

The next series of modules focuses on the types of items and assessments you can write or select: selected-response items, constructed-response items, performance tasks and portfolio assessments. For some of you, this will be a review. For others, we might be covering new ground. Whether you are a novice or experienced assessment developer, we believe there’s enough helpful information here to help you make even more informed decisions about when to use specific types of items and assessments and how to improve the assessments you’ve already been designing so that the results of your assessments truly reflect all that your students are learning.

This content is part of the Assessment Design Toolkit spotlight.

9. Selected-Response Items

Introduction
We’re going to start with selected-response items, which, if done well, are a lot more difficult to write than your students probably realize.

By the end of this module, you should be able to define what a selected-response item is, identify the benefits and challenges selected-response items present, know the four parts of a well-designed multiple-choice item and use the assessment blueprint to organize items in an assessment.

 

Supplemental Materials:

 

Conclusion
When you’re ready, let’s move on to the next module. It focuses on constructed-response items.

 


10. Constructed-Response Items

Introduction
In the last module, you learned about selected-response assessment items and, in particular, multiple-choice items. The module explored how to write selected-response items, when to use them, and what their strengths and weaknesses are for classroom assessment. You learned about how to write effective multiple-choice questions, right down to the level of how to create meaningful distractors.

The focus of this module is a different type of item—the constructed-response item. Again, you have probably written many constructed-response items. Our hope is that this module will help you take what you know and can do to the next level and that the completion of this module will be one more step you take on your journey to becoming a master assessment designer for your classroom.

 

Supplemental Materials:

 

Conclusion
When you’re ready, let’s move on to the third type of item: performance tasks.

 


11. Performance Tasks

Introduction
You’ve looked at two types of assessment items—selected response and constructed response. Now let’s move on to performance tasks. You likely design simple and complex performance tasks with regularity. They provide you with tremendous flexibility and they allow you to check your students’ higher-level thinking.

By the end of this module, you should be able to define what a performance task is, list a variety of performance tasks, identify the benefits and challenges of performance tasks, know that there is a “what-who-how” framework that you can use to design performance tasks, and use the assessment blueprint to design assessment items.

 

Supplemental Materials:

 

Conclusion
You now have completed modules on the three types of assessment items. We hope you will use what you’ve learned when you write or select your next assessment. Don’t hesitate to return to the modules or associated materials if you need to brush up on an item type. Now, let’s move on to the next module on portfolio assessments.

 


12. Portfolio Assessments

Introduction
You have finished watching videos about three different types of assessment items. Next we will discuss portfolio assessments. Portfolios are not a particular type of assessment item; they are full-bodied assessments, capable of housing a collection of other assessments that come together as a powerful display of student learning. Portfolios should be part of every masterful classroom assessment designer’s toolkit.

By the end of this module, you should be able to define a portfolio assessment, distinguish between its two types, identify the benefits and challenges of using portfolio assessments, and know that there is a “what-who-how” framework that you can use to design them.

 

Supplemental Materials:

 

Conclusion
You have completed the module on portfolios and are ready to move on to the final module of this series on assessment design. You are very close to addressing, and hopefully mastering, all of the objectives that we have established for this series of modules.