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Classroom Assessments

Classroom assessment is primarily made up of formative and summative assessments. These assessments may occur using the following methods: selected response, constructed responses, technology enhanced, products and personal communication. Assessments are not only paper and pencil or computer based type tests, but performances, creation of products, and communication between the students and teacher through dialogue or writing.

Professional development and technical assistance in the development of classroom and district assessments are available. Information on assessments is provided below.

Types of Assessment Items


Multiple Choice 

An item written that offers students two or more answers from which to select the best answer to the question or stem statement

An item written that makes a statement for which students must determine whether it is true or false; student may also be asked to rewrite a false statement to make it true

Two sets of provided items that are paired by the student according to the directions provided by teacher

A provided stem statement that includes one blank for either a word, words, or phrase to be provided by the student or may be selected from among choices provided by the teacher

Constructed Responses

Short answer (brief constructed response) 
Student provides a brief response to a posed question that may be a few words, a listing, or a few sentences

Student provides words for a picture or diagram to identify components; answers may be provided from which student selects and places in the appropriate places

Show your work/Explain/Justify 
Students include answer and any computation or graphic representation used to arrive at an answer; and/or justification or explanation for their answer , and or justification or explanation (can help clarify degree of understanding or misunderstanding)

Visual Representation
Students may construct webs, graphs, flow charts, matrices, or illustrations to demonstrate knowledge and understanding

Essays or Extended Responses
Students respond to a prompt or set of questions in several paragraphs

Performance Based Tasks
An assessment that includes several activities that are related and require students to construct a response, create a product, or perform a demonstration which are evaluated by a set of criteria

Personal Communication (Process-Focused) 
A method for assessing student progress based on structured interviews, dialogues, "think aloud", learning logs or journals, interviews, conferences, observations

Technology Enhanced

Smarter Balanced definition

Technology Enhanced Items (TEI): Computer delivered items that include specialized interactions for response and/or accompanying response data. These include interactions/responses that are not selected-response or textentry. TEI may include digital media as the stimulus (e.g., sound, video, interactive widget, etc.).

Example of 7 Technology Enhanced Item Types on Common Core Testing

1. Drag and Drop: This item type does exactly what the name implies. Students need to drag an item from one part of the screen to another.

  • Ways Drag and Drop was used in sample items: In ELA, the Drag and Drop functionality included tiles with statements from an accompanying text. Those tiles were then dragged to a designated area on screen to identify multiple details in a text, sequence events in a story or process steps in information texts, complete graphic organizers, identify supporting evidence, arrange a summary, and identify central ideas. In Math, the tiles contained numbers or equations and were dragged to categorize types of questions, arrange answers in numerical order, and match expressions with word forms

2. Multiple Select: This item type is most similar to a traditional standardized test format. It is a multiple choice question, but instead of just one correct answer, there are many, and students must choose all of them to get the question correct.

  • Ways Multiple Select was used in sample items: In ELA, Multiple Select functionality included choosing multiple themes or central ideas in a text, multiple synonyms or antonyms for a vocabulary word, and multiple supporting details. In Math, Multiple Select items included selecting multiple equivalent fractions, equivalent equations, and equivalent amounts of measurement.

3.Text Selection/Highlighting: This item type requires students to click on words, phrases, or entire sentences as a way to answer questions about specific parts of a text.

  • Ways Text Selection/Highlighting was used in sample items: In ELA, students were prompted to select claims that supported a central idea, or to choose sentences that provided context for a vocabulary word by clicking on the text provided. The selected text would either highlight or turn a different color. This item type was not used for math questions on sample tests or practice items.

4. Equation Builder: This item is like a mini word processor that includes specialized mathematical symbols, ranging from simple division signs to more complex trigonometric symbols, such as sin and cosine.

  • Ways Equation Builder was used in sample items: The Equation Editor was not used in released ELA items. This item type was used in Math to build and solve questions related to word problems and to justify answers to problems by showing both equations and typing written responses. Students were also asked to evaluate the mathematical processes and responses calculated by others and show their work to prove their answers.

5. Drop Down Menus: This item type includes a menu that expands when clicked on. From the expanded menu, students can see possible answer choices. They click on the word or number that completes the answer, based on context.

  • Ways Drop Down Menus were used in sample items: The Drop Down Menus were not used in released ELA items. This item type was used in math to build and solve equations, choose the correct label for answers, and build charts of equivalent values.

6.Constructed Response: This item is an embedded word processor. It has simple word processing functionality, like the ability to change text size and style and to cut, copy and paste.

  • Ways Constructed Responses were used in sample items: In ELA, the Constructed Response functionality was used as a way for students to answer questions that needed to include textual evidence. This item was also used for students to revise and rewrite given passages, add conclusions to stories, and write arguments opposing a given text. Math questions using this item asked students to explain numerical results, explain given solutions, and write down steps for problem solving. When this item was used in Math, no equations or numerical input was required.

7. Multiple Part Question: This item is not a new item type; rather it is a new way of organizing items. The Multiple Part Question asks related, tiered questions using a combination of other enhanced item types.

  • Ways Multiple Part Questions were used in sample items: In ELA, the Multiple Part Question included a passage for students to read and two to four different types of questions to answer. Each question part was related to the one before it; for example a question in Part A might asked students to identify the theme of the text and then Part B was a Multiple Select question asking students to choose each statement from the text that supported their answer in Part A. In math, a student had to solve an equation using Drop Down menus in Part A and then justify their answer to Part A in a Constructed Response in Part B
7 Technology Enhanced Item Types You’ll See On Common Core Tests This Spring

Performance Assessment

The terms assessment, testing and evaluation are frequently used interchangeably. However, these terms have different meanings. Assessmentis the umbrella term used to describe the process of collecting information and then synthesizing the information to help understand and describe. Testing is one type of assessment and generally has a paper-and-pencil format, with time limits and restricted access to resources. Evaluation relates to the process of making judgment on quality, value or worth based on criteria.

Performance Assessment or Tasks seeks to collect information about a student's ability to understand and apply knowledge and process skills in real world situations. The purpose of these assessments is to promote learning not merely measure it. Performance assessments use multiple sources of information and provide fair, valid and reliable information.

* based on "Assessing Learning in the Classroom," Jay McTighe and Stephen Ferrara, 1995.