ISM Learning Framework


Assessment refers to the wide variety of methods or tools that teachers use to evaluate, measure, and document the academic readiness, learning progress, skills acquisition, or educational needs of students. This process is not only limited to giving summative tests but expands to various strategies that inform and promote learning. Assessments in ISM are designed at the service of learning and not learning at the service of assessment. Conversely, the purpose of grading and reporting is to inform pertinent stakeholders about learning progress and the collective growth of ISM. Grading and reporting are only part and parcel of the entire assessment process. – Reference: Glossary of Education Reform

Seven Practices for Effective Assessment

  • Summative assessments clarify targeted standards and benchmarks both for teachers and students.
  • Performance assessment tasks yield evidence that reveals transferable understanding.
  • Presenting the authentic performance tasks at the beginning of a new unit or course provides meaningful learning goal for students.
  • Assessment practice that supports learning involves presenting evaluative criteria and models of work that illustrate different levels of quality.
  • Authentic performance assessments are typically open-ended and do not yield a single, correct answer or solution process.
  • Evaluation of authentic products and performances must be based on explicitly defined performance criteria or rubric.
  • Diagnostic assessment is as important to teaching as a physical exam is to prescribing an appropriate medical regimen.
  • A variety of practical pre-assessment strategies, including pre-tests of content knowledge, skills checks, concept maps, drawings, and K-W-L (Know-Want to learn-Learn) charts may be used as diagnostic tools.
  • Powerful pre-assessment has the potential to address learning misconceptions (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 1999; Gardner, 1991): A sizeable number of students come into school with misconceptions about subject matter (thinking that a heavier object will drop faster than a lighter one, for example) and about themselves as learners (assuming that they can’t and never will be able to draw, for example).
  • If misconceptions are not identified and confronted, they will persist even in the face of good teaching.
  • Students differ not only in how they prefer to take in and process information but also in how they best demonstrate their learning.
  • they best demonstrate their learning.
  • Responsiveness in assessment is as important as it is in teaching. Assessment becomes responsive when students are given appropriate options for demonstrating knowledge, skills, and understanding.
  • Teachers need to collect appropriate evidence of learning on the basis of goals rather than simply offer a “cool” menu of assessment choices. Assessment options must be worth the time and energy required.
  • All kinds of learning, whether on the practice field or in the classroom, require feedback based on formative assessments.
  • Feedback must meet four criteria: It must be timely, specific, understandable to the receiver, and formed to allow for self-adjustment on the student’s part (Wiggins, 1998). Feedback on strengths and weaknesses needs to be prompt and specific for the learner to improve. The learner needs the opportunity to act on the feedback.
  • The most effective learners set personal learning goals, employ proven strategies, and self-assess their work.
  • Teachers help cultivate such habits of mind by modeling self-assessment and goal setting and by expecting students to apply these habits regularly.
  • Criteria, models, exemplars, and rubrics can help students become more effective at honest self-appraisal and productive self-improvement.
  • Educators who provide regular opportunities for learners to self-assess and set goals often impact change in the classroom culture.
  • Classroom assessments and grading should focus on how well—not on when—the student mastered the designated knowledge and skill.
  • Allowing new evidence to replace the old conveys an important message to students—that teachers care about their successful learning, not merely their grades.


  • Students are more likely to put forth the required effort when there is:
  • Clarity of Tasks—when they clearly understand the learning goal and know how teachers will evaluate their learning (Practices 1 and 2).
  • Relevance—when they think the learning goals and assessments are meaningful and worth learning (Practice 1).
  • Potential for success—when they believe they can successfully learn and meet the evaluative expectations (Practices 3–7).

McTighe, Jay. O’Connor Ken. Educational Leadership: Assessment to Promote Learning. Vol 63. No 3, pages 10-17. Seven Practices for Effective Learning. ASCD. 2005. (used with permission)