assessments-common core

How to Create Assessments for The Common Core

Is there a ‘best’ assessment?

An important mindset to remember, explained McTighe, is that there’s no single best measure, because “every measure has a flaw. There’s no one measure that can accurately assess a student’s deep level of knowledge.”

Instead, McTighe described that a good assessment has multiple measures included to limit the number of flaws within each individual measure, leading to a more accurate assessment.

“Sound assessments require multiple sources of evidence, collected over time. Think of mediocre assessments as a photo snapshot, which shows a moment in time. Good assessments are an album, or a video, which reveals an entire process,” said McTighe.

For McTighe, there are many possible assessment approaches and methods, and though no one method is perfect, process-focused assessments, which incorporate features such as oral questioning, observation, learning logs, and more, are preferable.


“Primary grade teachers, who apply many of these features into the classroom, are usually the most skilled at implementing and understanding the outcomes of process-focused assessments,” he said. “It’s time educators in higher grade levels began incorporating these features more heavily in their own classrooms.”

McTighe emphasized that assessments that measure these student performance tasks should be based on a curriculum geared towards critical thinking.

“A good idea, too, is to let the students know the tasks they are about to perform and why it’s important they develop these skills,” he noted. “This can help students focus and consolidate their learning, which makes for better performance on their assessments.”

McTighe mentioned the Literacy Design Collaborative  that provides performance task templates teachers can use when developing assessments. For example, a template for English/Language Arts can read:

“After reading ___ (literature of informational text), write ___ (essay or substitute) that compares ___ (content) and argues ___ (content). Be sure to support your position with evidence from the texts.”

(Next page: Authentic questions and advice to remember)

Sign up for our K-12 newsletter

Newsletter: Innovations in K12 Education
By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Meris Stansbury

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at

eSchool News uses cookies to improve your experience. Visit our Privacy Policy for more information.