State and Local Assessment > Assessment Design

Assessment Design

Development of High-Quality Local Assessments 

A Design Overview

Step 1: Define Purpose of Assessment

Is it diagnostic, formative, or summative? How will the results be used by students? By teachers? By the school or district? By others?

Step 2: Identify "Fair Game" in Terms of Standards

Which standards may be assessed?

Step 3: Balance of Representation

What is the relative weight to be assigned to each standard or cluster of standards? For example, a social studies assessment might be 40% history, 30% geography, 20% economics, and 10% civics. The balance of representation should reflect the relative importance of the standards or standard cluster for this assessment, based on the emphasis of the unit, the marking period, or the course. This will vary from unit to unit, marking period to marking period, and course to course.

Step 4: Develop an Assessment Blueprint

What item types will be included in the assessment and in what proportion? Common item types include multiple choice items, short-answer items, griddable items, and constructed response items. Decisions regarding item types for local common assessments require considering the standards assessed, the assessment time available, and the investment of time and effort in scoring. The assessment blueprint will connect the standards being assessed to the items and item types to be selected or developed.

Step 5: Select or Develop Items

Use high quality items that are available in item banks, from TEA, or develop items. In initially selecting or developing items, it is best to select many more items than you actually need. This is especially true for the simulations.

Step 6: Field Test Items

Use field tested items when possible. There are several statistics that can be used to judge the appropriateness of items such as item difficulty, item discrimination, bias, and Cronbach alpha.

Step 7: Develop the Assessment

Be careful not to select all very difficult or all very easy items. Use the item difficulty, item discrimination data, and depth of knowledge to build a balanced assessment.

Step 8: Administer and Score the Assessment

Set up common protocols for administration. These may include, for example, a common set of instructions, common protocols for response to students' questions, and materials allowable (such as dictionaries or calculators). If the assessment includes constructed response items, it is important to train and calibrate scorers.

Step 9: Set Cut Scores

Decide what the performance level will be. This is typically done by setting "cut scores."