Assessment Learning Network

ALN Learning Points

Learning Points are brief documents describing a single topic related to educational assessment.

Each Learning Point is aligned to Michigan’s Assessment Literacy Standards.  Learning Points are created to support the Assessment Learning Network—a professional learning community of members from Michigan’s professional education organizations that aspires to increase the assessment literacy of Michigan’s professional educators.

Balanced Assessment Systems

What constitutes a high-quality, comprehensive, balanced assessment system?

This Learning Point provides an overview of the components of a balanced assessment system. 

Learning Point-What do we mean by interim/benchmark assessments

Interim benchmark assessments are described in this Learning Point.

Interim Assessment: What are some key characteristics?

Learn about some key characteristics you should know when selecting interim assessments. Also see "Learning Resource: Purposes for and Essential Characteristics of Interim Assessment".

Learning Resource-Purposes for and essential characteristics of interim assessment

This Learning Resource is a companion chart to the Learning Point, "Interim Assessment: What are some key characteristics?"

What are summative assessments?

This Learning Point describes some key characteristics of summative assessment and describes its role within a balanced assessment system.

What is summative assessment and how can it be used in the classroom?

Classroom-level summative assessments primarily serve the purposes of teachers, students, and families. This Learning Point describes various types of classroom assessment and the decisions they inform.

Performance Assessment – What is it and why is it useful?

Performance assessment is defined, and its use described, in this Learning Point.

Performance assessments in the visual arts classroom

This Learning Point describes how performance can be used in the arts.

What are diagnostic assessments?

Diagnostic tests are defined, and their use described, in this Learning Point. 

Start with purpose when choosing assessments

This Learning Point describes the basic steps in choosing an assessment for use in schools. 

What is collaborative scoring? Why can it be so valuable?

This Learning Point outlines how collaborative scoring is a means to assuring that student work is judged reliably and the training and act can be valuable professional learning and support more use of performance assessment.

How do we design assessment systems for modern learning?

This Learning Point summarizes a framework for curriculum elements and assessment principles that address all the learning goals we have for modern learners/21st century learners.

What do we mean by "equitable grading"?

This Learning Point raises awareness of how our common, century-old grading practices perpetuate achievement disparities, and describes the ways teachers and schools might move to more equitable grading practices.

The role of assessment in support of a multi-tiered system of support

This Learning Point will help to explain the critical role of a balanced assessment system and personnel that are highly skilled in the use of this assessment system to support effective implementation of multi-tiered system of support (MTSS).

Formative Assessment

What do we mean by formative assessment?

Formative assessment, as defined in the Michigan FAME program, is described in this Learning Point.

Formative assessment(s) or formative assessment? The "s" makes a difference.

This Learning Point describes the misconception that results when using the term “formative assessmentS” to describe the formative assessment PROCESS.

What conditions are necessary for successful implementation of formative assessment?

This Learning Point sumaraizes the conditions necessary for effective use of formative assessment practices in a classroom, as originally described in a white paper by Margaret Heritage, Nancy Gerzon, and Marie Mancuso

What is learner agency?

This Learning Point defines the term learner agency and explains how it is achieved through practices used with students in Assessment For Learning practices.

Planning: What role does it play in the formative assessment process?

This Learning Point describes one of the elements of formative assessment as defined in the Michigan FAME program.

What are learning targets?

This Learning Points provides a summary of how learning targets can be used to enhance instruction and student learning

What are learning progressions?

This Learning Point describes what a learning progression is and why it is integral to formative assessment.

Models of proficient achievement: Why are they important?

This Learning Point explains why and how models of proficient achievement are important in the formative assessment process to support learners

Prior knowledge: Why is activating it important in the formative assessment process?

This Learning Point explains why and how activating prior knowledge is important to the formative assessment process.

What is gathering evidence of student understanding?

This Learning Point outlines how to elicit evidence of student understanding of expressed learning targets using three instructional routines during delivery of lessons and the students role in the process.

What are teacher questioning strategies?

This Learning Point explains questioning strategies as a powerful tool for teachers and students to collect and use information about student understanding in order to move learning forward.

What is skillful use of questions?

This Learning Point examines the skillful use of questions as a means to elicit evidence of student understanding in the formative assessment process.

What is formative feedback? Why is feedback from the teacher important?

This Learning Point indicates formative feedback is a high impact strategy on student learning and achievement and an essential component in the formative assessment process.

What is feedback from peers?

This Learning Point indicates peers can provide & receive effective formative feedback to move their learning forward.

What is student self-assessment?

This Learning Point identifies five things teachers have to teach students for them to effectively engage in self-assessment.

What are adjustments to teaching?

This Learning point describes the ongoing changes that teachers make to adjust teaching and learning and based on evidence in order to improve students'achievement of intended learning outcomes.

What are adjustments to learning?

This Learn Point outlines the process a teacher uses in which students receive feedback that they can use to make adjustments in their learning tactics and set goals to improve their current and future work.

Online formative assessment strategies that help students with disabilities

Effective use of the formative assessment process can improve learning for all students, and it is particularly helpful for students with disabilities. And it can be especially important for distance learning, which sometimes can feel to students like an endless “to-do” list with no particular goal in mind.