Book Review: Teacher-Made Assessments

How do you ensure your assessments are valid, reliable, developmentally appropriate, AND align to the cognitive level of your instructional outcomes?


Have you ever created an assessment for your students and wondered if it truly gave you an understanding of where to move next in your instruction? Have you administered a district assessment or one from your school’s adopted resources, and wondered about its reliability and validity based on the items it included? Have you ever been frustrated by giving an assessment that didn’t help inform you about your students’ progress?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, Teacher-Made Assessments by Christopher Gareis and Leslie Grant is a must read. It ensures we come to the table with the ability to both create our own high-quality assessments and to critically evaluate a wide variety of assessments we are asked to administer. To be intentional in our instruction, we must value assessments that provide us timely feedback about the varying needs of our learners. The ongoing data we collect, based on our informed development of assessments, is crucial when planning lessons that accelerate outcomes for our students.

The book cites a study in which researchers examined teacher-created tests across varied content areas and grade levels ranging from kindergarten through 12th. Specifically, the research aimed to assess the cognitive challenge of test items using Bloom’s Taxonomy. A startling 72 percent of researched test items required students to answer knowledge-level questions, while 11 percent required comprehension, 15 percent application, and 1 percent analysis.

We can do better. Our assessments must align with outcomes that push our students to think critically and challenge them beyond knowledge and comprehension-level thinking. The book walks through the steps to develop valid, reliable, rigorous, and developmentally appropriate assessments.

Dr. Leslie Grant will be returning to the Arizona K12 Center for a six-day series titled Assessment Literacy: Strengthening Teacher-Made Assessments to Improve Student Learning.  

This professional development series includes a three-phase approach to developing assessment literacy through the creation of teacher-made assessments aligning to the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards. For additional details and to register, visit the Arizona K12 Website.

Learn more about how one teacher implemented her assessment literacy training with astounding results here.

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