• Sara Needleman

Assessment Mapping

This post provides a deeper look into the ideas of equity of opportunity, one of JumpRope’s Core Values.

Many of us know from years of studying backward design and turning to Wiggins and McTighe for inspiration and guidance that our best planning begins with the end. We need to be very clear on what we want our students to know, understand, and be able to do before we begin instruction. One of the tools I like to use and that I ask all of my graduate students to use is an assessment map. An assessment map is different from a curriculum map and while both are helpful to us for long-range planning, the assessment map should be designed first. Think of it this way: the curriculum map is about the large scale inputs while the assessment map is about the large scale outputs. The assessment map helps us consider the collection of outputs, check that we are not accidentally omitting things, and examine our decisions for how frequently to assess each of our stated outcomes (targets, indicators, etc..) Once I create my assessment map, I can invest time in the components necessary for a curriculum map. Those include things like a deep knowledge of my students’ abilities and barriers, their learning preferences, time constraints, and available materials. But before I look at those variables, I map my course assessments.

Below you’ll see an annotated template for one version of an assessment map. For guidance or a refresher on how to derive a long term learning target (LTLT) from an indicator, take a look at this post. As you create an assessment map, it’s useful to know the duration of time for which you are mapping. As a reminder, Marzano encourages us to plan instruction and assessment for approximately 25 outcomes in a given year-long course. In addition to the template below, here are examples of assessment maps created by my graduate students in English, math, science, social studies, and world languages. Please note that since these maps were created for an academic assignment, some of them represent a sampling of assessments as opposed to a complete set of assessments.

Unit 1, for example, might take place in September. I would use it to address and assess certain LTLTs derived from the unpacked indicators. I would include here all the LTLTs in this unit. Those LTLTs might address a single indicator or they might address several.

The “Indicators Addressed” column ultimately will show all the indicators I am responsible for assessing (and therefore teaching) in each unit. Once my map is complete, I can see if I have planned to assess some indicators more than others and determine if that is appropriate. I can make changes to my map accordingly.

“Name of Summative Assessment” is really just a way to know which assessment I am referring to.

I like to include “Method of Assessment” as a way to ensure I design assessments to meet the full range of learners in my classroom and various types of thinking the content will demand. The methods are selected response, constructed or written response, personal communication, and performance, as referenced by Stiggins.

It’s imperative to include the “Corresponding Formative Assessments” column as a way to encourage me to build in frequent, low stakes, wide-ranging formative assessments to support my students as they move toward the summative assessment.

The process of creating the assessment map gets me to think about what my students need to learn through their work with me. The items I put into the assessment map ultimately become a partial guide for how I will get my students to that learning. The categories I use in the template above encourage me to think carefully about how to assess effectively, both in terms of who my learners are and the content we address. A map like this one also urges me to mindfully include formative assessments to ensure steady learning en route to the summative assessment. As I do my big picture planning for any course I teach or for a coming school year, I rely on the creation of an assessment map to ground me and point me forward.

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