Table of Contexts

  • Summary of HLPs 4, 5 and 6 related to Assessment
  • Common types of assessment used in the classroom
  • Baseline/ Preassessment data for lesson planning
  • Lesson Planning Requirements
  • Baseline Data and Analysis-section of the lesson plan
  • Formative Assessment
  • Rubrics
  • Running Records
  • Exit Ticket
  • Voices from the Field

There are 22 High Leverage Practices (HLPs) for K-12 Special Education Teachers. In this chapter the focus is on HLPs (4-6), related to assessment,

  • HLP 4: Use multiple sources of information to develop a comprehensive understanding of a student’s strengths and needs.
  • HLP 5: Interpret and communicate assessment information with stakeholders to collaboratively design and implement educational programs.
  • HLP 6: After special education teachers develop instructional goals, they evaluate and make ongoing adjustments to students’ instructional programs.

Adapted from McLeskey, J., Barringer, M-D., Billingsley, B., Brownell, M., Jackson, D., Kennedy, M., Lewis, T., Maheady, L., Rodriguez, J., Scheeler, M. C., Winn, J., & Ziegler, D. (2017, January). High-leverage practices in special education. Arlington, VA: Council for Exceptional Children & CEEDAR Center.   (Permission is granted to reproduce and adapt any portion of this publication with acknowledgement)

Assessment plays a foundational role in special education. Students with disabilities are complex learners who have unique needs that exist alongside their strengths. Effective special education teachers have to fully understand those strengths and needs. Thus, these teachers are knowledgeable regarding assessment and are skilled in using and interpreting data. This includes formal, standardized assessments that are used in identifying students for special education services, developing students’ IEPs, and informing ongoing services. Formal assessments such as statewide exams also provide data regarding whether students with disabilities are achieving state content standards and how their academic progress compares to students without disabilities. Teachers are also knowledgeable about and skillful in using informal assessments, such as those used to evaluate students’ academic, behavioral, and functional strengths and needs. These assessments are used to develop students’ IEPs, design and evaluate instruction, and monitor student progress. As reflective practitioners, special educators also continuously analyze the effect and effectiveness of their own instruction. Finally, these teachers are knowledgeable regarding how context, culture, language, and poverty might influence student performance; navigating conversations with families and other stakeholders; and choosing appropriate assessments given each student’s profile.

This is an especially important consideration, given the overrepresentation of culturally and linguistically diverse students and those from high poverty backgrounds in special education (see Linn & Hemmer, 2011; U.S. Department of Education, 2016; Zhang & Katisyannis, 2002).

HLP 4: Use multiple sources of information to develop a comprehensive understanding of a student’s strengths and needs.

To develop a deep understanding of a student’s learning needs, special educators compile a comprehensive learner profile through the use of a variety of assessment measures and other sources (e.g., information from parents, general educators, other stakeholders) that are sensitive to language and culture, to (a) analyze and describe students’ strengths and needs and (b) analyze the school-based learning environments to determine potential supports and barriers to students’ academic progress. Teachers should collect, aggregate, and interpret data from multiple sources (e.g., informal and formal observations, work samples, curriculum-based measures, functional behavior assessment [FBA], school files, analysis of curriculum, information from families, other data sources). This information is used to create an individualized profile of the student’s strengths and needs.

Students with disabilities present a wide range of both strengths and needs, in a variety of areas (e.g., academic, social, emotional, adaptive and organizational, communication)—which must be understood in order to develop instruction specially designed to meet their needs. Their varied needs are most often the result of problems with attention, memory, language, emotional regulation, social regulation, and motivation due to repeated failure (Vaughn & Bos, 2014), and these underlying needs can interfere with their ability to achieve successful outcomes. There is evidence in the field of learning disabilities that perform­ance on specific language and cognitive variables (e.g., phonological awareness, rapid letter naming, oral language skills, morphological awareness) can be used to identify students who need the most intensive, ongoing intervention (e.g., Al Otaiba & Fuchs, 2006; Fletcher et al., 2011; D. Fuchs et al., 2012). Further, response to instruction in reading and mathematics remains one of the strongest predictors of future performance (Katz, Stone, Carlisle, Corey, & Zeng, 2008; Vaughn, Linan-Thompson, & Hickman, 2003).

Environmental factors can play a role in student learning and behavior. Culture, language, and family poverty (along with the teachers’ response to these factors) can influence students’ behavior and learning (Hammer et al., 2012; Judge & Bell, 2010; Samson & Lesaux, 2009). The instructional environment also can affect what students are learning. Well organized environments where student needs are supported positively influences students’ learning and behavior (Murray & Greenburg, 2006).

Findings from research on individual learner characteristics, response to instruc­tion, and the role of environmental factors in student learning suggest that special education teachers need to develop comprehensive learner profiles. These profiles should delineate students’ strengths and needs, describe how culture and language might be influencing a student’s performance, contain information about students’ instructional environments, and show how students are responding to instruction. A comprehensive learner profile, continually revised based on instructional and behavioral data, is essential to develop, implement, evaluate, and revise instruction in ways that are sensitive to the individual students’ strengths and needs.

To develop a learner profile, special education teachers need to collect, over time, information from a variety of sources and synthesize that information in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of the student. These sources include, but are not limited to:

  • Comprehensive, multidisciplinary assessments that produce information about cognitive and language variables;
  • Discussions with students’ family members that provide information about students’ interests and motivations and how they adapt to their home and community environment;
  • Curriculum-based measurement data that can be used to provide information about student progress in different curricular areas (Deno, Fuchs, Marston, & Shin, 2001);
  • Student interviews and surveys that generate data about students’ interests in an academic area and their strategic approach to tasks (Montague, 1996);
  • Inventories, classroom checklists, and student work samples that can be used to help teachers understand the students’ strengths and needs in an academic area (e.g., Leslie & Caldwell, 2015); and
  • Direct observation of classroom performance and behavior (e.g., functional behavioral assessment) that can be used to help teachers gather information such as how students perform a task and how students respond to different behavior and learning supports.

As special education teachers collect information, they need to look for and interpret patterns in the data, as this will help them to synthesize the information they are collecting and to use the collected data for educational decision making. The synthesis of information can be used to develop a comprehensive profile of the individual student’s strengths, needs, interests, and motivation in different areas, both academic and nonacademic. Understandings gained from these individual profiles can be used to communicate with professionals and parents in order to develop a team-based approach to the education of students with disabilities—one where information is used continually to design, evaluate, and revise instruction.

*In each clinical course, teacher candidates will develop one or more student profiles and develop lessons to address the learning needs of the PreK-12 student.

HLP 5: Interpret and communicate assessment information with stakeholders to collaboratively design and implement educational programs.

Teachers interpret assessment information for stakeholders (i.e., other professionals, families, students) and involve them in the assessment, goal development, and goal implementation process.”] Special educators must understand each assessment’s purpose, help key stakeholders understand how culture and language influence interpretation of data generated, and use data to collaboratively develop and implement individualized education and transition plans that include goals that are standards-based, appropriate accommodations and modifications, and fair grading practices, and transition goals that are aligned with student need.

IDEA recognizes the important role that a team plays in the evaluation of students and their ongoing education. One of the central components of providing services for students with disabilities is convening a team of stakeholders that includes key professionals and family members to collaboratively create an IEP (Council for Exceptional Children, n.d.). A high-quality IEP is the primary mechanism to individualize and assist students with disabilities in making progress. The special education teacher’s role as a team member is to consider the student’s strengths and needs based on assessment information and work collaboratively with the entire team to design an educational plan that, when implemented, will produce maximum benefit for the student. Because implementation and assessment of the educational plan are ongoing, special education teachers need to be able to interpret and communicate assessment results regularly with other teachers, staff, and families as part of the effort to monitor a student’s response to instruction.

The first step in this process is to gather the assessment information and make it available to the IEP team, communicating the results in a format that is easily understood by all team members.

For some team members, the assessment data may need to be interpreted with regard to its importance to developing goals, choosing appropriate accommodations and modifications, and identifying fair grading practices. Research indicates that parents often feel overwhelmed and anxious at IEP meetings, and family members have reported they understand none or only some of the information presented at the IEP meeting (Hammond, Ingalls, & Trussell, 2008). When parents are involved in the assessment process from the start they are better able to understand the purposes of the assessments and the results. In addition, parental involvement in the assessment process encourages consideration of culture and language factors and the role they may play in interpreting assessment results. Understanding the assessment challenges of students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds is vital because this population of students is disproportionately represented in special education (see Abedi, 2006; Chu & Flores, 2011; Linn & Hemmer, 2011; U.S. Department of Education, 2016; Zhang & Katisyannis, 2002). Special education teachers must take an active role in communicating assessment data and gauging the understanding of all team members, paying particular attention to families’ understandings.

Assessment results that are based on parental input encourage respectful treatment of families and values their expertise (Fish, 2008; Wolfe & Duran, 2013). Parents provide insights about their child, as well as discuss the goals they have for their child and what they hope the school can do to best support their child. Providing families with information about assessment data prior to eligibility and IEP meetings can help families prepare for team meetings, allowing them to generate questions they may have and alleviating feelings of being overwhelmed and having too much information to understand (Lo, 2008; Wolfe & Duran, 2013). The special education teacher may also serve as an advocate for the family. During meetings with the team, it is often the special education teacher’s responsibility to make sure that assessment data are presented in clear and understandable terms and that all team members have time to ask questions and describe supports that they believe would be important for the student.

Finally, special education teachers are tasked with communicating initial and ongoing assessment data with other teachers and support staff. Students’ IEPs are continually revised based on assessment data. Teachers and staff use assessment data to understand if interventions are effective and adjust instruction accordingly.

*This aspect of assessment will be further addressed in the IEP and Transition Planning and Assessment of Students with Disabilities courses.

HLP 6: After special education teachers develop instructional goals, they evaluate and make ongoing adjustments to students’ instructional programs.

Once instruction and other supports are designed and implemented, special education teachers have the skill to manage and engage in ongoing data collection using curriculum-based measures, informal classroom assessments, observations of student academic performance and behavior, self-assessment of classroom instruction, and discussions with key stakeholders (i.e., students, families, other professionals). Teachers study their practice to improve student learning, validate reasoned hypotheses about salient instructional features, and enhance instructional decision making. Effective teachers retain, reuse, and extend practices that improve student learning and adjust or discard those that do not.

Commonly Assessments Used in Schools

This section is a concise overview of the more common assessments used in schools.

Assessment. Authored by: S. Abbot (Ed.). Provided by: Great Schools Partnership. Located at: Project: The Glossary of Education Reform. License: CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Assessments also are used to identify individual student weaknesses and strengths so that educators can provide specialized academic support, educational programming, and/or social services. While assessment can take a wide variety of forms in education, the following descriptions provide a representative overview of a few major forms of educational assessment;

  • Pre-assessments are administered before students begin a lesson, unit, course, or academic program. Students are not necessarily expected to know most, or even any, of the material evaluated by pre-assessments—they are generally used to (1) establish a baseline against which educators measure learning progress over the duration of a program, course, or instructional period, or (2) determine general academic readiness for a course, program, grade level, or new academic program that student may be transferring into.
  • Formative assessments are in-process evaluations of student learning that are typically administered multiple times during a unit, course, or academic program. The general purpose of formative assessment is to give educators in-process feedback about what students are learning or not learning so that instructional approaches, teaching materials, and academic support can be modified accordingly. Formative assessments are not always scored or graded, and they may take a variety of forms, from more formal quizzes and assignments to informal questioning techniques and in-class discussions with students.
  • Summative assessments are used to evaluate student learning at the conclusion of a specific instructional period—typically at the end of a unit, course, semester, program, or school year. Summative assessments are typically scored and graded tests, assignments, or projects that are used to determine whether students have learned what they were expected to learn during the defined instructional period.
  • Performance assessments typically require students to complete a complex task, such as a writing assignment, science experiment, speech, presentation, performance, or long-term project, for example. Educators will often use collaboratively developed common assessments, scoring guides, rubrics, and other methods to evaluate whether the work produced by students shows that they have learned what they were expected to learn. Performance assessments may also be called “authentic assessments,” since they are considered by some educators to be more accurate and meaningful evaluations of learning achievement than traditional tests.
  • Portfolio-based assessments are collections of academic work—for example, assignments, lab results, writing samples, speeches, student-created films, or art projects—that are compiled by students and assessed by teachers in consistent ways. Portfolio-based assessments are often used to evaluate a “body of knowledge”—i.e., the acquisition of diverse knowledge and skills over a period of time. Portfolio materials can be collected in physical or digital formats, and they are often evaluated to determine whether students have met required learning standards.
  • Learning-needs identification: Educators use a wide range of assessments and assessment methods to identify specific student learning needs, diagnose learning disabilities (such as autism, dyslexia, or nonverbal learning disabilities), evaluate language ability, or determine eligibility for specialized educational services. In recent years, the early identification of specialized learning needs and disabilities, and the proactive provision of educational support services to students, has been a major focus of numerous educational reform strategies.

The purpose of an assessment generally drives the way it is designed, and there are many ways in which assessments can be used.  A portfolio of student work can be a used as both a “formative” and “summative” form of assessment. Teacher-created assessments, which may also be created by teams of teachers, are commonly used in a single course or grade level in a school.  In short, assessments are usually created for highly specialized purposes.

Assessment that enhances motivation and student confidence

Studies on testing and learning conducted more than 20 years ago demonstrated that tests promote learning and that more frequent tests are more effective than less frequent tests (Dempster & Perkins, 1993). Frequent smaller tests encourage continuous effort rather than last minute cramming and may also reduce test anxiety because the consequences of errors are reduced. More recent research indicates that teachers’ assessment purpose and beliefs, the type of assessment selected, and the feedback given contributes to the assessment climate in the classroom which influences students’ confidence and motivation. The use of self-assessment is also important in establishing a positive assessment climate.   (Seifert and Sutton, 2009)

In this general special education, entry level clinical course, the focus in your lesson planning will be on pre-assessment and formative assessment. 

Baseline/ Pre-Assessment for lesson planning

The purpose of pre-assessment/baseline data is to find out what the students know and don’t know to help plan your lessons for your specific students. For example, if you are going to be starting a new unit in math, how to add and subtract. Just by asking the students “What does addition mean?”, “What does subtraction mean” and, “Do they relate to each other?”, the teacher would be able to know that the students had a good basic knowledge of the information and could start on application-based activities. Doing a pre-assessment before each unit or lesson will help teachers use their time teaching student’s new information and save time by not teaching them what they may already know.  (Wikipedia, n.d.)

The pre assessment/baseline data will also help teachers tailor their teaching to the needs of the class and individual students. This data can further explain areas of weakness, and reduce time spend in areas where students already understand the concepts.  Even though their knowledge may be partial or incorrect, finding out what their understandings are and adjusting teaching strategies to build on or correct misconceptions will enhance their learning.  (CDIP Community Commons, n.d).

After the pre-assessment is complete teachers need to evaluate and organize that data and create or adjust their lesson plan. Once students are taught and are ready to be assessed again the teacher may make a new test or use the pre-assessment again. Pre-assessment can be used in many ways and can be effective in any classroom if used properly. (Wikipedia, n.d.)

Watch this short video overview of Pre Assessments

*In this video measurable learning objectives (MLOs) are referred to as specific learning objectives (SLOs).

[Online Learning],(2016, May 24). Introduction to Pre-Assessments. [Video File]. Retrieved from

Lesson Planning Requirements

Before developing lesson and unit plans, the teacher candidate will collect baseline data related to the content area standard of the planned instruction. This is the starting point for learning. Baseline data will be collected through a lesson or unit pre-assessment.  This baseline data may include data from other sources that inform the student’s ability level of other skills that are prerequisite to the planned instruction.

The pre-assessment will inform the teacher regarding the students prior knowledge of the content area focus, target skill or concept. This will help to avoid teaching a skill the student has already mastered or inform the teacher that the student as not yet acquired the prerequisite skills need for the entry point of instruction that the teacher anticipated.

The pre-assessment does not need to be lengthy. However, it should include a mix of simple and more complex questions to enable students to respond at their level of understanding and to provide the teacher with information regarding each student’s prior knowledge and current entry point or baseline knowledge of the target skill.

What Does a Preassessment Look Like?

Fractions Skills: Pre Assessment from Jennifer Findley. The document begins with a page of “I can” statements related to beginning level working with fractions skills. Pages 2-3 include a preassessment that begins at an entry level and progresses to higher level skills around working with fractions.

Baseline Data and Analysis- Sections of the less0n plan

Section two of GSC’s lesson plan depicts the prior evidence and baseline data that justifies the lesson objective and calls for an analysis of this data.  To earn full points on this portion of the lesson plan, the baseline data must be gathered from a pretest directly targeting the skills to be taught in the lesson.  In sequential lessons with objectives that build on one another, new prior evidence might include the data and work samples from the most recent preceding lesson.

Once pretest data has been collected, it must be analyzed to determine an appropriate instructional response for each student.  To do so, consider proficiency in regard to your objective as described above.  Which students are close to proficiency based on their pretest data?  Which students are far from proficiency and will need scaffolded support to move toward mastery?  Complete an error analysis for each student’s pretest mistakes and describe the results in section 2b.  Next, look for patterns in student understanding and misunderstanding in an effort to determine possible student groupings during the lesson.  Consider representing your data in a graph or chart to bring these patterns to light.

To earn full credit for analysis of data, the data analysis must be clearly related to the activities planned in the lesson.  The analysis must identify patterns of concerns (related to the objective) for both the class as a whole and individual students. The lesson’s data analysis must lead to purposeful planning of instructional strategies and assessments further along in the lesson plan.

(Kolling and Sumway-Pitt)

2a Pretest Data – this is your preassessment.

Data should include quantitative data (numerical) and qualitative data (observation)

 Link to a pre-assessment to show what the pre-assessment looked like in addition to providing a brief description of the assessment and the data when the assessment was given.

Create a table with the pre-assessment results showing how the whole class or your small intervention group did and then break it down by how each student did on the assessment:

2b. Analysis of the Data

  1. Discuss your students’ strengths and weaknesses on the assessment.
  2. Point out and explain any outliers on the assessment.
  3. Draw some conclusions.
  4. Discuss what your PLN observed when you showed them these results and explain any suggestions they made.
  5. As a result, what direction do you need to go in after looking at this data and listening to your PLN? Why? In other words, how does this data influence your lesson plans? What will you spend the most time on and why? How will this influence your groupings? Will you need to include centers to ensure you have some one on one time with students?

You will use the baseline data you have collected to:

  1. Write/revise lesson objective(s)
  2. Identify how to differentiate instruction for individual students and groups of students
  3. Plan instructional activities
  4. Select/create assessments (adapted as needed to meet specific students’ needs, both those needing support and those needing challenge)

(Kolling and Sumway-Pitt)

In order to analyze your student data, it’s helpful to know exactly what you’re looking for: What does proficient mean? What do the students still need to learn?  This process of defining proficiency requires you as a teacher to shift your mindset from scoring (a summative examination) to diagnosing (a formative examination) student performance. Often teachers spend a great deal of time sorting student responses (either by letter grades or by rubric scores) and virtually no time diagnosing what students know and still need to learn. It is diagnostic information that is essential to helping teachers understand what to do next with their students’ instruction.

Error Analysis to Guide Instruction

Professional Learning Network

Once you’ve analyzed your data and have created your lesson objective, consider which professional resources might be able to help you plan your instruction for your students.  This might include a website, an experienced teacher, professional texts, field experts on social media and school specialists.  You will note constructive feedback from consulting these resources which directly supports your instructional decisions and approach.

(Kolling and Sumway-Pitt)

Formative Assessment

We will explore assessment for learning, where the priority is designing and using assessment strategies to enhance student learning and development. Sometimes a teacher might begin the lesson, unit, or academic term with a diagnostic assessment. These assessments are used to determine students’ previous knowledge, skills, and understandings prior to teaching. This ‘pre-assessment helps the teacher determine what students already know, what they need to know, and to adjust the curriculum to meet the needs of the students.

Assessment for learning is most often formative assessment, i.e. it takes place during the course of instruction by providing information that teachers can use to revise their teaching and students can use to improve their learning (Black, Harrison, Lee, Marshall & Wiliam, 2004). Formative assessment includes both informal assessment involving spontaneous unsystematic observations of students’ behaviors (e.g. during a question and answer session or while the students are working on an assignment) and formal assessment involving pre-planned, systematic gathering of data. 

Assessment of learning is a formal assessment that involves assessing students in order to certify their competence and fulfill accountability mandates. Assessment of learning is typically summative, that is, administered after the instruction is completed (e.g. a final examination in an educational psychology course). Summative assessments provide information about how well students mastered the material, whether students are ready for the next unit, and what grades should be given (Airasian, 2005).  (Nicole Arduini-Van Hoose)

Video. Formative vs. Summative vs. Diagnostic Assessments explains the different uses and implementations for different types of assessments.

Special education teachers identify effective instructional and behavioral practices to address the needs of individual students. Although these practices may be evidence based or widely considered effective, the special education teacher recognizes that no single practice will be effective for every student. To determine the effect of instructional practices, special education teachers make instructional decisions based on data related to student progress toward well-defined goals. This type of formative assessment is “a process used by teachers and students during instruction that provides feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning to improve students’ achievement of intended instructional outcomes” (McManus, 2008, p. 3).

Formative assessment requires collecting data from a range of sources

(e.g., curriculum-based measures, informal classroom assessments, observation of classroom performance, self-assessment of classroom instruction; Popham, 2008)—and using these data to inform a cycle of continuous improvement (What Works Clearinghouse [WWC], 2009b). This cycle includes;

(a) collecting a variety of data regarding student learning from valid sources,

(b) interpreting the data to determine the effectiveness of instruction,

(c) developing alternative instructional approaches as necessary,

(d) modifying instruction, and

(f) continuing the cycle by collecting additional data to determine the effectiveness of the instructional change.

To improve student achievement, formative assessment data may be used to make instructional changes such as:

  • Prioritizing the use of instructional time to increase student opportunities to learn,
  • Providing additional instruction for students who are struggling to learn particular content,
  • Modifying delivery strategies,
  •  Refining instruction, and
  • Determining if the curriculum needs to be adapted based on student strengths and weaknesses after examining grade level or school-wide data (WWC, 2009b).

(High Leverage Practices, pg. 49)

In this introductory level clinical course, you will monitor student progress in your lesson plans through formative assessments that will include both quantitative and qualitative data points. This will be communicated in your lesson plan sections 3 a and b and in the body of the lesson.

Once the teacher has baseline or preassessment data on student learning as it relates to the new lesson plan, the next step is to develop formative assessment(s) to assess student progress on the learning objective.

Below is a snapshot of the Formative & Summative sections of the lesson plan template. This is where you share your lesson assessment and show how you will report on student achievement of the measurable learning objective.

  • All formative assessments must DIRECTLY target the measurable learning objective of the lesson.

3a. Include the actual assessment in your lesson. You can do this my linking of assessment from your Google Drive, or included an “object” using MS Word.

If you are describing an assessment, the description must be clear. Make sure at least one of your assessments will give you numerical data to refer to in your reflection to prove whether students have met the objective.

3b. How will you organize the data?

You can build your data tables in MS Word, Excel, Sheets etc, and add the links to your lesson plans. Be sure to use an “anyone with the link can view” sharable link in your lesson plans.


Running Records

If you are collecting data on reading fluency you can use a  “running record” data collection tool. Your reading specialist should be able to give a template and explain how to use the running record. A running record is an assessment tool that provides information to a teacher about a child’s fluency and use of cues to figure out a word.  Running records can be used for screening, diagnostic, and progress monitoring as they can be administered across the school year.

The possible purposes of using running records include:

  • Finding an appropriate level of text for a child
  • Developing flexible groups for instruction
  • Documenting progress in reading fluency
  • Proving insight into a child’s use of cueing systems
  • Planning “next steps” for a child or a group of children
  • Summarizing the impact of instructional programs on reading
  • Learning about the reading progress of children

In the early elementary grades, running records will typically be used with all children to assess reading levels, monitor fluency development, and provide ongoing movement between flexible groups. A teacher may complete a running record with a child every few weeks as reading development changes fast in K-2. In the upper elementary grades, running records may be used less frequently, as most children are fluent readers, but it may be used for diagnostic reasons with students who are struggling.

To complete a running record, a child will read aloud a text that the teacher estimates is at their independent level.  While the child reads, the teacher takes notes on the accuracy of the reading and marks down any deviations from the original text using a standard coding system. Sometimes teachers may also time the oral read to know how many words per minute a child is reading.  Typical teachers will ask some comprehension questions to see if the child understood the text.   (Levin, L & Porath, S. )

Below are a few links to running records resources. If you are new to running records, you will need to work with a reading specialist or teacher who is familiar with this assessment procedure.

Exit Ticket

The term exit ticket gets used a lot. Know that this is a generic term for a formative assessment. The exit ticket is one form of data (data point) that you will gather in your lesson.

The exit ticket is used to bring closure to the lesson. It does not need to be a repeat of what students did during your lesson. Instead, it might focus on more open ended questions- qualitative data. Or, it could be a quick review 3-4 problems in a math lesson.

  • How would you rate your current level of understanding of what we did today?
  • How hard did you work today? What could you have done to help yourself learn better?
  • How did the group work today help you understand the content?
  • What could I do differently to help you understand better?

 56 different ways to gather evidence of student achievement.

voices from the field

Voices from the field

Read how teacher candidates are assessing their students.

Michelle Shaw is teaching a lesson to 6th graders on “solving multi step word problems using a variety of mathematical strategies including multiplication and division of fractions”. 

Her assessment is

I will provide the students with an exit ticket in the form of giving them an index card to list

  • 3 things they learned,
  • 2 questions they still have, and
  • 1 idea that stuck with them.
  • Additionally, I will give a three question formative assessment to have them complete with minimal assistance.

I will construct a data table that illustrates the students’ performance on key elements of the lesson.


High School English

We are currently reviewing the story plot diagram while we read “The Giver”. Our first section of the story plot line is the Exposition. For my pre-assessment I am going to have the students write a 4-paragraph reflection of what was covered in the first couple of chapters in the novel. Each paragraph is labeled with a different topic in order to help them organize their thoughts.  The reflection allows me to observe the writing style each student has and with the length of 4 paragraph, it allows me to observe their writing patterns. Plus, the reflection can also help me analyze how well they do with reading comprehension for future assignments.

After the pre-assessment writing prompt, I will be able to set up conferences for each student to go over their work one-on-one in order to discuss their strengths and weaknesses. In the conference, we will be able to come up with individual goals for them to approve upon throughout the unit.  Lucas Fisher


This teacher candidate  is teaching third graders a lesson on identifying clue words. Mathematical operations and solving math word problems.

Within the math resource room where this lesson will take place, students are accustomed to receiving assessments in the form of “Do Nows.” I plan on utilizing the “Do Now” structure for a small questionnaire that students fill out after the lesson to see if they have any questions or comments regarding the instruction they just received. Then, looking over their responses after the class period, I will get a better understanding of what students focused on, or might have missed during the instructional period.

Accompanying the lesson will be a worksheet that has students showcase their understanding by first identifying the operation, then solving. Following the instructional portion of the lesson, I will do a couple guided examples from the worksheet so students can see how it all comes together. Then the students will tackle the problems independently as I walk around the room observing and assisting any students who may need a bit of guidance.

Ultimately, there are a few ways I could foresee organizing student responses. I think creating a simple chart would be the most efficient to document each student response. Then, looking at their worksheets and seeing the concrete answers, I would be able to analyze and see areas where students show strengths and areas of struggle. Mallory Wilson


I chose an ELA CCSS which deals with reading fluency, namely Literacy R.F. 2.3a “Distinguish long and short vowels when reading regularly spelled one-syllable words.”  Approximately 25% of the students in my class have trouble determining when one-syllable words say their short sounds and when they say their long sounds.  As such, my MLO focuses on this topic, namely “By the end of the lesson, all three students will be able to read 20 one-syllable words that either end in a silent ‘e’ or are closed syllables with 80% accuracy.”  

At the end of this lesson, each student will be given a die and will read the word that is directly under the number they rolled. Once they read the word, it will be crossed out, and the next time they roll that number, they will read the next word.  This will continue until they have read all the words unless we are running out of time.  Then, I will halt the game and randomly tap words to have them read until we finish the list.

I will record which words the students were able to read without help.  If they read a word wrong, I will make a note if they were using the long sound for the vowel by writing s.v. for short vowel and l.v. for long vowel.  If they read the word wrong for some other reason, I will note that as well. Then, I will record the answers to their summative assessment in the same way.

Also, when they spell words on their letter boards, I will make a note of which words they needed help with.  The letter-board words will be taken from both of their assessments.


In my technology classes, I use the last 5 minutes of class as a “Wrap Up,” where the students and I debrief that lesson. One way we debrief is by using interactive notebooks (Google Slide) for the students to reflect on the lesson by focusing on targeted questions. We will often share responses as well. The Google Slide notebooks are shared with the teacher (me), so that I can refer back to collect data, and assess student understanding of the instruction. Alicia Jobson


During the lesson I will be using ongoing progress monitoring (formative) by informal teacher questioning, and practice activities.  They will finish the lesson with an “exit tickets” where they will  matching 10 fill in the blank sentences from the bank of 20 word cards. Jacqueline Godin


Check out Caitlin Dubisz’s active learning and assessment strategies.

MLO: Students will identify words containing the welded sounds -ank and -ink independently with 80% accuracy by the end of the lesson.

The intro and direct instruction will include questions like “do you already know any words that have -ink or -ank?” “do you know this word?” Etc. After the intro and direct instruction, students will individually look at a story provided. They will find the words with the -ink and -ank welded sounds and highlight them (-ank word parts in one color and -ink word parts in another). During this, I will walk around and check for understanding while taking notes. After they are done highlighting, they will get together in partnerships and take turns reading 1 sentence (or 2?) at a time to each other until the whole story is read. While students are doing the partner reading, I will walk around and note if they are able to identify the words in context and reading correctly.

For an exit ticket I will have students play a “swat the word” game. They will come up to the board 1 table at a time and there will be the two welded sound options showing: -ank and -ink. When I call a student, I will project a word on the board, and they will have to swat the correct welded sound that word contains with a fly swatter as quickly as possible. Depending on time, I could do multiple rounds of this, which will get me more data and insight.

I may have a “beat the clock” element to this where a stopwatch will be running to see how fast the whole class can do it, and if time allows, possibly a bonus round in which I say the words that they have to swat, instead of having them showing on the board.

This is an example of the type of story I would use for the highlighting and partner reading activity, although I will write my own with only -ank and -ink words.

NK story


For numerical data, I will collect the students’ work and see how many words each student highlighted correctly, and take notes about who is reading accurately as I walk around and listen to them read to each other. I will also note how many students got the exit ticket correct, although I am still thinking about more ideas for assessments with numerical data.

While walking around I will have a list for jotting down things I notice, and for noting who is reading accurately. I will also have a simple checklist for the exit ticket on the same sheet so that I can keep this on a clipboard for the lesson and exit ticket time.





Assessment. Authored by: Nicole Arduini-Van Hoose. Provided by: Hudson Valley Community College. Located at BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

CDIP Community Commons, Modes of Assessment by Dr. Robin D. Marion is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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GSC Lesson Planning 101 by Deborah Kolling and Kate Shumway-Pitt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

McLeskey, J., Barringer, M-D., Billingsley, B., Brownell, M., Jackson, D., Kennedy, M., Lewis, T., Maheady, L., Rodriguez, J., Scheeler, M. C., Winn, J., & Ziegler, D. (2017, January). High-leverage practices in special education. Arlington, VA: Council for Exceptional Children & CEEDAR Center.   (Permission is granted to reproduce and adapt any portion of this publication with acknowledgement)

Teaching Literacy in Grades Pre-K to 2 by Lori Levin and Suzanne Porath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Wikipedia, (n.d.) Pre-Assessment. Retrieved from

updated 1.11.23