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Video Playlist: Authentic Assessments

May 16, 2014 / by Wendy Sauer

At this time of the year, there's typically a lot of anxiety around summative assessments. What if my students haven't learned what I assume they have? Before end-of-course or end-of-year assessments roll around, it's a great time to check what students really do know. And, if necessary, made some instructional decisions based on that real data.

We're excited to launch a series of videos that profile effective formative assessment practices. These videos, developed as part of an online professional development toolkit called Success at the Core, show students as active partners in the assessment process and teachers making real-time decisions based on assessment data.


  • How do I incorporate formative assessment practices into my daily instruction?
  • In what ways do I challenge students to demonstrate their understanding in real and meaningful ways?
  • How do I use what I learn about students' progress as I plan my lessons?
  • What role do my students play in the assessment process?


Show Your Cards: Science teacher Steven English asks his students to utilize colored cards throughout this lesson to indicate their level of understanding. You'll see and hear how he adjusts his instruction in real-time based on what the cards tell him.

Guided Groups: Several times a week, teacher Shawna Moore uses an assessment method she calls "guided groups," to help her quickly gauge student understanding. See how she uses this strategy to differentiate instruction and re-teach students who need to hear the lesson a second time.

Student-to-Student Assessment: Students in Barbara Cleveland's math class begin each day reviewing homework while using a cooperative learning protocol. They share their struggles and the strategies they utilized, and discuss the problems where their answers differed. In this video, you'll witness a great moment when two students disagree, and then see how the teacher builds consensus around the correct answer.

Quality Evidence Rubrics: Check out how teacher Mark Egger trains his math students to use a rubric to assess their work. As part of this self-assessment, students consider far more than correct vs. incorrect answers. They evaluate the quality of their work: Are answers fully explained? Are labels and graphics appropriately included? Is work neat and organized?

Peer Conferencing: Using a structured process, two students peer edit one another’s personal narrative drafts. Watch to see how teacher Aaron Allen's lesson design invites authentic and purposeful peer review.

Topics: Assessment, Lesson Planning, Video Playlist, Motivation

Wendy Sauer

Written by Wendy Sauer

Wendy Sauer taught high school history and English for 10 years in the Seattle area. Recently, she served as project manager at Education Development Center where she worked on the design, development and dissemination of Success at the Core. Wendy has experience in strategic communications, instructional design and training, and is an education consultant for Teaching Channel. Success at the Core is a professional development toolkit for teachers and leadership teams, designed collaboratively by Education Development Center (EDC), which designs, implements, and evaluates programs to improve education, health, and economic opportunity worldwide, and Vulcan Productions, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen’s award-winning film company. Original materials were funded by Vulcan Productions, Inc. and are used with permission.

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