Quote from "The Value of Formative Assessment":
Unfortunately, the research shows that high-quality formative assessment is relatively rare in classrooms, and that most teachers do not know well how to engage in such assessment. Black and Wiliam also found that most classroom testing encourages rote and superficial learning. Teachers do not help each other become good assessors, and they often emphasize quantity of work over high quality. Actual assessment practices are often harmful: marking and grading are overemphasized while giving useful advice is underemphasized, and comparing students competitively causes low-achieving students to believe they cannot learn. Teachers, it turns out, generally replicate standardized tests in their own assessment practices and therefore lack sufficient information about their students.

  1. Identify learning outcomes
  2. Determine acceptable evidence
  3. Plan learning experiences and instruction

This brings a focus to curricular priorities and the big ideas we want students to get.

If the outcome is to learn basic skills or knowledge, then assessments such as quizzes may be in order. Performance tasks require assessment of process and analysis skills.

Verb wheel using Bloom's Taxonomy
Put Understanding first
What is Understanding by Design

Templates for understanding by design:
Unit template:
http://www.rhamhs.reg8.k12.ct.us/resources/UBD%20Design%20Template%202.pdf :

Completed UbD unit plans:
Classification.dissection: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dct47rpd_30npb7xjgj
Docstoc Understanding by Design templates and documents
Scribd Understanding by Design templates
Language Arts and Social Studies unit: