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A Local Assessment Toolkit to Promote Deeper Learning - Book Cover

A Local Assessment Toolkit to Promote Deeper Learning

Transforming Research Into Practice
By: Karin Hess

Foreword by Jay McTighe

Unlock the how, when, what, and why behind effective assessment systems. Build local capacity by establishing a common language based on solid research linking assessments to high quality use.

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Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781506393759
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2018
  • Page Count: 512
  • Publication date: March 26, 2018

Price: $44.95



Build assessments you can really use | Unlock the how, when, what, and why

Watch your system become greater than its parts by building local capacity through common language and deeper knowledge of assessment components. For years, educators have turned to the Hess Cognitive Rigor Matrices (CRM). Now for the first time, the modules are packaged into one resource to help you evaluate the quality and premise of your current assessment system.
Designed as a professional development guide for long-term use by school leaders, five content-rich, topic-based modules:

  • Offer field-tested, teacher-friendly strategies for local school test development
  • Can be used for individual or professional development opportunities
  • Allow for sequential or non-sequential use


Karin Hess photo

Karin Hess

Karin Hess, author of the Hess Cognitive Rigor Matrix, is a former classroom teacher and school administrator with over 40 years of deep experience in curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Dr. Hess is recognized internationally as a leader in developing practical approaches for using cognitive rigor, depth of knowledge, and learning progressions as the foundation for curriculum design and assessments at all levels of assessment systems, from developing local assessment systems to state-level grade-level standards and test specifications for large-scale state assessments. Over the years, she has contributed to Maine’s early thinking about how to structure requirements for assessing high school graduation exhibitions and has provided technical assistance to Science Exemplars in the development and annotation of K-8 science performance tasks (www.exemplars.com), to the Center for Collaborative Education’s Quality Performance Assessment (QPA) initiative, and to Benchmark Education’s Ready to Advance curriculum for Pre-K, using learning progressions in curriculum and assessment design. Her most recent publications include a chapter in the second edition of Fundamentals of Literacy Instruction and Assessment, Pre-K–6 (Hougen & Smartt, Eds., Paul Brookes Publishing, 2020) and A Local Assessment Toolkit to Promote Deeper Learning: Transforming Research into Practice (Corwin, 2018). Karin’s ongoing CBE work has included guiding the development and implementation of New Hampshire’s K–12 Model Competencies and supporting school districts throughout the United States in creating and analyzing the effective use of performance scales and high-quality performance assessments for competency-based learning.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



About the Author


Module 1: Are My Students Thinking Deeply or Just Working Harder? Infusing Rigor Into Instruction and Assessment: Laying the Groundwork for Deeper Learning for All Students

1.1 What Is Cognitive Rigor?

1.2 Developing a Common Understanding of What Cognitive Rigor Is and What It Is Not

1.3 Seven Common Misconceptions About Rigor

1.4 Bloom Meets Webb: Origins of the Hess Cognitive Rigor Matrix


1.5 Getting Started Applying Your Understanding of Rigor and Deeper Learning

Part 2: Support Materials for Module 1

I. A Workshop Plan for Module 1

II. The Hess Cognitive Rigor Tools: About the Tools in This Module

III. Strategies and Tools for Professional Developers and Teacher Planning

IV. Kid Tools: Resources for Use With Students to Support Deeper Thinking

Module 2: Is the Task Appropriate to the Text? Examining and Using Increasingly Complex Texts

2.1 What Makes Texts Complex, and Why Should Every Teacher Care?

2.2 The Thinking Behind the Tools in Module 2

2.3 Five Key Learnings From a Text Complexity Analysis Process

2.4 Understanding Quantitative and Qualitative Complexity Measures

2.5 Unpacking Overall Text Complexity Using a Qualitative Analysis Approach

2.6 A Detailed Discussion of What to Look for—Eight Qualitative Complexity Factors


Part 2: Support Materials for Module 2

I. A Workshop Plan for Module 2

II. The Hess Text Complexity Tools: About the Tools in This Module

III. The Importance of Teaching About Text Structures

IV. Sample Instructional Strategies for Teaching About Text Structures

V. Sample Text-Based Assessment Strategies

Module 3: What Does This Test Really Measure? Designing and Refining High-Quality Assessments for Deeper Learning

3.1 What Is a High-Quality Assessment?

3.2 Assessment Purposes and Use: Formative, Interim, and Summative

3.3 Developing and Refining Rubrics and Scoring Guides

3.4 What Can You Learn From Analyzing Student Work Products?

3.5 Developing Anchor Papers for Performance Tasks and Anchor Sets for Calibration

3.6 Cognitive Labs: An Effective and Efficient Alternative to Piloting New Assessments

Cognitive Lab Part 1: Observe and Document—Done While Students Are Working

Cognitive Lab Part 2: Small Group Interview

Cognitive Lab Part 3A: Interpret Student Work Samples and Make Decisions

Cognitive Lab Part 3B: Collaboratively Interpreting Evidence in Student Work

3.7 Guidelines for Creating Task Validation Teams: Analyzing Technical Quality of Assessments

Local Assessment Cover Page for Task Validation

Analyzing Assessments for Technical Quality: Conducting a Task Validation


Part 2: Support Materials for Module 3

I. A Workshop Plan for Module 3

II. The Hess PLC Tools: About the Tools in This Module

III. Strategies and Tools for Professional Developers and Teacher Planning

IV. Sample Formative Assessment Strategies

V. Sample Performance Assessment Design Strategies

Module 4: Where Do I Start, What Do I Teach Next, Which Supports Work Best? Using Learning Progressions as a Schema for Planning Instruction and Measuring Progress

4.1 What Are Learning Progressions (or Learning Trajectories), and How Can They Be Used to Scaffold Instruction and Guide the Design and Use of Assessments of Deeper Learning?

4.2 Four Interrelated Guiding Principles of Learning Progressions

4.3 Standards, Learning Progressions, and Curriculum: How Are They Related?

4.4 Zooming “In” and Zooming “Out” of Learning Progressions: Two Sides to the Same Coin

4.5 Applying the Four Interrelated Guiding Principles to Better Understand a Learning Progression

4.6 Providing System Coherence: Using Learning Progressions for Instructional and Assessment Planning

4.7 Lessons Learned—Using Learning Progressions to Guide Instruction and Change Assessment Practices

4.8 Looking for Increasing Rigor—by Observing Shifts in Teacher and Student Roles

4.9 Suggested Ways to Get Started Using the “Looking for Rigor” Walk-Through Tool #26


Part 2: Support Materials for Module 4

I. A Workshop Plan for Module 4

II. The Hess LP Tools: About the Tools in This Module

III. Strategies and Tools for Professional Developers and Teacher Planning

IV. Strategies and Resources for Use With Students

Module 5: Is This a Collection of Tests or an Assessment System? Building and Sustaining a Local Comprehensive Assessment System for Deeper Learning

5.1 Rethinking What It Means to Have a Comprehensive Local Assessment System

5.2 Five Indicators of a Comprehensive Local Assessment System

5.3 Multiple Measures and Common Assessments

5.4 What Exactly Are “Common” Assessments and Where Do They Fit in the Local Assessment System?

5.5 Revisiting Alignment From a Systems Perspective

5.6 Interpreting Results From Local Assessment Analyses


Part 2: Support Materials for Module 5

I. A Workshop Plan for Module 5

II. The Hess Alignment Tools: About the Tools in This Module


Appendix A: Summary of Hess Tools to Guide Local Assessment Development, Instructional Planning, and PLC Activities

Appendix B: Instructional and Formative Assessment Strategies to Uncover Thinking

Appendix C: Troubleshooting Tips When Designing Assessment Items and Tasks

Appendix D: Sample “What I Need to Do” Rubrics—Science, ELA, Mathematics, Blank Template

Appendix E: Student Profile: Science Inquiry Learning Progression

Appendix F: Student Learning Progression Literacy Profile—Grades 7–8

Appendix G: Writing Persuasively Learning Progression (Strand 7, LPF)

Appendix H: LPF STRAND 7 (Grades K–2) Sample Lesson Planning Steps Using Learning Progressions

Appendix I: An Expanded Glossary for Understanding and Designing Comprehensive Local Assessment Systems





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