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Innovative Testing Tools

This course will deal directly with the issue of integrating instruction with assessment, or what has been popularly referred to as "teaching to the test." The paradigm featuring assessment of learning will be flipped to reveal assessment for learning. This course focuses on creating the skills necessary to make classroom exercises and activities so compelling and powerful that the two separate fields of instruction and assessment will merge into a single domain.

Teachers will begin instructional planning, with the final assessment in mind, by identifying the desired results and competency targets as related to their specific subject and grade level. Teachers will address how evidence is gathered through a variety of formal and informal assessments to effectively gauge student performance. Related issues such as classroom management, motivation and test anxiety will be addressed. Alternative methods of assessment will be introduced and incorporated into practical and classroom-friendly activities.


Carlow University ED 635 • Madonna University EDU 5960.29 •

Mercy University EDUT 526


The required text for this course is Assessment as Learning: Using Classroom Assessment to Maximize Student Learning, 2nd edition by Lorna Earl. 978-1-4522-4297-2


Graduate participants earn 3 semester hours of graduate credit and will receive a transcript from one of our partner institutions below. Professional development participants receive a certificate of completion for 45 hours of professional developments credit for face-to-face classes, and 60 hours of professional development credit for online classes.

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Course Schedule

  • 1/9/24 - 4/9/24
  • 3/12/24 -6/11/24
  • 5/14/24 - 8/13/24
  • 7/9/24 - 10/8/24
  • 9/10/24 - 12/10/24
  • 11/12/24 - 2/11/25

Session/Module 1: A Reintroduction to Assessment


  • Member introductions
  • Individual and group expectations
  • Course sessions, resources and requirements
  • Defining assessment
  • Assessment terminology
  • The purpose of assessment, targets and benchmarks
  • Assignments

Session/Module 2: Standards and Benchmarks


  • Weighing the pros, cons and perceptions of standards
  • Relating standards to curriculum development: Why students need learning targets
  • Which came first, the curriculum or the test?
  • Benchmarking performance of the class and students through the academic year
  • Getting creative in meeting standards within the curriculum
  • Assignments

Session/Module 3: Standardized Tests


  • Accountability and school/state testing
  • Using standardized tests as a teaching tool
  • Assisting students to become good test takers
  • Specific strategies to teach test-taking skills (SIMS Model)
  • Parental involvement and test-taking
  • Diminishing the negative perceptions of standardized tests.
  • Assignments

Session/Module 4: Identifying and Understanding Test Anxiety


  • Students in survival mode
  • The difference between stress and distress
  • Stress and the visual, auditory, motor and memory systems
  • Stressors impacting student performance
  • Assignments

Session/Module 5: Steps Toward Eliminating Test Anxiety


  • Affirmations as a stress reduction toolVisualization techniques
  • Restructuring brain (neural) patterns
  • Getting rid of A.N.T.s (Automatic Negative Thoughts)
  • Movement-related activities to reduce test anxiety
  • Assignments

Session/Module 6: Comparing Alternative project-based/qualitative) with Traditional Assessment


  1. Evaluating traditional assessment
  2. Discovering the elements of alternative assessment
  3. Evaluating authentic assessment throughout the school day
  4. Creating the outline and criteria for an authentic assessment
  5. Creating an authentic assessment task
  6. Assignments

Session/Module 7: The Role of Rubrics


  • Comparing analytical and holistic rubrics
  • Evaluating task specific and unit rubrics
  • Developing criteria for an assessment worksheet
  • Rubrics as holistic and analytical assessment tools
  • Using standards to create rubrics
  • Assignments

Session/Module 8: Utilizing Portfolios


  • The benefits of portfolios
  • Development of portable life skills: Critical thinking, Organization and Self-Direction
  • Creating timelines and checkpoints for portfolio development/growth
  • Effective self assessment for students and teachers
  • Quantifying/grading portfolios
  • Assignments

Session/Module 9: Organizing Instruction Based on Assessment


  • Linking pretest results to the course of study
  • Identify ways of pre-testing: Oral, Written, Socratic questioning
  • Building efficiency into instructional time
  • Developing grading guidelines
  • Learning styles and testing options
  • Learning accommodations for individuals and groups
  • Assignments

Session/Module 10: Incorporating Technology/Final Exam


  1. Using web-based resources
  2. The NTeQ approach
  3. Electronic portfolios
  4. Final exam and project
  • Assess the course content
  • Evaluate traditional assessment
  • Describe the elements of alternative assessment
  • Evaluate authentic assessment throughout the school day
  • Create the outline and criteria for an authentic assessment
  • Create an authentic assessment task
  • Compare and contrast teaching to the curriculum and . teaching to standardized metrics
  • Create an authentic assessment approach, pre-test strategy or post-test strategy
  • Compare developmental and summative rubrics
  • Compare analytical and holistic rubrics
  • Create task-specific and unit rubrics
  • Evaluate relavancy of assessment strategies
  • Assess the benefits of portfolios
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of an instructional unit
  • Assess a classroom for stressors
  • Evaluate the impact of assessment
  • Compare methods of movement and how they can be used in a classroom
  • Design activities to incorporate positive self talk
  • Design lessons based on standards and benchmarks
  • Design a lesson that integrates technology
  • Create a comprehensive definition of assessment
Partner Universities

Our Partners are well-established regionally and nationally accredited colleges and universities, recognized for academic excellence and their commitment to teachers.

Important Information

Online 3-graduate credit courses are 13 weeks in length.

On-site weekend courses are held Friday evening from 6:00pm-9:00pm and Saturday/Sunday, 8:30am-5:30pm.

Weekday courses are Monday-Friday from 8:00am- 6:00pm.

It is the responsibility of the student to check with their state, county, district, or school to ensure that all requirements are being met by the course you're taking.  

Check the Partner Universities page for specific university information as well as course numbers which are specific to the university partner. 

Students are required to purchase their own textbook, the information for which can be found here. If no book is required it will be specified on the list. We have copies of many of the textbooks should you wish to purchase directly from TEI. 

Professional development (PD) participants receive a certificate of completion from TEI for 45 hours of PD credit for face to face classes and 60 hours of PD credit for online classes. These certificates are mailed within one week of the end of the class and reflect the course title, dates of attendance, and credit hour information. 

Student Academic Integrity
Participants guarantee that all academic class work is original. Any academic dishonesty or plagiarism (to take ideas, writings, etc. from another and offer them as one's own), is a violation of student academic behavior standards as outlined by our partnering colleges and universities and is subject to academic disciplinary action.