Rubric Best Practices, Examples, and Templates

A rubric is a scoring tool that identifies the different criteria relevant to an assignment, assessment, or learning outcome and states the possible levels of achievement in a specific, clear, and objective way. Use rubrics to assess project-based student work including essays, group projects, creative endeavors, and oral presentations.

Rubrics can help instructors communicate expectations to students and assess student work fairly, consistently and efficiently. Rubrics can provide students with informative feedback on their strengths and weaknesses so that they can reflect on their performance and work on areas that need improvement.

How to Get Started

Best practices, moodle how-to guides.

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Step 1: Analyze the assignment

The first step in the rubric creation process is to analyze the assignment or assessment for which you are creating a rubric. To do this, consider the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the assignment and your feedback? What do you want students to demonstrate through the completion of this assignment (i.e. what are the learning objectives measured by it)? Is it a summative assessment, or will students use the feedback to create an improved product?
  • Does the assignment break down into different or smaller tasks? Are these tasks equally important as the main assignment?
  • What would an “excellent” assignment look like? An “acceptable” assignment? One that still needs major work?
  • How detailed do you want the feedback you give students to be? Do you want/need to give them a grade?

Step 2: Decide what kind of rubric you will use

Types of rubrics: holistic, analytic/descriptive, single-point

Holistic Rubric. A holistic rubric includes all the criteria (such as clarity, organization, mechanics, etc.) to be considered together and included in a single evaluation. With a holistic rubric, the rater or grader assigns a single score based on an overall judgment of the student’s work, using descriptions of each performance level to assign the score.

Advantages of holistic rubrics:

  • Can p lace an emphasis on what learners can demonstrate rather than what they cannot
  • Save grader time by minimizing the number of evaluations to be made for each student
  • Can be used consistently across raters, provided they have all been trained

Disadvantages of holistic rubrics:

  • Provide less specific feedback than analytic/descriptive rubrics
  • Can be difficult to choose a score when a student’s work is at varying levels across the criteria
  • Any weighting of c riteria cannot be indicated in the rubric

Analytic/Descriptive Rubric . An analytic or descriptive rubric often takes the form of a table with the criteria listed in the left column and with levels of performance listed across the top row. Each cell contains a description of what the specified criterion looks like at a given level of performance. Each of the criteria is scored individually.

Advantages of analytic rubrics:

  • Provide detailed feedback on areas of strength or weakness
  • Each criterion can be weighted to reflect its relative importance

Disadvantages of analytic rubrics:

  • More time-consuming to create and use than a holistic rubric
  • May not be used consistently across raters unless the cells are well defined
  • May result in giving less personalized feedback

Single-Point Rubric . A single-point rubric is breaks down the components of an assignment into different criteria, but instead of describing different levels of performance, only the “proficient” level is described. Feedback space is provided for instructors to give individualized comments to help students improve and/or show where they excelled beyond the proficiency descriptors.

Advantages of single-point rubrics:

  • Easier to create than an analytic/descriptive rubric
  • Perhaps more likely that students will read the descriptors
  • Areas of concern and excellence are open-ended
  • May removes a focus on the grade/points
  • May increase student creativity in project-based assignments

Disadvantage of analytic rubrics: Requires more work for instructors writing feedback

Step 3 (Optional): Look for templates and examples.

You might Google, “Rubric for persuasive essay at the college level” and see if there are any publicly available examples to start from. Ask your colleagues if they have used a rubric for a similar assignment. Some examples are also available at the end of this article. These rubrics can be a great starting point for you, but consider steps 3, 4, and 5 below to ensure that the rubric matches your assignment description, learning objectives and expectations.

Step 4: Define the assignment criteria

Make a list of the knowledge and skills are you measuring with the assignment/assessment Refer to your stated learning objectives, the assignment instructions, past examples of student work, etc. for help.

  Helpful strategies for defining grading criteria:

  • Collaborate with co-instructors, teaching assistants, and other colleagues
  • Brainstorm and discuss with students
  • Can they be observed and measured?
  • Are they important and essential?
  • Are they distinct from other criteria?
  • Are they phrased in precise, unambiguous language?
  • Revise the criteria as needed
  • Consider whether some are more important than others, and how you will weight them.

Step 5: Design the rating scale

Most ratings scales include between 3 and 5 levels. Consider the following questions when designing your rating scale:

  • Given what students are able to demonstrate in this assignment/assessment, what are the possible levels of achievement?
  • How many levels would you like to include (more levels means more detailed descriptions)
  • Will you use numbers and/or descriptive labels for each level of performance? (for example 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and/or Exceeds expectations, Accomplished, Proficient, Developing, Beginning, etc.)
  • Don’t use too many columns, and recognize that some criteria can have more columns that others . The rubric needs to be comprehensible and organized. Pick the right amount of columns so that the criteria flow logically and naturally across levels.

Step 6: Write descriptions for each level of the rating scale

Artificial Intelligence tools like Chat GPT have proven to be useful tools for creating a rubric. You will want to engineer your prompt that you provide the AI assistant to ensure you get what you want. For example, you might provide the assignment description, the criteria you feel are important, and the number of levels of performance you want in your prompt. Use the results as a starting point, and adjust the descriptions as needed.

Building a rubric from scratch

For a single-point rubric , describe what would be considered “proficient,” i.e. B-level work, and provide that description. You might also include suggestions for students outside of the actual rubric about how they might surpass proficient-level work.

For analytic and holistic rubrics , c reate statements of expected performance at each level of the rubric.

  • Consider what descriptor is appropriate for each criteria, e.g., presence vs absence, complete vs incomplete, many vs none, major vs minor, consistent vs inconsistent, always vs never. If you have an indicator described in one level, it will need to be described in each level.
  • You might start with the top/exemplary level. What does it look like when a student has achieved excellence for each/every criterion? Then, look at the “bottom” level. What does it look like when a student has not achieved the learning goals in any way? Then, complete the in-between levels.
  • For an analytic rubric , do this for each particular criterion of the rubric so that every cell in the table is filled. These descriptions help students understand your expectations and their performance in regard to those expectations.

Well-written descriptions:

  • Describe observable and measurable behavior
  • Use parallel language across the scale
  • Indicate the degree to which the standards are met

Step 7: Create your rubric

Create your rubric in a table or spreadsheet in Word, Google Docs, Sheets, etc., and then transfer it by typing it into Moodle. You can also use online tools to create the rubric, but you will still have to type the criteria, indicators, levels, etc., into Moodle. Rubric creators: Rubistar , iRubric

Step 8: Pilot-test your rubric

Prior to implementing your rubric on a live course, obtain feedback from:

  • Teacher assistants

Try out your new rubric on a sample of student work. After you pilot-test your rubric, analyze the results to consider its effectiveness and revise accordingly.

  • Limit the rubric to a single page for reading and grading ease
  • Use parallel language . Use similar language and syntax/wording from column to column. Make sure that the rubric can be easily read from left to right or vice versa.
  • Use student-friendly language . Make sure the language is learning-level appropriate. If you use academic language or concepts, you will need to teach those concepts.
  • Share and discuss the rubric with your students . Students should understand that the rubric is there to help them learn, reflect, and self-assess. If students use a rubric, they will understand the expectations and their relevance to learning.
  • Consider scalability and reusability of rubrics. Create rubric templates that you can alter as needed for multiple assignments.
  • Maximize the descriptiveness of your language. Avoid words like “good” and “excellent.” For example, instead of saying, “uses excellent sources,” you might describe what makes a resource excellent so that students will know. You might also consider reducing the reliance on quantity, such as a number of allowable misspelled words. Focus instead, for example, on how distracting any spelling errors are.

Example of an analytic rubric for a final paper

Example of a holistic rubric for a final paper, single-point rubric, more examples:.

  • Single Point Rubric Template ( variation )
  • Analytic Rubric Template make a copy to edit
  • A Rubric for Rubrics
  • Bank of Online Discussion Rubrics in different formats
  • Mathematical Presentations Descriptive Rubric
  • Math Proof Assessment Rubric
  • Kansas State Sample Rubrics
  • Design Single Point Rubric

Technology Tools: Rubrics in Moodle

  • Moodle Docs: Rubrics
  • Moodle Docs: Grading Guide (use for single-point rubrics)

Tools with rubrics (other than Moodle)

  • Google Assignments
  • Turnitin Assignments: Rubric or Grading Form

Other resources

  • DePaul University (n.d.). Rubrics .
  • Gonzalez, J. (2014). Know your terms: Holistic, Analytic, and Single-Point Rubrics . Cult of Pedagogy.
  • Goodrich, H. (1996). Understanding rubrics . Teaching for Authentic Student Performance, 54 (4), 14-17. Retrieved from   
  • Miller, A. (2012). Tame the beast: tips for designing and using rubrics.
  • Ragupathi, K., Lee, A. (2020). Beyond Fairness and Consistency in Grading: The Role of Rubrics in Higher Education. In: Sanger, C., Gleason, N. (eds) Diversity and Inclusion in Global Higher Education. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore.

Teaching, Learning, & Professional Development Center

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How Do I Create Meaningful and Effective Assignments?

Prepared by allison boye, ph.d. teaching, learning, and professional development center.

Assessment is a necessary part of the teaching and learning process, helping us measure whether our students have really learned what we want them to learn. While exams and quizzes are certainly favorite and useful methods of assessment, out of class assignments (written or otherwise) can offer similar insights into our students' learning.  And just as creating a reliable test takes thoughtfulness and skill, so does creating meaningful and effective assignments. Undoubtedly, many instructors have been on the receiving end of disappointing student work, left wondering what went wrong… and often, those problems can be remedied in the future by some simple fine-tuning of the original assignment.  This paper will take a look at some important elements to consider when developing assignments, and offer some easy approaches to creating a valuable assessment experience for all involved.

First Things First…

Before assigning any major tasks to students, it is imperative that you first define a few things for yourself as the instructor:

  • Your goals for the assignment . Why are you assigning this project, and what do you hope your students will gain from completing it? What knowledge, skills, and abilities do you aim to measure with this assignment?  Creating assignments is a major part of overall course design, and every project you assign should clearly align with your goals for the course in general.  For instance, if you want your students to demonstrate critical thinking, perhaps asking them to simply summarize an article is not the best match for that goal; a more appropriate option might be to ask for an analysis of a controversial issue in the discipline. Ultimately, the connection between the assignment and its purpose should be clear to both you and your students to ensure that it is fulfilling the desired goals and doesn't seem like “busy work.” For some ideas about what kinds of assignments match certain learning goals, take a look at this page from DePaul University's Teaching Commons.
  • Have they experienced “socialization” in the culture of your discipline (Flaxman, 2005)? Are they familiar with any conventions you might want them to know? In other words, do they know the “language” of your discipline, generally accepted style guidelines, or research protocols?
  • Do they know how to conduct research?  Do they know the proper style format, documentation style, acceptable resources, etc.? Do they know how to use the library (Fitzpatrick, 1989) or evaluate resources?
  • What kinds of writing or work have they previously engaged in?  For instance, have they completed long, formal writing assignments or research projects before? Have they ever engaged in analysis, reflection, or argumentation? Have they completed group assignments before?  Do they know how to write a literature review or scientific report?

In his book Engaging Ideas (1996), John Bean provides a great list of questions to help instructors focus on their main teaching goals when creating an assignment (p.78):

1. What are the main units/modules in my course?

2. What are my main learning objectives for each module and for the course?

3. What thinking skills am I trying to develop within each unit and throughout the course?

4. What are the most difficult aspects of my course for students?

5. If I could change my students' study habits, what would I most like to change?

6. What difference do I want my course to make in my students' lives?

What your students need to know

Once you have determined your own goals for the assignment and the levels of your students, you can begin creating your assignment.  However, when introducing your assignment to your students, there are several things you will need to clearly outline for them in order to ensure the most successful assignments possible.

  • First, you will need to articulate the purpose of the assignment . Even though you know why the assignment is important and what it is meant to accomplish, you cannot assume that your students will intuit that purpose. Your students will appreciate an understanding of how the assignment fits into the larger goals of the course and what they will learn from the process (Hass & Osborn, 2007). Being transparent with your students and explaining why you are asking them to complete a given assignment can ultimately help motivate them to complete the assignment more thoughtfully.
  • If you are asking your students to complete a writing assignment, you should define for them the “rhetorical or cognitive mode/s” you want them to employ in their writing (Flaxman, 2005). In other words, use precise verbs that communicate whether you are asking them to analyze, argue, describe, inform, etc.  (Verbs like “explore” or “comment on” can be too vague and cause confusion.) Provide them with a specific task to complete, such as a problem to solve, a question to answer, or an argument to support.  For those who want assignments to lead to top-down, thesis-driven writing, John Bean (1996) suggests presenting a proposition that students must defend or refute, or a problem that demands a thesis answer.
  • It is also a good idea to define the audience you want your students to address with their assignment, if possible – especially with writing assignments.  Otherwise, students will address only the instructor, often assuming little requires explanation or development (Hedengren, 2004; MIT, 1999). Further, asking students to address the instructor, who typically knows more about the topic than the student, places the student in an unnatural rhetorical position.  Instead, you might consider asking your students to prepare their assignments for alternative audiences such as other students who missed last week's classes, a group that opposes their position, or people reading a popular magazine or newspaper.  In fact, a study by Bean (1996) indicated the students often appreciate and enjoy assignments that vary elements such as audience or rhetorical context, so don't be afraid to get creative!
  • Obviously, you will also need to articulate clearly the logistics or “business aspects” of the assignment . In other words, be explicit with your students about required elements such as the format, length, documentation style, writing style (formal or informal?), and deadlines.  One caveat, however: do not allow the logistics of the paper take precedence over the content in your assignment description; if you spend all of your time describing these things, students might suspect that is all you care about in their execution of the assignment.
  • Finally, you should clarify your evaluation criteria for the assignment. What elements of content are most important? Will you grade holistically or weight features separately? How much weight will be given to individual elements, etc?  Another precaution to take when defining requirements for your students is to take care that your instructions and rubric also do not overshadow the content; prescribing too rigidly each element of an assignment can limit students' freedom to explore and discover. According to Beth Finch Hedengren, “A good assignment provides the purpose and guidelines… without dictating exactly what to say” (2004, p. 27).  If you decide to utilize a grading rubric, be sure to provide that to the students along with the assignment description, prior to their completion of the assignment.

A great way to get students engaged with an assignment and build buy-in is to encourage their collaboration on its design and/or on the grading criteria (Hudd, 2003). In his article “Conducting Writing Assignments,” Richard Leahy (2002) offers a few ideas for building in said collaboration:

• Ask the students to develop the grading scale themselves from scratch, starting with choosing the categories.

• Set the grading categories yourself, but ask the students to help write the descriptions.

• Draft the complete grading scale yourself, then give it to your students for review and suggestions.

A Few Do's and Don'ts…

Determining your goals for the assignment and its essential logistics is a good start to creating an effective assignment. However, there are a few more simple factors to consider in your final design. First, here are a few things you should do :

  • Do provide detail in your assignment description . Research has shown that students frequently prefer some guiding constraints when completing assignments (Bean, 1996), and that more detail (within reason) can lead to more successful student responses.  One idea is to provide students with physical assignment handouts , in addition to or instead of a simple description in a syllabus.  This can meet the needs of concrete learners and give them something tangible to refer to.  Likewise, it is often beneficial to make explicit for students the process or steps necessary to complete an assignment, given that students – especially younger ones – might need guidance in planning and time management (MIT, 1999).
  • Do use open-ended questions.  The most effective and challenging assignments focus on questions that lead students to thinking and explaining, rather than simple yes or no answers, whether explicitly part of the assignment description or in the  brainstorming heuristics (Gardner, 2005).
  • Do direct students to appropriate available resources . Giving students pointers about other venues for assistance can help them get started on the right track independently. These kinds of suggestions might include information about campus resources such as the University Writing Center or discipline-specific librarians, suggesting specific journals or books, or even sections of their textbook, or providing them with lists of research ideas or links to acceptable websites.
  • Do consider providing models – both successful and unsuccessful models (Miller, 2007). These models could be provided by past students, or models you have created yourself.  You could even ask students to evaluate the models themselves using the determined evaluation criteria, helping them to visualize the final product, think critically about how to complete the assignment, and ideally, recognize success in their own work.
  • Do consider including a way for students to make the assignment their own. In their study, Hass and Osborn (2007) confirmed the importance of personal engagement for students when completing an assignment.  Indeed, students will be more engaged in an assignment if it is personally meaningful, practical, or purposeful beyond the classroom.  You might think of ways to encourage students to tap into their own experiences or curiosities, to solve or explore a real problem, or connect to the larger community.  Offering variety in assignment selection can also help students feel more individualized, creative, and in control.
  • If your assignment is substantial or long, do consider sequencing it. Far too often, assignments are given as one-shot final products that receive grades at the end of the semester, eternally abandoned by the student.  By sequencing a large assignment, or essentially breaking it down into a systematic approach consisting of interconnected smaller elements (such as a project proposal, an annotated bibliography, or a rough draft, or a series of mini-assignments related to the longer assignment), you can encourage thoughtfulness, complexity, and thoroughness in your students, as well as emphasize process over final product.

Next are a few elements to avoid in your assignments:

  • Do not ask too many questions in your assignment.  In an effort to challenge students, instructors often err in the other direction, asking more questions than students can reasonably address in a single assignment without losing focus. Offering an overly specific “checklist” prompt often leads to externally organized papers, in which inexperienced students “slavishly follow the checklist instead of integrating their ideas into more organically-discovered structure” (Flaxman, 2005).
  • Do not expect or suggest that there is an “ideal” response to the assignment. A common error for instructors is to dictate content of an assignment too rigidly, or to imply that there is a single correct response or a specific conclusion to reach, either explicitly or implicitly (Flaxman, 2005). Undoubtedly, students do not appreciate feeling as if they must read an instructor's mind to complete an assignment successfully, or that their own ideas have nowhere to go, and can lose motivation as a result. Similarly, avoid assignments that simply ask for regurgitation (Miller, 2007). Again, the best assignments invite students to engage in critical thinking, not just reproduce lectures or readings.
  • Do not provide vague or confusing commands . Do students know what you mean when they are asked to “examine” or “discuss” a topic? Return to what you determined about your students' experiences and levels to help you decide what directions will make the most sense to them and what will require more explanation or guidance, and avoid verbiage that might confound them.
  • Do not impose impossible time restraints or require the use of insufficient resources for completion of the assignment.  For instance, if you are asking all of your students to use the same resource, ensure that there are enough copies available for all students to access – or at least put one copy on reserve in the library. Likewise, make sure that you are providing your students with ample time to locate resources and effectively complete the assignment (Fitzpatrick, 1989).

The assignments we give to students don't simply have to be research papers or reports. There are many options for effective yet creative ways to assess your students' learning! Here are just a few:

Journals, Posters, Portfolios, Letters, Brochures, Management plans, Editorials, Instruction Manuals, Imitations of a text, Case studies, Debates, News release, Dialogues, Videos, Collages, Plays, Power Point presentations

Ultimately, the success of student responses to an assignment often rests on the instructor's deliberate design of the assignment. By being purposeful and thoughtful from the beginning, you can ensure that your assignments will not only serve as effective assessment methods, but also engage and delight your students. If you would like further help in constructing or revising an assignment, the Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development Center is glad to offer individual consultations. In addition, look into some of the resources provided below.

Online Resources

“Creating Effective Assignments” This site, from the University of New Hampshire's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning,  provides a brief overview of effective assignment design, with a focus on determining and communicating goals and expectations.

Gardner, T.  (2005, June 12). Ten Tips for Designing Writing Assignments. Traci's Lists of Ten. This is a brief yet useful list of tips for assignment design, prepared by a writing teacher and curriculum developer for the National Council of Teachers of English .  The website will also link you to several other lists of “ten tips” related to literacy pedagogy.

“How to Create Effective Assignments for College Students.”  http://     This PDF is a simplified bulleted list, prepared by Dr. Toni Zimmerman from Colorado State University, offering some helpful ideas for coming up with creative assignments.

“Learner-Centered Assessment” From the Centre for Teaching Excellence at the University of Waterloo, this is a short list of suggestions for the process of designing an assessment with your students' interests in mind. “Matching Learning Goals to Assignment Types.” This is a great page from DePaul University's Teaching Commons, providing a chart that helps instructors match assignments with learning goals.

Additional References Bean, J.C. (1996). Engaging ideas: The professor's guide to integrating writing, critical thinking, and active learning in the classroom . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Fitzpatrick, R. (1989). Research and writing assignments that reduce fear lead to better papers and more confident students. Writing Across the Curriculum , 3.2, pp. 15 – 24.

Flaxman, R. (2005). Creating meaningful writing assignments. The Teaching Exchange .  Retrieved Jan. 9, 2008 from

Hass, M. & Osborn, J. (2007, August 13). An emic view of student writing and the writing process. Across the Disciplines, 4. 

Hedengren, B.F. (2004). A TA's guide to teaching writing in all disciplines . Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.

Hudd, S. S. (2003, April). Syllabus under construction: Involving students in the creation of class assignments.  Teaching Sociology , 31, pp. 195 – 202.

Leahy, R. (2002). Conducting writing assignments. College Teaching , 50.2, pp. 50 – 54.

Miller, H. (2007). Designing effective writing assignments.  Teaching with writing .  University of Minnesota Center for Writing. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2008, from

MIT Online Writing and Communication Center (1999). Creating Writing Assignments. Retrieved January 9, 2008 from .

Contact TTU

Initial Thoughts

Perspectives & resources, what is differentiated instruction.

  • Page 1: Defining Differentiated Instruction
  • Page 2: General Principles

How do teachers differentiate instruction?

  • Page 3: Know Your Students
  • Page 4: Differentiate Instructional Elements
  • Page 5: Differentiate Content

Page 6: Differentiate Process

  • Page 7: Differentiate Product
  • Page 8: Evaluate and Grade Student Performance

How do teachers prepare their students and their classrooms for differentiated instruction?

  • Page 9: Communicate with Students and Parents
  • Page 10: Organize the Classroom
  • Page 11: Employ Effective Behavior Management

What does differentiated instruction look like in the classroom?

  • Page 12: Classroom Implementation
  • Page 13: References & Additional Resources
  • Page 14: Credits


Tiered Activities

For Your Information

When teachers tier content , all students complete the same activity (e.g., a worksheet, report), but the content varies in difficulty. When teachers tier process , the activities by which the students learn information vary in complexity.

One way to differentiate process for heterogeneous classrooms is to design tiered lessons. When teachers tier a lesson, they design instructional tasks that are challenging for students at different levels of readiness: low, middle, and high levels. Although the students should master the same content or core skills, the means by which they do so vary. The activities assigned to the low, middle, and high groups often differ in complexity, depth of information, or level of abstraction.

Before tiering a lesson on a particular skill or topic area, the teacher should preassess the students. She should then use that information to help assign students to each of the readiness levels and to begin designing the lesson.

Consider your students’ range of knowledge on the topic or about the skill, their prior knowledge, and their reading levels. Also keep in mind your students’ interests and learning profiles.

Create an activity that is challenging, engaging, and targets the topic or skill.

Some teachers prefer to begin with the middle group and then design activities for students who are struggling and those who are more advanced. Others prefer to design an activity that is challenging for the advanced learners and modify for the average and struggling learners to ensure that high standards are maintained for each group. The table below outlines features for a tiered lesson with three groups that target struggling, average, and advanced learners.

Adapted from Spencer Northey, S. (2005). Handbook on Differentiated Instruction for Middle and High Schools. Larchmont, NY: Eye On Education, p. 76

Below is an example of a lesson that is tiered in process (according to readiness). Note how each group is working on different tasks even though all students are working on the same key concept.

Adapted from

Learning Centers

Students with folders

Learning Center

butterfly life cycle

Theme: Metamorphosis Unit of Study: Insects Materials: Plastic models of each stage of the butterfly’s life cycle, pictures of all stages of the life cycle, poster of different caterpillars and the corresponding butterflies, books about the butterfly’s life cycle, a bug box containing several caterpillars.

Students find learning centers more engaging if they are decorated with items that relate to the topic of the activity. For example, during a history unit on the Pilgrims, the learning center might contain a trunk of period clothing and be decorated to represent the deck of the Mayflower .

In addition to learning centers, learning stations and interest centers offer students opportunities to acquire information about a topic or skill.

Learning Stations

atmospheric rain cycle

Learning stations are areas of the classroom organized around a topic, theme, or skill. They can target students’ readiness levels, interests, or learning profiles. The teacher creates several stations that cover portions of the material. To learn about the topic, students must complete the activities at each station. For example, during a unit on weather, the teacher might create four learning stations: temperature, atmospheric pressure, clouds, and the water cycle.

Interest Centers

frog life cycle

Interest centers are a type of learning center. They provide an opportunity for students to acquire in-depth knowledge about a topic of interest. Unlike in traditional learning centers, students are not required to complete the activities in the center but can choose to visit the center when time allows. The topic might or might not be related to the unit of study. For example, when teaching about metamorphosis using the life cycle of the butterfly, the teacher might also create an interest center focusing on the life cycle of the frog so that students can delve deeper into the topic.

Interactive Journals

Student and teacher

Graphic Organizers

A graphic organizer, sometimes called a web or concept map, can be a diagram, outline, or chart on which students arrange information. By using graphic organizers, students can:

  • Gather important information
  • Organize information
  • More easily process information
  • See relationships between ideas
  • More easily understand, remember, and apply information

graphic representation of a graphic organizer

  • Allowing students to choose the type of graphic organizer to use
  • Allowing students to choose how to complete the organizer (e.g., with text, with illustrations, in home language)
  • Filling in some, a little, or none of the graphic organizer for students at different levels
  • Providing direct access to the information needed to complete the organizer versus asking students to research the information independently
  • Providing a graphic organizer that requires basic information instead of very detailed information

To learn more about different types of graphic organizers, see the table below.

Jigsaw Activities

jigsaw puzzle piece

  • Create small heterogeneous groups of five to six students (i.e., home-base groups).
  • Assign one student per group to be the leader.
  • Divide the lesson into sections. The number of sections will depend on how many students are in the groups.
  • Assign one student from each group to learn a section of the lesson. Teachers can assign students based on readiness or interest.
  • Allow students time to study the content for the section they have been assigned.
  • Direct students to meet with students from other groups who have been assigned the same section of the lesson (i.e., “expert” groups). Give students time to learn the content and to practice how they will present this information to their home-base groups.
  • Instruct students to return to their home-base groups.
  • Provide time for each student in the home-base group to report their findings. Also encourage group members to ask questions of the presenter for greater understanding and clarification. (Note: The leader will be responsible for making sure that each member of the group is given time to present their information and participate in the discussion.)
  • Monitor the groups.
  • Assess the students’ understanding of the concept or skill.

In the example that follows, the teacher uses the ten steps listed above to implement the jigsaw strategy during a unit on Brazil. He implements this strategy across a one-week period.


Teachers can differentiate instruction by providing manipulatives for those students who are having difficulty understanding a concept. Manipulatives are concrete objects that students can use to develop a conceptual understanding of a topic or skill. These objects help students represent the idea they are trying to learn or the problem they are trying to solve. For example, the teacher might demonstrate the idea of fractions by slicing a pie into pieces. It is important that the teacher make explicit the connection between the concrete object and the abstract concept being taught. Below are several examples of students using manipulatives.

A student uses a number line

A student uses a number line (i.e., a visual representation) to add two single-digit numbers.

Two students use an abacus

Two students use an abacus to practice counting by fives.

A student uses colored cubes

A student uses colored cubes to work on pattern recognition.

Another way to differentiate process is to vary the length of time students have to complete a task. This allows struggling students more time to grasp the concept and permits advanced students more time to delve deeper into a topic.

Watch the video below to learn how one teacher differentiates process in her classroom. In particular, she discusses the use of manipulatives and learning centers (time: 4:21).

View Transcript

Narrator: Welcome to Organizing for Differentiation in the Core Classroom.

Lorie Bowman: My name is Lorie Bowman, and I am a second-grade teacher here at Cornell Elementary, in the Saydel School District.

We were subtracting one-digit numbers from double-digit numbers, and it was the second time they have been exposed to that process. Before this we had been subtracting just the tens, and they did fairly well with that concept, and now we are moving into regrouping and not regrouping. And what I was trying to accomplish with this was just giving them the opportunity to work with some concrete materials and use those manipulatives to see what they are actually doing so it’s not such a foreign concept of just trading and regrouping. Get them some practice with that, and after we are done with that as we are walking around trying to see who was grasping the concept and who wasn’t, and then having some small-group practice time.

At the beginning when we started the lesson, I was just doing a group think-aloud and we really wanted to think about have kids demonstrate and be able to explain what they were doing when they were trying to solve those math problems. And all mental math at that point, but then also liking to show the concrete example on the whiteboard of what exactly they were thinking and to show other students that there are other ways to answer problems; there is not one set way. As we move, we try to do lots of different examples of hands-on activities and paper-pencil tasks.

Eighty percent of their time is spent whole group, and then twenty percent either individual or small group. I really enjoy working with the small groups, though, because I really can give those students that immediate feedback whether they are doing the right thing or not, and it’s different every time. A lot of times, it might be the same exact thing that we are doing as whole group, but just in a small-group setting. Other times we were getting manipulatives out that maybe we didn’t use last time and just other techniques and processes that we are trying to help them key in to understanding what I am wanting them to know.

I would also like to have them get the whiteboards out and let them actually try to do the algorithm with the dry-erase marker and just practice that, because I am not sure that they fully understand the regrouping concept yet and why we are regrouping. And I notice that, even with my small group, they were still struggling, where those ten ones were coming from.

I am trying to plan and help for the reteaching. I usually try to pass some activities that are ready for that chapter or that topic, and I like to do them on the spot if I notice that lot of the class is struggling with whatever topic we are covering. I think it’s important to do it right away and help those kids so they don’t practice the wrong thing. We are going to redo parts of this lesson again just to help give students a boost on what we are expecting, because the next thing that we are moving into is double-digit subtraction, and I really want them to feel comfortable and be able to do this automatically before we move on to that next step.

I just really enjoy having the opportunity to let them go to centers, and they can review extra things that we maybe were struggling with before and I think we need a review on. And it also gives a chance for those students that have already mastered the concept that we are working on to be challenged a little bit to have some of those extra centers that are getting them thinking and pushing them a little bit, too. We go over the different strategies throughout our lessons and then I usually incorporate them into our centers as well. Right now, they are really struggling with sevens and eights, and so I have started putting that into a center where they can partner up and quiz each other on the different flash cards.

At this point, we have our new curriculum. It does build in some different differentiation kinds of ideas. So I always have that available if I need it, but a lot of it happens just when we are going through the lesson. And it’s just having things ready to go, whether it will be extra manipulatives or whiteboards or extra things to work with, because just you never know how many are going to understand it or how many are not, and just it changes all the time.

Courtesy of Doing What Works and the U.S. Department of Education.

teacher assignment process

Differentiated Instruction

Differentiated instruction involves teaching in a way that meets the different needs and interests of students using varied course content, activities, and assessments.

Teaching differently to different students

Differentiated Instruction (DI) is fundamentally the attempt to teach differently to different students, rather than maintain a one-size-fits-all approach to instruction. Other frameworks, such as Universal Design for Learning , enjoin instructors to give students broad choice and agency to meet their diverse needs and interests. DI distinctively emphasizes instructional methods to promote learning for students entering a course with different readiness for, interest in, and ways of engaging with course learning based on their prior learning experiences ( Dosch and Zidon 2014). 

Successful implementation of DI requires ongoing training, assessment, and monitoring (van Geel et al. 2019) and has been shown to be effective in meeting students’ different needs, readiness levels, and interests (Turner et al. 2017). Below, you can find six categories of DI instructional practices that span course design and live teaching.

While some of the strategies are best used together, not all of them are meant to be used at once, as the flexibility inherent to these approaches means that some of them are diverging when used in combination (e.g., constructing homogenous student groups necessitates giving different types of activities and assessments; constructing heterogeneous student groups may pair well with peer tutoring) (Pozas et al. 2020). The learning environment the instructor creates with students has also been shown to be an important part of successful DI implementation (Shareefa et al. 2019). 

Differentiated Assessment

Differentiated assessment is an aspect of Differentiated Instruction that focuses on tailoring the ways in which students can demonstrate their progress to their varied strengths and ways of learning. Instead of testing recall of low-level information, instructors should focus on the use of knowledge and complex reasoning. Differentiation should inform not only the design of instructors’ assessments, but also how they interpret the results and use them to inform their DI practices. 

More Team Project Ideas

Steps to consider

There are generally considered to be six categories of useful differentiated instruction and assessment practices (Pozas & Schneider 2019):

  • Making assignments that have tasks and materials that are qualitatively and/or quantitatively varied (according to “challenge level, complexity, outcome, process, product, and/or resources”) (IP Module 2: Integrating Peer-to-Peer Learning) It’s helpful to assess student readiness and interest by collecting data at the beginning of the course, as well as to conduct periodic check-ins throughout the course (Moallemi 2023 & Pham 2011)
  • Making student working groups that are intentionally chosen (that are either homogeneous or heterogeneous based on “performance, readiness, interests, etc.”) (IP Module 2: Integrating Peer-to-Peer Learning) Examples of how to make different student groups provided by Stanford CTL  (Google Doc)
  • Making tutoring systems within the working group where students teach each other (IP Module 2: Integrating Peer-to-Peer Learning) For examples of how to support peer instruction, and the benefits of doing so, see for example Tullis & Goldstone 2020 and Peer Instruction for Active Learning (LSA Technology Services, University of Michigan)
  • Making non-verbal learning aids that are staggered to provide support to students in helping them get to the next step in the learning process (only the minimal amount of information that is needed to help them get there is provided, and this step is repeated each time it’s needed) (IP Module 4: Making Success Accessible) Non-verbal cue cards support students’ self-regulation, as they can monitor and control their progress as they work (Pozas & Schneider 2019)
  • Making instructional practices that ensure all students meet at least the minimum standards and that more advanced students meet higher standards , which involves monitoring students’ learning process carefully (IP Module 4: Making Success Accessible; IP Module 5: Giving Inclusive Assessments) This type of approach to student assessment can be related to specifications grading, where students determine the grade they want and complete the modules that correspond to that grade, offering additional motivation to and reduced stress for students and additional flexibility and time-saving practices to instructors (Hall 2018)
  • Making options that support student autonomy in being responsible for their learning process and choosing material to work on (e.g., students can choose tasks, project-based learning, portfolios, and/or station work, etc.) (IP Module 4: Making Success Accessible) This option, as well as the others, fits within a general Universal Design Learning framework , which is designed to improve learning for everyone using scientific insights about human learning

Hall, M (2018). “ What is Specifications Grading and Why Should You Consider Using It? ” The Innovator Instructor blog, John Hopkins University Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation.

Moallemi, R. (2023). “ The Relationship between Differentiated Instruction and Learner Levels of Engagement at University .” Journal of Research in Integrated Teaching and Learning (ahead of print).

Pham, H. (2011). “ Differentiated Instruction and the Need to Integrate Teaching and Practice .” Journal of College Teaching and Learning , 9(1), 13-20.

Pozas, M. & Schneider, C. (2019). " Shedding light into the convoluted terrain of differentiated instruction (DI): Proposal of a taxonomy of differentiated instruction in the heterogeneous classroom ." Open Education Studies , 1, 73–90.

Pozas, M., Letzel, V. and Schneider, C. (2020). " Teachers and differentiated instruction: exploring differentiation practices to address student diversity ." Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs , 20: 217-230.

Shareefa, M. et al. (2019). “ Differentiated Instruction: Definition and Challenging Factors Perceived by Teachers .” Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Special Education (ICSE 2019). 

Tullis, J.G. & Goldstone, R.L. (2020). “ Why does peer instruction benefit student learning? ”, Cognitive Research 5 .

Turner, W.D., Solis, O.J., and Kincade, D.H. (2017). “ Differentiating Instruction for Large Classes in Higher Education ”, International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education , 29(3), 490-500.

van Geel, M., Keuning, T., Frèrejean, J., Dolmans, D., van Merriënboer, J., & Visscher A.J. (2019). “Capturing the complexity of differentiated instruction”, School Effectiveness and School Improvement , 30:1, 51-67, DOI: 10.1080/09243453.2018.1539013

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Research finds troubling teacher-assignment patterns within schools.

Susanna Loeb

Even within the same school, lower-achieving students often are taught by less-experienced teachers, as well as by teachers who received their degrees from less-competitive colleges, according to a new study by researchers from the Stanford  Graduate School of Education  and the World Bank. The study, using data from one of the nation's largest school districts, also shows that student class assignments vary within schools by a teacher's gender and race.

In a  paper  published in this month's issue of  Sociology of Education , the researchers present the results of a comprehensive analysis of teacher assignments in the nation's fourth-largest school district, Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Their findings identify trends that may contribute to teacher turnover and achievement gaps nationwide.

Previous research indicates that high-quality teachers can significantly improve education outcomes for students.  However, not all students have equal access to the best teachers.

"It is well-known that teachers systematically sort across schools, disadvantaging low-income, minority and low-achieving students," said  Demetra Kalogrides , a research associate at the Graduate School of Education's  Center for Education Policy Analysis  and one of the study's three authors. "Our findings are novel because they address the assignment of teachers to classes within schools. We cannot assume that teacher sorting stops at the school doors."

The authors note that more research needs to be done to see whether such patterns exist within schools across the country.

The assignment of teachers to students is the result of a complex process, involving school leaders, teachers and parents. While principals are constrained by teachers' qualifications – not all high school teachers, for instance, can teach physics – they also may use their authority to reward certain teachers with the more desirable assignments or to appease teachers who are instrumental to school operations.

Teachers with more power, due to experience or other factors, may be able to choose their preferred classes. Parents, particularly those with more resources, also may try to intervene in the process to ensure that their children are taught by certain teachers.

"We wanted to understand which teachers are teaching which students," said  Susanna Loeb , a Stanford professor of education and an author of the study.  "In particular, are low-achieving students more likely to be assigned to certain teachers, and if so, why?" Loeb is the director of the Center for Education Policy Analysis.

Using extensive data from Miami-Dade, the authors compared the average achievement of teachers' students in the year before the students were assigned to them.  They discovered that certain teachers – those with less experience, those from less-competitive colleges, female teachers, and black and Hispanic teachers – are more likely to work with lower-achieving students than are other teachers in the same school.

They found these patterns at both the elementary and middle/high school levels.

According to the researchers, teachers who have been at a school for a long time may be able to influence the assignment process in order to secure their preferred classes – for instance, classes with higher-achieving students.  The study found that teachers with 10 or more years of experience, as well as teachers who have held leadership positions, are assigned higher-achieving students, on average.

Assigning lower-achieving students to inexperienced teachers could have significant repercussions. According to the researchers, it could increase turnover among new teachers, since novice teachers are more likely to quit when assigned more low-achieving students.

In addition, it could exacerbate within-school achievement gaps – for example, the black-white gap. Since they are lower-achieving on average, minority and poor students are often assigned to less-experienced teachers than white and non-poor students. Less-experienced teachers tend to be less effective, so this pattern is likely to reinforce the relationships between race and achievement and poverty and achievement, the researchers said.

The study also found that lower-achieving students are taught by the teachers who graduated from less-competitive colleges, based on test scores for admission and acceptance rates.  This trend is particularly evident at the middle school and high school levels, possibly due to the more varied demands of middle and high school courses.  Teachers from more competitive colleges may have deeper subject knowledge than their colleagues from less-competitive colleges, leading principals to assign them to more advanced courses, the researchers said.

The researchers noted that assignment patterns vary across schools. Experienced teachers appear to have more power over the assignment process when there are more of them in a school; senior teachers are assigned even higher-achieving students when there is a larger contingent of experienced teachers in the school.

At the same time, schools under more accountability pressure are less likely to assign higher-achieving students to more-experienced teachers than schools that are not under accountability pressure.

Finally, according to the findings, class assignments vary depending on a teacher's gender and race. Since female teachers are more likely to teach special education than male teachers, on average they work with lower achieving students than their male colleagues. Also, black and Hispanic teachers, when compared with white teachers in the same schools, work with more minority and poor students, who tend to be lower-achieving.

Unlike sorting based on experience, the authors said that teacher-student matching based on race could improve student achievement because previous research suggests that minority students may learn more when taught by minority teachers.   

"Our analyses are a first step in describing within-school class assignments, an important, yet often overlooked, form of teacher sorting," said Kalogrides.

The other co-author is Tara Béteille of the World Bank.  The research was supported by a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences.

Rachel O'Brien is a research associate and writer at the Center for Education Policy Analysis.

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Planning Assessments

Assessment is a critical component of the instructional planning process and should have a prominent role in the learning process. This means that teachers should plan to integrate multiple forms of assessment and use the data to understand how well their students are learning the content and skills specified by the learning objectives. An assessment used during the learning process is referred to as a formative assessment. In this section, you will learn about the second stage in the Backward Design process of ensuring alignment between your learning objectives and your assessment plan.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Determine acceptable evidence of student learning; and
  • Select and/or design formative and summative assessments aligned with learning objectives to support, verify, and document learning.

Stage 2: Determining Acceptable Evidence

Now that we understand the value of having clear learning objectives, we can start to look at the second stage of the Backward Design model (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) where we determine what types of evidence will be acceptable to demonstrate that our students have met our goals. When considering potential evidence, Popham and Baker (1970) contend that teachers must develop skills to differentiate between different types of practice to ensure that the evidence they collect aligns with their stated learning objectives. The assessment piece you choose, whether it be a quiz, assignment, essay, test, or project, will provide you with evidence of student learning. However, Popham and Baker suggest that you should evaluate what you are asking students to do based on the following practice types:

  • Equivalent: practice the specific desired objective
  • Analogous: practice is similar to the desired objective but not identical.
  • En-route: skill needed before performing the desired objective
  • Irrelevant: any practice or activity that does not align with the desired objective

Recognizing what type of practice you are requiring students to engage in will help guide your selection, adoption, and creation of assessments in stage 2 of the Backward Design process. The key to remember is that students should be given the opportunity to practice the specific skill(s) defined by your learning objectives (Popham & Baker, 1970). This second stage requires that you understand the differences between formative and summative assessment which is foundational information necessary to ensure you provide practice and feedback for your students during the learning process. In addition, we will investigate a variety of assessment types and their pros and cons in order to select the best format for your assessment.

Formative Assessment

Examples (Sidebar)

For an in-depth look at formative assessment beyond what is discussed in this textbook, check out the series of videos by Dr. Heidi Andrade of the University at Albany about designing valid formative assessment tools .

Formative assessment includes all the practices teachers use to check student understanding throughout the teaching and learning process. Often, formative assessment is said to be an assessment for learning.

Definition of Formative Assessment*

Formative assessment refers to the ongoing process teachers and students engage in when selecting a learning goal(s), determining student performance in relation to the goal, and planning steps needed to move students closer to the goal. This ongoing process is implemented through informal assessments, assessments that can easily be incorporated into day-to-day classroom activities. Informal assessments are content and performance-driven and include questioning students during a discussion, student work (exit slips; assignments), and direct observation of students working. Rather than being used for grading, formative assessment is used to inform instructional planning and to provide students with valuable feedback on their progress. Formative assessment data can be collected as a pre-assessment, during a lesson, or as a post-assessment at the closing of a lesson.

In the video below, Rick Wormeli, author of Fair Isn’t Always Equal and Differentiation, explains the difference between summative and formative assessment and how formative assessment helps you offer better feedback to your students.

Listen to Jeoy Feith and Terri Drain discuss what assessment for learning in a PE setting looks like (show notes available if you what to read instead).

Adjusting Instruction Based on Formative Assessment*

Using assessment information to adjust instruction is fundamental to the concept of assessment for learning. Teachers make these adjustments “in the moment” during classroom instruction as well as during reflection and planning periods. Teachers use the information they gain from questioning and observation to adjust their teaching during classroom instruction. If students cannot answer a question, the teacher may need to rephrase the question, probe understanding of prior knowledge, or change the way the current idea is being considered. Teachers need to learn to identify when only one or two students need individual help and when a large proportion of the class is struggling so whole group intervention is needed.

After the class is over, effective teachers spend time analyzing how well the lessons went, what students did and did not seem to understand, and what needs to be done the next day. Evaluation of student work also provides important information for teachers. If many students are confused about a similar concept, the teacher needs to re-teach it and consider new ways of helping students understand the topic. If the majority of students complete the tasks very quickly and well, the teacher might decide that the assessment was not challenging enough.

Formative Assessment Strategies

Wondering where to begin? Check out Gretchen Vierstra’s blog post where she has suggested a variety of formative assessment strategies that you can use today, tomorrow, and next week.

Selecting and administering assessment techniques that are appropriate for the goals of instruction as well as the developmental level of the students is a crucial component of effective formative assessment. Teachers need to know the characteristics of a wide variety of classroom assessment techniques and how these techniques can be adapted for various content, skills, and student characteristics (Seifert, 2011). There is a vast array of formative assessment strategies that have been proven to be effective. For example, Natalie Reiger has compiled a list of 60 formative assessment strategies along with guidance on how to use them successfully in the classroom. Finding different strategies to try has never been easier as dozens of books have been written on the topic and hundreds of videos have been posted online demonstrating effective strategies. The key is not knowing all the possible formative assessment strategies but being able to distinguish which strategy best fits your assessment needs.

Technology & Formative Assessment*

Using Tech Tools for Formative Assessment

Technology is a powerful ally for teachers, especially in measuring student learning. With digital formative assessments, teachers can expedite their ability to assess and provide student feedback in real-time. Timmis, Broadfoot, Sutherland, and Oldfield (2016) encourage teachers to reflect on the “four C’s” when using technology to enhance a lesson. Ask yourself, does technology allow for increased collaboration or critical thinking opportunities? Are students able to communicate their ideas uniquely and are students able to demonstrate creative thinking? Following this format provides lessons that foster student engagement, with technology as an enhancement tool. Digital formative assessments provide teachers the opportunity to give individual feedback quicker and in real-time compared to traditional non-digital paper and pen formative assessments.

Educators now have access to a variety of tools that allow for instant feedback. Google Forms , Socrative , Kahoot , Quizziz , Plickers , Formative , PollEverywhere , Edpuzzle , Nearpod , and Quizlet are all educational technologies that allow teachers and students to attain instant results on the learning taking place. The students may access the system using a variety of different technological tools including a learning management system (LMS) or a mobile device.

Looking for a quick and easy way to assess your students without devices in everyone’s hands? Read how Joey Feith uses Plickers in his PE classroom. This strategy could easily be adapted for all content areas.

Teachers can have students work through retrieval practice together (such as when using a polling tool like PollEverywhere or a game-like tool like Kahoot). There are also educational technology tools that are more self-paced and provide opportunities for learners to work at their own pace. Many of these services are starting to allow for either approach to be used. Quizlet flashcards and some of their games such as Scatter, Match, and Gravity can be used in a self-directed way by students. Quizlet also has a game called Quizlet Live that can be used with a group of students at one time for retrieval practice. Beyond assessment, teachers can utilize student devices, typically smartphones, to enhance learning in a variety of ways.

Exit Tickets

Exit Tickets are a great way to practice the backward design model on a small scale. Exit Tickets are brief mini-assessments aligned to your daily objective. Teachers can provide their students a short period at the end of the class session to complete and submit the Exit Ticket. By considering the content of the Exit Ticket before planning, teachers can ensure that they address the desired skills and concepts during their lesson. Teachers can then use the evidence gathered from Exit Tickets to guide future planning sessions for remediation purposes.

See It in Action: Exit Tickets

Check out this resource from the Teacher Toolkit website. They provide a video of a teacher using Exit Tickets and tips on how and when to use Exit Tickets.

Summative Assessment*

Assessment  of  learning  is a formal assessment that involves assessing students to certify their competence and fulfill accountability mandates. Assessment of learning is typically summative , that is, administered after the instruction is completed (e.g. end-of-unit or chapter tests, end-of-term tests, or standardized tests). 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).

Assessment Methods

Learning objectives guide what sort of practice is appropriate. There are four classifications for learning objectives: knowledge, reasoning, skill, or product (Chappuis et al. 2012). The action defined by the objective will determine which assessment method is best appropriate for gathering evidence of learning. The table below outlines commonly used words and descriptions of each classification.

Classifications of Learning Objectives

Source: Classroom Assessment of Student Learning (Chappuis et al. 2012)

It is important to understand the focus of your learning objective because it will define what type of assessment tool to use. There are many methods to assess students learning but three common types are selected response, constructed response, and performance tasks (Chappuis et al. 2012). The visuals below from Chappuis et al. (2012) and Stiggins (2005) show how some assessment methods are better suited for certain learning targets than others.

Target-Assessment Method Match

Assessment method.

Links between achievement targets and assessment methods. Source: Student-involved assessment for learning (Stiggins, 2005)

In his book Grading Smarter Not Harder, Myron Dueck provides suggestions on how teachers might vary traditional multiple-choice tests to allow students to share their thinking. Consider how this option might change a test for your students. Dueck proposes an alternate response sheet that encourages students to place the choice they think is correct in the first space. If students are considering two answers, or believe there is more than one correct response, they can place the second letter in the space provided. Also, for each question that students place more than one response, they must also provide a written explanation to represent their thinking/debate.

The first and arguably most common form of assessment used in secondary classrooms is selected response. By asking various questions at varying levels of knowledge, selected-response assessments are an efficient way to measure student knowledge and understanding. However, the limitations of multiple-choice, true-false, matching, and fill-in-the-blank style assessments are that they can only provide a limited amount of evidence of student reasoning skills and are incapable of demonstrating a student’s ability to apply skills. A benefit to selected response assessments is that they are great at collecting information quickly and are easy to grade, thus decreasing the feedback loop. Therefore, selected-response can be a great tool to use for formative assessment. Not that it can’t or shouldn’t be used as a summative assessment tool, but if your learning objectives require action above recall of knowledge, you should probably look for another method.

The second form of assessment often used is constructed response. Constructed responses are often chosen to elicit evidence of students’ thinking regarding reasoning, understanding of connections, and application of content knowledge. This assessment form may be more heavily used in some disciplines than others. Lastly, the third type of assessment is the performance assessment. Performance tasks are best suited for gathering evidence of a student’s ability to perform a specific skill or create a product. With the increased pressure on schools to prepare students for college and careers, there has been a push to integrate more performance-type assessments into the teaching and learning process. The idea is that by adding more performance-based assessments, students will develop a deeper understanding of content and be able to not only retain information but also apply and transfer that knowledge to new areas.

Understanding which assessment method to use is crucial to accurately assess student learning. However, learning when and how to use assessment to further learning and measure learning is also necessary. Consider reviewing the Teacher Made Assessment Strategies resource for a deeper dive into the strengths and weaknesses of different assessment types. In the next sections, we will look at how to ensure that our assessments measure accurately.

Considerations for Formatting Assessments

If you choose to summatively assess your students with a performance assessment, then a well-designed rubric can provide students with feedback on how they did on each objective. However, traditional assessments (MC, free response, etc.) often lack detailed feedback on student learning objectives. To provide better feedback to students, consider either grouping assessment items based on learning objectives or tagging items with information that points back to specific objectives or standards for reference.

Grouping or tagging assessment items allows a teacher to track student progress and provide specific feedback to students. Tracking individual learning objectives on an assessment provides a clearer picture of student learning of the objectives than an overall score. By providing subscores for each learning objective, students can see their strengths and weaknesses and use your feedback to guide any remediation efforts. If your assessments are broken into sections based on learning objectives, you might allow students to re-test specific sections of a unit versus taking the whole assessment again. This could save time and stress for students and the teacher.

High-Quality Assessments*

To be able to select and administer appropriate assessment techniques, teachers need to know about the variety of techniques that can be used as well as what factors ensure that the assessment techniques are high quality. We begin by considering high-quality assessments. For an assessment to be high quality, it needs to have good validity and reliability as well as the absence of bias.

Validity  is the evaluation of the  “adequacy and appropriateness of the interpretations and uses of assessment results”  for a given group of individuals (Linn & Miller, 2005, p. 68).

For example, is it appropriate to conclude that the results of a mathematics test on fractions given to recent immigrants accurately represent their understanding of fractions?

Is it appropriate for the teacher to conclude, based on her observations, that a kindergarten student, Jasmine, has Attention Deficit Disorder because she does not follow the teacher’s oral instructions?

Obviously, in each situation, other interpretations are possible that the immigrant students have poor English skills rather than mathematics skills, or that Jasmine may be hearing impaired.

It is important to understand that validity refers to the  interpretation and uses made of the results of an assessment procedure, not of the assessment procedure itself. For example, making judgments about the results of the same test on fractions may be valid if all the students understand English well. A teacher, concluding from her observations that the kindergarten student has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) may be appropriate if the student has been screened for hearing and other disorders (although the classification of a disorder like ADD cannot be made by one teacher). Validity involves making an overall judgment of the degree to which the interpretations and uses of the assessment results are justified. Validity is a matter of degree (e.g. high, moderate, or low validity) rather than all-or-none (e.g. totally valid vs invalid) (Linn & Miller, 2005).

Content validity  evidence is associated with the question: How well does the assessment include the content or tasks it is supposed to?  For example, suppose your educational psychology instructor devises a mid-term test and tells you this includes chapters one to seven in the textbook.  All the items in the test should be based on the content from educational psychology, not your methods or cultural foundations classes. Also, the items in the test should cover content from all seven chapters and not just chapters three to seven—unless the instructor tells you that these chapters have priority.

Teachers have to be clear about their purposes and priorities for instruction before  they can begin to gather evidence related to content validity .  Content validation determines the degree that assessment tasks are relevant and representative of the tasks judged by the teacher (or test developer) to represent their goals and objectives (Linn & Miller, 2005). In their book, The Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High-Quality Units, Wiggins & McTighe share a method that teachers can use to determine the validity of their assessments. Consider how the Two Question Validity Test (Wiggins & McTighe, 2011, p. 91) below might help you evaluate how well your assessment measures student understanding versus recall abilities, effort, creativity, or presentation skills.

Construct validity evidence is more complex than content validity evidence. Often, we are interested in making broader judgments about students’ performances than specific skills such as doing fractions. The focus may be on constructs such as mathematical reasoning or reading comprehension.

A construct is a characteristic of a person we assume exists to help explain behavior.

For example, we use the concept of test anxiety to explain why some individuals when taking a test have difficulty concentrating, have physiological reactions such as sweating, and perform poorly on tests but not in class assignments. Similarly, mathematics reasoning and reading comprehension are constructs as we use them to help explain performance on an assessment.

Construct validation  is the process of determining the extent to which performance on an assessment can be interpreted in terms of the intended constructs and is not influenced by factors irrelevant to the construct.

For example, judgments about recent immigrants’ performance on a mathematical reasoning test administered in English will have low construct validity if the results are influenced by English language skills that are irrelevant to mathematical problem-solving. Similarly, construct validity of end-of-semester examinations is likely to be poor for those students who are highly anxious when taking major tests but not during regular class periods or when doing assignments. Teachers can help increase construct validity by trying to reduce factors that influence performance but are irrelevant to the construct being assessed. These factors include anxiety, English language skills, and reading speed  (Linn & Miller 2005).

The third form of validity evidence is called criterion-related validity.  Selective colleges in the USA use the ACT or SAT among other criteria to choose who will be admitted because these standardized tests help predict freshman grades, i.e. have high criterion-related validity. Some K-12 schools give students math or reading tests in the fall semester in order to predict which are likely to do well on the annual state tests administered in the spring semester and which students are unlikely to pass the tests and will need additional assistance. If the tests administered in the fall do not predict students’ performances accurately, the additional assistance may be given to the wrong students illustrating the importance of criterion-related validity.


Reliability refers to the consistency of the measurement (Linn & Miller 2005). Suppose Mr. Garcia is teaching a unit on food chemistry in his tenth-grade class and gives an assessment at the end of the unit using test items from the teachers’ guide. Reliability is related to questions such as: How similar would the scores of the students be if they had taken the assessment on a Friday or Monday? Would the scores have varied if Mr. Garcia had selected different test items, or if a different teacher had graded the test? An assessment provides information about students by using a specific measure of performance at one particular time. Unless the results from the assessment are reasonably consistent over different occasions, different raters, or different tasks (in the same content domain) confidence in the results will be low and so cannot be useful in improving student learning.

We cannot expect perfect consistency. Students’ memory, attention, fatigue, effort, and anxiety fluctuate, and so influence performance. Even trained raters vary somewhat when grading assessments such as essays, science projects, or oral presentations. Also, the wording and design of specific items influence students’ performances. However, some assessments are more reliable than others, and there are several strategies teachers can use to increase reliability

  • First, assessments with more tasks or items typically have higher reliability.

To understand this, consider two tests one with five items and one with 50 items. Chance factors influence the shorter test more than the longer test. If a student does not understand one of the items in the first test the total score is very highly influenced (it would be reduced by 20 percent). In contrast, if there was one item in the test with 50 items that was confusing, the total score would be influenced much less (by only 2 percent). This does not mean that assessments should be inordinately long, but, on average, enough tasks should be included to reduce the influence of chance variations.

  • Second, clear directions and tasks help increase reliability.

If the directions or wording of specific tasks or items are unclear, then students have to guess what they mean undermining the accuracy of their results.

  • Third, clear scoring criteria are crucial in ensuring high reliability  (Linn & Miller, 2005).

Absence of bias

Bias occurs in assessment when there are components in the assessment method or the administration of the assessment that distort the performance of the student because of their characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, or social class (Popham, 2005).

  • Two types of assessment bias are important: offensiveness and unfair penalization.

An assessment is most likely offensive to a subgroup of students when negative stereotypes are included in the test.  For example, the assessment in a health class could include items, in which all the doctors were men and all the nurses were women. Or, a series of questions in a social studies class could portray Latinos and Asians as immigrants rather than native-born Americans. In these examples, some female, Latino or Asian students are likely to be offended by the stereotypes, and this can distract them from performing well on the assessment.

Unfair penalization occurs when items disadvantage one group not because they may be offensive but because of differential background experiences. For example, an item for math assessment that assumes knowledge of a particular sport may disadvantage groups not as familiar with that sport (e.g. American football for recent immigrants). Or an assessment on teamwork that asks students to model their concept of a team on a symphony orchestra is likely to be easier for those students who have attended orchestra performances—probably students from affluent families. Unfair penalization does not occur just because some students do poorly in class. For example, asking questions about a specific sport in a physical education class when information on that sport had been discussed in class is not unfair penalization as long as the questions do not require knowledge beyond that taught in class that some groups are less likely to have.

It can be difficult for new teachers teaching in multi-ethnic classrooms to devise interesting assessments that do not penalize any groups of students. Teachers need to think seriously about the impact of students’ differing backgrounds on the assessment they use in class. Listening carefully to what students say is important as is learning about the backgrounds of the students.

Assessments in the PE Setting

If you are teaching in a PE setting and you are thinking that assessment “looks different,” then you might consider reviewing some of the resources below to see how the principles above can help you gather evidence of student learning and skill development.

Formative assessment is most commonly referred to as assessment for learning, as the purpose is to inform your instructional decisions to guide student learning. In contrast, summative assessment is referred to as assessment of learning, as the purpose is to measure what students know at the conclusion of learning. To effectively use formative or summative assessment in the classroom, teachers must clearly define their learning objectives, choose assessment techniques that provide reliable individual evidence of student learning, and use data of student understanding to adjust their instruction. Technology should be considered when planning assessments as it may assist in increasing student motivation and analyzing resulting data.

Summarizing Key Understandings

Peer examples, references & attributions.

Attribution: “Definition of Formative Assessment” was adapted in part from GSC Lesson Planning 101 by  Deborah Kolling and Kate Shumway-Pitt, licensed CC BY-SA 4.0

Attribution: “Adjusting Instruction Based on Assessment” was adapted in part from Educational Psychology by Kelvin Seifert, licensed CC BY 3.0 . Download for free at[email protected]

Attribution: “Technology & Formative Assessment” was adapted in part from Igniting Your Teaching with Educational Technology by Malikah R. Nu-Man and Tamika M. Porter, licensed CC BY 4.0

Attribution: “Summative Assessment” was adapted in part from Ch. 15 Teacher made assessment strategies by Kevin Seifert and Rosemary Sutton, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License .

Attribution: “High-Quality Assessments” section is adapted in part from Ch. 15 Teacher made assessment strategies by Kevin Seifert and Rosemary Sutton, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License .

Airasian, P. W. (2004). Classroom Assessment: Concepts and Applications 3rd ed. Boston: McGraw Hill.

Chappuis, J., Stiggins, R. J., Chappuis, S., & Arter, J. A. (2012). Classroom assessment for student learning: Doing it right – using it well. Boston, MA: Pearson.

Linn, R. L., & Miller, M. D. (2005). Measurement and Assessment in Teaching 9th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Popham, W.J. (2005).

Popham, W. J. (2017). Classroom assessment: What teachers need to know, 8th edition. Boston, MA: Pearson

Popham, W. J., & Baker, E. L. (1970). Planning an instructional sequence. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Seifert, K. (May 11, 2011). Educational Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Download for free at[email protected]

Stiggins, R. J. (2005). Student-involved assessment for learning. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Timmis, S., Broadfoot, P., Sutherland, R., & Oldfield, A. (2016). Rethinking assessment in a digital age: Opportunities, challenges and risks. British Educational Research Journal, 42(3), 454-476.

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2011). The Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High-Quality Units. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Planning Assessments Copyright © by Jason Proctor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Teacher transfers and reassignments

Can teachers be transferred or reassigned any time their administration decides to move them?

While it may seem unfair, unjust and downright wrong, school districts have an almost absolute right to transfer or reassign teachers at any time for any reason.

With the exception of the diminishing number of teachers on continuing contracts, most teachers sign a contract every year or two. Although you might not have read your contract in great detail, it always includes a clause stating, for example, that each teacher "shall be subject to assignment and reassignment of positions or duties, additional duties, changes in responsibilities or work, transfers, or reclassification at any time during the contract term."

School district authority to reassign or transfer a teacher is typically explicit both in the teacher’s contract and in local policies. A complete copy of your school district’s policies should be available in your personnel office, and a growing number of districts have these documents online.

If your district subscribes to the Texas Association of School Boards policy service, the policies specifically addressing the ability of the superintendent to reassign/transfer a teacher are Policy DK (local) and BJA (local). A typical DK (local) policy reads as follows:

"All personnel are employed subject to assignment and reassignment by the superintendent or designee."

A typical BJA (local) policy, under the personnel management section, reads as follows:

"[A superintendent can] Assign and reassign all personnel; exercise final placement authority for educators transferred because of enrollment shifts or program changes."

When you consider these several grants of authority in conjunction, it becomes clear why school districts have almost an absolute authority to reassign/transfer a teacher at any time.

Challenging the district action

Although you, as a teacher, may be reassigned or transferred, it is not to say that you do not have an avenue to challenge the reassignment/transfer. The most formal avenue is to file a grievance to what is, in most districts, Policy DGBA (local).

The grievance process is a procedure every district uses to enable employees to file formal complaints regarding any condition of work. Most policies allow 15 calendar days for initially filing a grievance, and generally this timeline is strictly followed. Once you know or should know about your reassignment or transfer, you have 15 calendar days to file a grievance. Some district policies allow for a longer (or shorter) period of time, so you MUST read your district DGBA policy to ensure that you file a grievance in a timely manner.

A reassignment or transfer would be grounds for filing a grievance. Although you, as a teacher, have an absolute right to file a grievance, you should be aware that the chances for success are not great unless you can show an impermissible motive for the action.

If you can show that the school district reassigned you for an impermissible reason (for example, race, sex, national origin or religion), you would have a higher likelihood of success. Providing evidence of an illegal motive, however, is not an easy task; you must show that the reassignment/transfer was directly related to the impermissible reason. If the district has evidence to show that the action was based on any other reason, even if the other reasons are rather mundane, you most likely will not be successful in challenging the action.

A reduction in pay is another factor that is considered during the reassignment/transfer grievance process. Action that results in a pay reduction might provide a financial reason to successfully grieve the action; however, if the district pays the difference in salary, this argument would not be valid.

Bringing a grievance will ultimately allow you to reach the school board level, which on occasion results in a favorable outcome for the teacher even in the absence of a strong legal argument. If you can persuade your local school board that you were treated unfairly or that a better alternative was available, it is possible that the board could grant the relief requested in your grievance. More commonly, however, local boards are urged to support the administration and not interfere in management decisions. This usually results in the board’s ratification of the administration’s action.

Movement to an area for which you are not certified

A final reassignment/transfer issue that is highly problematic involves moving a certified teacher to a teaching position for which he/she is not certified. Surprisingly, districts DO have the right to take this action. Under the authority of the Texas Administrative Code, a school district can apply for an emergency permit for a certified teacher who was employed by the district in the previous year or semester in a position for which he/she was certified to teach. The authority is granted in the Texas Administrative Code Title 19, Sec. 230.501.

If the requirements in this provision are satisfied, the district has the authority to require reassignment/transfer. The good news is that the district can get the emergency permit for only one year. If you are placed in this situation, you can file a grievance and challenge the district’s decision. If your grievance is unsuccessful, and you will likely be unsuccessful if the district has followed the proper procedures, you should file a written request to be reassigned back to a position for which you are certified once a position becomes available.

TCTA members with additional questions or who would like to discuss this issue in more detail are encouraged to contact the TCTA legal department at 888-879-8282 or submit a question via our Ask-A-Lawyer form .

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The Student Placement Input Form is an opportunity for parents/guardians to tell the principal about their child to help make classroom placement decisions over the summer. Parents CANNOT request a specific teacher, but you can request certain characteristics in a teacher that would be a good match for your child.  The deadline for families to complete this form is May 5th at midnight.  All new students to Virginia-Highland ES will still have an opportunity to complete this form once registered. 

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Teacher assignments for the upcoming school year will NOT be mailed for returning students. Teacher assignments will be posted to Infinite Campus shortly before school begins. Please be sure that you are able to access your child’s Infinite Campus account. Don’t know how to get to Infinite Campus? Contact your current teacher (if school is in session), our school secretary or school counselor. 

All Kindergarten and new students will be able to receive their teacher assignments at our Sneak Peek/Meet the Teacher Event in late July.  Teacher assignments are not mailed.  At Sneak Peek, parents will have an opportunity to visit the school with their children and meet their child's homeroom teacher(s).  Teacher assignments will be posted.  On sneak peek day, parents will be able to pick up carpool assignments, bus route information, medical information (meet our school nurses) and breakfast/lunch information.  Parents will also be able to sign their child up for Afterschool Daycare at Virginia-Highland ES or sign up for other clubs and organizations. 

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Differentiated Instruction Strategies: Tiered Assignments

Janelle cox.

  • September 23, 2014

Male teacher standing in front of a chalkboard behind a group of students

Many teachers use differentiated instruction strategies  as a way to reach all learners and accommodate each student’s learning style. One very helpful tactic to employ differentiated instruction is called tiered assignments—a technique often used within flexible groups.

Much like flexible grouping—or differentiated instruction as a whole, really—tiered assignments do not lock students into ability boxes. Instead, particular student clusters are assigned specific tasks within each group according to their readiness and comprehension without making them feel completely compartmentalized away from peers at different achievement levels.

There are six main ways to structure tiered assignments: challenge level, complexity, outcome, process, product, or resources. It is your job, based upon the specific learning tasks you’re focused on, to determine the best approach. Here we will take a brief look at these techniques.

Ways to Structure Tiered Assignments

Challenge level.

Tiering can be based on challenge level where student groups will tackle different assignments. Teachers can use Bloom’s Taxonomy as a guide to help them develop tasks of structure or questions at various levels. For example:

  • Group 1:  Students who need content reinforcement or practice will complete one activity that helps  build  understanding.
  • Group 2:  Students who have a firm understanding will complete another activity that  extends  what they already know.

When you tier assignments by complexity, you are addressing the needs of students who are at different levels using the same assignment. The trick here is to vary the focus of the assignment based upon whether each group is ready for more advanced work or simply trying to wrap their head around the concept for the first time. You can direct your students to create a poster on a specific issue—recycling and environmental care, for instance—but one group will focus on a singular perspective, while the other will consider several points of view and present an argument for or against each angle.

Tiering assignments by differentiated outcome is vaguely similar to complexity—all of your students will use the same materials, but depending on their readiness levels will actually have a different outcome. It may sound strange at first, but this strategy is quite beneficial to help advanced students work on more progressive applications of their student learning.

This differentiated instruction strategy is exactly what it sounds like—student groups will use different processes to achieve similar outcomes based upon readiness.

Tiered assignments can also be differentiated based on product. Teachers can use the Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences to form groups that will hone particular skills for particular learning styles . For example, one group would be bodily/kinesthetic, and their task is to create and act out a skit. Another group would be visual/spatial, and their task would be to illustrate.

Tiering resources means that you are matching project materials to student groups based on readiness or instructional need. One flexible group may use a magazine while another may use a traditional textbook. As a tip, you should assign resources based on knowledge and readiness, but also consider the group’s reading level and comprehension.

How to Make Tiering Invisible to Students

From time to time, students may question why they are working on different assignments, using varied materials, or coming to dissimilar outcomes altogether. This could be a blow to your classroom morale if you’re not tactful in making your tiers invisible.

Make it a point to tell students that each group is using different materials or completing different activities so they can share what they learned with the class. Be neutral when grouping students, use numbers or colors for group names, and be equally enthusiastic while explaining assignments to each cluster.

Also, it’s important to make each tiered assignment equally interesting, engaging, and fair in terms of student expectations. The more flexible groups and materials you use, the more students will accept that this is the norm.

Tiering assignments is a fair way to differentiate learning. It allows teachers to meet the needs of all students while using varying levels of tasks. It’s a concept that can be infused into homework assignments, small groups, or even learning centers. If done properly, it can be a very effective method to differentiate learning because it challenges all students.

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Teacher Interview Process: What To Expect From Hiring Schools

This article describes the typical interview process for teachers seeking a new job at a Pre-K to 12 school: what to expect and how to successfully get a teaching job offer.

Each school’s recruitment and interview process is different — it is shaped by the school’s goals and circumstances, including the positions that need to be filled, time of year, and internal dynamics. This article will cover what happens behind the scenes, the most commons interview steps, and how to pass each step to get a teaching job offer. We try to describe the most typical interview process as a starting point for your preparation. Our insights are based on conversations with hundreds of recruitment teams hiring teachers on Selected, and thousands of candidates that we coach through the interview process.

Who is this for?

This article is for all teacher candidates looking for a new teaching job, including first-time teachers and experienced, mid-career switchers . The goal is to provide insights into the interview process based on constant conversations with a range of school recruitment teams — from individual community charters to large districts. This article is geared towards candidates seeking full-time, lead or co-teaching positions at a Pre-K to 12, public or private school. We will cover process nuances for different roles, experience levels, and school types in the future. The intended outcome is for you to understand how the process works so you can strategize, prepare, and excel during your interviews.

Behind the Scene: Who at the School is Involved?

A school isn’t a monolith, or a building, it’s an organization of people with competing thoughts, motivations, and interpersonal dynamics. When you interview, there are a variety of roles and personalities involved in making the decision to hire you, including:

  • Recruiters and HR Team Members: Their function is to find the right candidates, convince them to apply, screen out candidates that are not a fit, bring people on site, and hand off to other interviewers. A top goal for this group is to efficiently “source” as many, high-quality candidates for on-site interviews, while filtering out wrong-fit candidates.
  • Hiring Managers: A principal, assistant principal, head of school, dean of faculty, or other senior school leader is the decision maker and has the power to offer you a job, or not. A key motivation is sustainable team building — not only filling open positions but building a collaborative team of people who will stay and grow for years to come. Teacher turnover is a top concern due to the high effort and cost or re-hiring and, ultimately, because it is disruptive to students.
  • Other Interviewers: Content and grade leads, head of upper and lower schools, or other experienced teachers and leaders have significant influence over hiring decisions.
  • Executives and Senior Administrators: If you are interviewing at a larger school district or charter school network, there may be an additional tier of senior leaders (e.g., superintendent or CEO) who may be directly or indirectly involved in hiring decisions.

Regardless of title, participants in the interview process will adopt various roles that you will need to manage to proceed to subsequent rounds:

  • Insider: Having a friend or acquaintance at the school is a huge advantage (if you don’t have one, Selected can be your Insider). Any positive relationship with a current teacher or administrator can dramatically boost your chances of getting a job. This person provides social proof that you are a fit for the role and school, and can take the critical role of your Champion. Improve your odds by leveraging your network. If you don’t know anyone at the school, start developing relationships today, and leverage Selected, before interviewing.
  • Screeners: It is critical to avoid making mistakes and giving recruiters or others a reason to exclude you before you begin. Even if you are qualified for a position, potential character or “soft skill” issues, such as being rude, missing scheduled calls, or having a bad resume can result in elimination (the decision can happen in seconds). Later in the process, Screeners can become Influencers by providing important data, particularly from the early phases.
  • Influencers: Experienced teachers and front-line leaders (e.g., content or grade leads) exert significant influence on whether you will get offered or not. For example, during the demo lesson, these interviewers are assessing you on a range of criteria, so it is important to convince each and every Influencer that you are a great addition to the team.
  • Champion: It’s important to secure at least one person to become your strongest advocate. The more champions you have, the better your chances are. The inverse situation is having a group of interviewers who are lukewarm to you — resulting in the school hiring a different candidate (your unknown competitor). Have you ever experienced the situation where things were going really well and then suddenly the school goes radio silent? What might have happened is that the team didn’t feel strongly about you and is now pursuing someone else.
  • Saboteur: Anyone involved may also become your strongest detractor. For whatever reason — they don’t think you have the right stuff, you said something that turned them off, or they are biased against you in some way — this person can sink your chances in an instant. Candidates frequently underestimate the power of just one negative voice in the process. That’s why we advise candidates to be engaged and pleasant with everyone, including people that aren’t officially interviewing you (e.g., the person who greeted you when you first checked in). You should attempt to win over every person you encounter (e.g., office admins, students in the hall, other staff), as it is a strong signal to your interviewers on how you will behave on-the-job. The best recruitment teams will proactively solicit feedback from everyone who interacted with you. If they have enough candidates to choose from (the best schools will), they won’t have to take any chances with a candidate even one person has doubts about.
  • Decision maker: Ultimately, this is the person (e.g., Hiring Manager) who you need to win over, particularly during the final, one-on-one meeting. Typically, this person won’t get involved until later rounds (to save time), and will be the final evaluator of your fit. This person will also be the primary person trying to sell you on the opportunity and school (e.g., school culture, community, professional development opportunities).

How is the decision to hire you made?

It depends on the school — no two school interview processes are exactly the same. The decision to offer you a job (and how you are evaluated) varies from casual to rigorous and individual to group-based. A process is the result of the school’s planning and execution of its hiring goals. Below are key factors that implicitly shape your interview experience:

A good place to start is constraints , because a school doesn’t have a choice on:

  • Type of school: Needs of an individual community charter school are very different than those of a large district or charter management organization (CMO). Factors to understand include the community and students served (e.g., high-need, multi-lingual, first-generation college), as well as, legal and financial structure (e.g., private vs. public, district vs. charter, secular vs. religious).
  • Pedigree: The mission, values, cultural traditions, pedagogical beliefs, and past and present leaders are inextricable from the school’s identity, and may be difficult or impossible to change. A school’s “cultural DNA” will directly influence the line of questioning you get. For example, a progressive school might ask questions about exploratory, project-based learning while a low-performing school might ask about responding to data on student outcomes for standardized testing. Understanding the context is a shortcut to preparing the right approach.
  • Type of role: The role is the role. Regardless of how great you are, a school desperately seeking a high school physics teachers will not give you the time of day if you are an elementary art teacher. Focus on schools that need what you offer — deeply understand what the school needs and its requirements, such as certification needs, minimum years experience, and extracurricular participation.
  • Budget: If a school doesn’t have the money, this will automatically shut out teachers that have higher salary expectations (e.g., more experienced teachers).
  • Timing: Many candidates we speak to underestimate how much timing plays in the process. A school’s decision will be pressured by when it has to hire — immediately vs. for the next school year. Unexpected mid-year departure and early vs. late in the hiring season are factors. Public and private schools have different hiring seasons.
  • Organizational habits: Schools have good and bad habits, biases, and preferences for specific candidate types. For example, some schools focus on hiring more inexperienced teachers to train them on their system (versus having to “re-program” seasoned teachers with entrenched opinions and habits). This factor is particularly difficult and unpredictable to candidates, particularly if a school does not systematically check its biases based on age, race and ethnicity, gender, superficial personality traits, among many other qualities. Your best bet is to learn about a school’s idiosyncrasies from an Insider (or online research), or observe them early in the process and adapt your approach.
  • Macro trends: There are other, larger factors that are difficult to see but are major drivers of your experience and career trajectory, including your locale’s political and economic situation, changes to education and administrative policies, legal mandates, approach to standardized testing, curriculum changes, student population growth, and supply of available teachers (e.g., shortage of STEM, special education, or multilingual teachers). The more you understand the big picture, the better you will be at strategizing your interview approach (and long-term career plan). Did you minor in math? Did you speak a second language growing up? The trend is your friend — highlighting and positioning yourself carefully can make a big difference.

Beyond the circumstances described above, a school’s hiring goals ultimately dictate how a decision gets made. A recruitment team is trying to find candidates that meet the school’s needs by assessing leading indicators of on-the-job success. The types of people schools look for vary widely, but here are common assessment dimensions we see time and again:

  • Character: These are the indispensable characteristics a teacher needs to be successful in the classroom (and greater school community). Examples: self-reflective, growth mindset, coachable, adaptable, experimental, gritty, problem solving, dependable, and goes the extra mile.
  • Culture: Are you a great (not just good) fit with the school’s mission, values, pedagogy, and interpersonal dynamics? Do you raise or lower the bar?
  • Competencies: Do you have the hard and soft skills and experiences to be a successful teacher at the school? Examples: Classroom management skills, content expertise, communication effectiveness, organization, and data-driven decision making.


Common Interview Process Steps

Here is the most typical teacher interview process that we see:

teacher assignment process


Before modern tools like Selected , a candidate would have to apply to hundreds of job postings (through a job board or school website) and wait to see if they hear anything back. On the school’s end, your application, along with everyone else’s, is fed into a single repository. Many schools use a software tool called an Applicant Tracking System (“ATS”) that lets them post and manage open jobs and have all the applications feed back to the system. Even if a school is not actively hiring for a role, they may keep a job post up so they can collect resumes as leads in case they need them in the future. Good for them, not for you.

  • School’s goal: Source as many leads as possible for current and future hiring
  • What to expect: In the background, HR or marketing team members (e.g., recruiters) are creating job postings and sharing them on their website, job boards and sites, email lists, and other channels to get a job-seeking teacher to apply.
  • Your goal: Get your application noticed by a human. Ever apply into a blackhole and never hear back from anyone? This may be because your resume is collected and stored with hundreds or thousands of others and difficult to notice. This is where an Insider can be a huge help — shortcutting the line and guaranteeing eyes on your application.
  • What to avoid: Not following instructions, silly errors such as typos or leaving items blank, not following up, not trying to get in touch with a human.
  • Selected Resources: How can I learn more about a particular school?

Resume Screen

Your resume and application are quickly reviewed to assess your candidacy. Often, a recruiter will review every resume, but only spend a few seconds to a few minutes, max (e.g., 30 to 60 seconds).

  • School’s goal: Efficiently review as many resumes as possible to find the best candidates to speak to while eliminating those who are not a fit.
  • What to expect: Assessment by a recruiter (larger school or network) or someone with this responsibility (e.g., principal, head of school, experienced teacher, someone from Human Resources, operations, or administration at a smaller school or network). The recruiter has yes/no/maybe criteria used to decide whether to pass you through or not (sometimes in a formal, documented checklist, but often an implicit list in their head). Often, for the sake of efficiency, they look to rapidly disqualify candidates (e.g., using technicalities such as certification, years of experience, minimum GPA) while looking for stand-out candidates (e.g., role-fit for grade and subject, quality of experience, extracurriculars) to curate a smaller pool of likely best-fit candidates.
  • Your goal: Get a conversation with a real person so you can explain what you bring to the table.
  • What to avoid: Simply, don’t get disqualified. Much of this step is defense — avoid common mistakes on your resume, then work to stand out from the crowd.
  • Selected Resources: Get a free, professional resume review within 24 hours. Top 5 Resume Tips. Revamp Your Resume (full-length workshop video).

Phone Screen

For instructional roles, you’ll have a 15- to 30-minute call with an interviewer — a call is a low-cost, low-commitment way to gain much richer insight into your communication style, thought process, and personality.

  • School’s goal: Assess if a candidate is worth the time and effort to bring on-site and putting in front of a larger group of interviewers.
  • What to expect: A recruiter (or experienced teacher, administrator) is assessing you live to tease out any red flags to eliminate you, or find evidence that you are actually a good fit.
  • Your Goal: Get past this final screening round and in front of real people so you can show how great you are. Don’t give the interviewer any reason to doubt and eliminate you. Simultaneously, you have to shine by actively selling why you are a good fit with several compelling, easy-to-remember reasons.
  • What to avoid: Rambling. We cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance of being concise and direct. Think before you respond and actually answer the question. Many candidates are eliminated at this step because they are nervous and fill silence with words. An interviewer has several, specific questions they need to get through — answer the question and move on after a minute or two. You can always ask if you should elaborate, but empower the interviewer with the option. Look for cues that encourage you to speak less or more (e.g., interviewer has to cut you off, or asks you to expand), ask for feedback, and clarify the question if you don’t understand. Separately, avoid silly mistakes that signal character issues, such as being late to the call, canceling last minute with excuses,, rescheduling multiple times, a noisy background during the call, or poor phone service.
  • Selected Resources: Three Things to Know About a Phone Interview with a School Recruiter . What a Former Teacher Recruiter Wants You to Know.

Demo Lesson (aka Sample Lesson)

Congrats on reaching this step, the vast majority of candidates won’t make it this far! Now, the hard part — the technical round.

  • School’s goal: Assess if they can put you in the classroom with students, and how you might actually perform on-the-job.
  • What to expect: A group of one to five interviewers (depending on the size of the school’s team and time of year) will ask you to teach real students in a classroom for 15 to 45 minutes. The duration of the demo depends on the role and your experience level, and varies from school-to-school. Associate positions and first-time teachers see the lower end of the range. It’s rare to not have students present (e.g., faculty members pretending to be students), even during summer! During busy times, there might be only one observer, other times you might see a full panel including a Hiring Manager, Other Influencers, Recruiters and HR Members, and sometimes, even Executives and Senior Administrators. An example group is the principal, an assistant principal, head of English Language Arts, an experienced teacher, and the recruiter who screened you. During this time, there is little to no interference from the group — you are on your own.
  • Your goal: Prove that you have the character and competencies to manage a classroom and drive learning outcomes. This is your time to shine. You will need to check a lot of boxes for each of the interviewers across a range of criteria (sometimes formally documented as a Hiring Scorecard , but often implicitly in their minds). Example criteria are evidence of organization and thoughtfulness, a strong lesson plan, ability to keep students safe, authority, behavior management, engagement techniques, communication effectiveness, and, oh ya, your actual instruction skills and content expertise.
  • What to avoid: Losing control of your emotions or the classroom, anger, yelling, allowing unsafe behavior, not having procedures, not setting expectations, and countless other things that can go wrong in the classroom.
  • Selected Resources: Ace the Teacher Demo Lesson . Acing the Demo Lesson (full-length workshop video). Use Non-Verbal Communication to Improve Classroom Engagement. Improve Student Behavior Without Shame or Punishment. Determine Effective Consequences. How to Have Difficult Conversations with Students About Their Behavior.

In-Person Interview

In rare cases, if the candidate is clearly not a good fit or not qualified, the Demo Lesson can be cut short and there will be no more interviews. But more often, regardless of how the Lesson went, you will be given the opportunity to debrief with a smaller group, often one-on-one with the Hiring Manager.

  • School’s goal: Make a final assessment on if they believe they can work with all the strengths and development areas that you bring to the table, if they would actually enjoy working with you, and if you would fit in with the school’s culture and community.
  • What to expect: A Hiring Manager will ask you to reflect on how the lesson preparation and execution went. The school leaders can ask high-level questions (e.g., your perceived development areas) to low-level questions (e.g., tactics of preparing supplemental materials). You can also expect them to provide feedback and ask you how you might re-implement certain aspects of the lesson. Many questions will address perceived risk areas, including any concerns the Hiring Manager or any other Influencer has.
  • Your goal: It is critical for you to use this opportunity to be self-reflective and demonstrate a growth mindset. Can you prove that you are constantly self-improving, coachable, data-driven, and won’t give up trying to be a better teacher everyday? The interviewers might provide critical feedback, which is never easy to hear. What they are trying to do is to see how you respond to feedback. You’re not a perfect teacher, no one is. The question is how you choose to proceed. Finally, you want to be genuine, likable, and show that you will bring great things to the school.
  • What to avoid: Flat answers with no self-awareness, humility, or acknowledgment of improvement opportunities. Unfocused rambling and not answering the question. Negative or emotional responses to feedback (e.g., defensiveness, anger, attitude, not taking personal responsibility). Being dull and not showing off your personality and passions. It’s not just about answering all the questions “correctly ” — you need to proactively convince them that you are a person they would love working with.
  • Selected Resources: Top 5 Tips to Ace the In-Person Teacher Interview. Acing the Teacher Interview. Top Teacher Interview Questions. Teacher Interviewing 101 (full-length workshop video). Ace the Teacher Interview : What to Expect & How to Succeed (full-length workshop video).

Reference Checks

If you made it this far, you are well on your way to getting a job offer. Some schools will ask for references up-front to save time and use it to assess you. But for many schools, this final due diligence is a sanity test that you are the real deal (and not a fantastic liar).

  • School’s goal: Validate that you are not misrepresenting yourself and that they are making the right decision to offer you.
  • What to expect:  Most schools will ask for around three references — they want to speak with your current supervisor, a previous supervisor, and a colleague or former colleague. If you are a recent grad or First-Time Job Seeker , you should be able to provide at least one professor who can vouch for you.
  • Your goal: Pick the right references! This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is critical to line up advocates (external Champions) who will speak effusively (not tepidly) about you. This is one of the few steps in the interview process that is completely in your control.
  • What to avoid: Casually picking people who don’t really know you, or who may offer generic recommendations, red flags, or create doubt. Last minute issues can derail your offer, especially when there are other strong candidates. It’s almost always better to get a strong and specific recommendation from a lower-level leader, such as a grade level chair or department head, versus a generic one from a principal. Also, line up references early! Give them a heads up with plenty of time to prepare. You might recall all the details or your experience, but a principal or professor interacts with hundreds or thousands of teachers over the years. A common mistake is when a recruiter reaches out to a reference and they are caught off-guard — that usually doesn’t end well for the candidate.

This step may happen in parallel with Reference Checks. This is arguably the most important step in the process. Be deliberate and decide carefully.

  • School’s goal: Make a final decision whether to give you a job offer or not. If yes, then “close” you (get you to sign an employment contract) as quickly and cheaply as possible.
  • What to expect: A Hiring Manager will sell you on how great the opportunity is — wonderful students, supportive leaders, growth and professional development opportunities, a compelling career path, school culture and values, even facilities and perks. A school may even create pressure to get you to sign with a deadline to accept and communicating that there are other candidates who were offered.
  • Your goal: Fully understand what the deal is. Ask all the questions you need (you are interviewing the school) and negotiate to optimize the offer. Selected helps thousands of teacher get amazing jobs at schools they love — we have learned that the single most important factor we see for teacher job satisfaction and long-term growth is picking a school where both the teacher and school align on culture, values, pedagogy, and other important criteria. So do yourself a favor — alleviate pressure by getting several, compelling options . Ask yourself if this school is right for you. Also, are you the right teacher for this school? It’s about mutual fit.
  • What to avoid: Not asking any questions. Not actively interviewing the school while they interview you. Asking perfunctory, non-consequential questions instead of the real questions, such as teacher turnover. Not assessing the quality of leadership. Not asking school staff and outsiders about the actual school’s culture and values. Taking the offer as-is without negotiating. Only getting one offer from one school and being forced to take it. Not focusing on mutual fit.
  • Selected Resources: Is this School Right for Me? Finding Your Ideal School Fit (full-length workshop video) . Negotiating Your Next Teaching Job Offer. Stories from Teachers Who Have Negotiated for More. How to Write a Great Email to a Hiring Manager.

Your Experience May Vary

The interview process that you actually experience may vary wildly from school-to-school, including based on the type of school, role, and even time of year. Interviewers are humans so the process they describe versus their actual practice may not reconcile, particularly because of:

  • Style and experience level of a recruitment team: Our candidates report a wide range of interview experiences — from delightful to tense and structured to less-than-organized. Every school is different so it’s important to adapt your strategies and approach each process differently.
  • Supply and demand: It’s hard to see but your experience will also depend on how many quality teachers applied for the job you want. You can do a great job interviewing but may still not get a job if the supply of teachers is high and the competition is fierce. For example, currently on Selected, we see more elementary general education teachers than there are available jobs, and less high school math teachers relative to open roles. If you are currently at a graduate school of education, future school demand is something for you to consider. Even for experienced educators, it’s never too late to grow into different areas and develop marketable skills.

Finally, if a school says “no,” hiring needs can and do change. We work with hundreds of actively hiring schools and observe this all the time. We even see some schools drastically change (ahem, decrease) their standards late in the hiring season or for immediate hires. It may be worth reaching back out to schools that you really like at different points in the year to see if they are more receptive to hiring you. We can help, check out our free teacher-school matching platform .

What has your experience been? Request for an article? Reach us at [email protected] .

About Selected

Selected helps teachers find jobs at schools they love. We offer a free school matching and career support platform for teachers that connects them with 1,200+ PK-12 public and independent schools in urban metro areas in the Northeast and West Coast, including New York City, NJ, CT, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Boston, and Los Angeles. Make a FREE profile and start speaking with hiring schools immediately !

Selected Expands To Los Angeles!

How to identify and manage student trauma in the classroom, you might also like..., the diverse classroom: community building activities that are truly inclusive, ace the teacher interview: what to expect and how to succeed, co-teaching: 7 ways to cultivate a strong relationship with your teaching partner, teacher interview hack: it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

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The Educators Room

The Educators Room

Empowering Teachers as the Experts

Teaching Strategy: Processing Assignments

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What is a  Processing Assignment  (PA)?

Simply put, it’s hitting the “pause button,” assessing and accumulating the current knowledge, and recreating what one learned in a creative, fun, and intellectual manner.

Just for clarification, a Processing Assignment is designed and created by the student. The PA’s produced by my students have won countless awards and national commendations, redefining what it means to process information!

Why should I use this tool in his classroom?

1.Students’ reading & writing development increases:  There is concrete evidence tying the use of PA’s to increasing student scores

2.Note-taking becomes an active process:  Instead of being drones of learning, students are put in control

3.Notebooks filled with PA’s become a portfolio of individual learning:  I can’t tell you how many times former students ask me “What are you learning in class?” – and when I tell them, they remember  exactly  what Processing Assignment they created for that exact lesson. Ten years ago.  That  is powerful learning.

4.Students personally tailor their education to the way they learn:  Teachers don’t tell students what to do for any processing assignments – the ideas and production are all their own, and they’re very proud of them

5.Processing Assignments are a creative outlet:  You will not hear too many students say they’re “bored” in this class, because the PA puts them in control

Why do students need to learn to be more creative?

History teaches us that  creativity and innovation improves our lives and revolutionizes the world . Some examples of people who creatively solved problems with outside-the-box thinking include the following (which we’ll study in Early American):

The United States Postal Service

The Declaration of Independence

The carbine rifle and modern bullet

The Constitution of the United States of American and the modern republic

The opening of the Erie Canal

The invention of the spinning jenny

The invention of the cotton gin

The railroad

Abolition of slavery

Compulsory education

Among others.

I do not profess to believe that  each  student in my classes will make the next great innovation that saves the world time, money, and morality, but I certainly know I give them a  better chance at improving the world when they’re creative  with the information given to them rather than mindlessly memorizing it.

Your students might not remember Eli Whitney’s name (he’s the inventor of the cotton gin) or memorize James Madison’s compromises for the Constitution, but they will be inspired by it. Who knows what students will do with their own creative ideas? That’s a rhetorical question I want  them  to answer.

What types of Processing Assignments are there?

You can copy and print the list below or  use this link to see examples of it in my classroom . Enjoy!

3D  – making your learning 3-dimensional… and if it’s too large, don’t be afraid to take a photo of it!

Acrostic  – write the term vertically and then turn each letter into sentences horizontally.

Advertisement  – create a flyer, billboard, or pamphlet promoting something.

Balance  – show how things are tethered to one another by using a balance beam or scale.

Caricature  – turn the person into a cartoon and describe different portions of what they look like, how they dress, and things about them.

Cartoon –  create a cartoon panel displaying what you learned that day.

Cause & Effect  – every action has consequences; use this PA to show just that.

CD Cover  – make a CD of songs that say a lot about the person; design a front cover and a back to include a few songs that he/she might like.

Commemorative Stamp  – some events and people have been honored by their respective postal offices. Here you can do the same.

Cultural Reference  – tie something in society into the PA.

Cycle  – what goes around comes around.

Definitive Wheel  – use a spiraled wheel to describe an event, person, or vocabulary term.

Dress-up  – Dress up yourself, your friends, or a doll you’ve made!

Edible  – learning time = snack time!

Eulogy  – write a poem or speech dedicated to the death of something / someone.

Fakebook Profile  – give a character life by creating a Fakebook page with contact info, activities, favorites, education, etc.

Finger Puppets  – great ideas are sometimes right at your fingertips!

Flow Chart  – connect ideas to one another by using arrows for continuation.

Foldable  – flip up and find something we’ve learned.

Football Game  – sometimes two opposing sides can be compared in a battle on the gridiron

Historical Markers  – create a tribute to a person or place by explaining its historical significance and designing a monument / plaque in its name.

Illustrated Definition  – bring a term to life by adding some pictures to the definition.

Journal  – place yourself in the time and create a journal entry talking about some of the things you learned that day in context.

Legos  – because, sometimes, having fun and learning are the same thing

Metaphor  – take a social studies concept and turn it into a metaphor.

Mind Notes  – place a person or idea on a paper and give it life by expressing its or his/her thoughts on paper.

Minecraft  – your favorite game does have a use in school after all; build a world and take photos of it, or capture a video of you traveling it!

Montage –  use a group of pictures to give a term meaning.

Movie poster  – turn your topic into something worth watching

Music –  sometimes history sounds better with a beat

Numerical Representation  – numbers don’t lie, especially when it comes to facts; show how they reflect what was learned.

Package  – a PA can be placed in its own case, opening up to reveal its contents.

Petition  – have something to say? Get the support of your peers by relating it to the concept

Pictoword  – give a term more depth by adding to the letters.

Play on Words  – sometimes we can have a weigh with what weaved learned.

Poetry  – turn what you learned into lessons you won’t burn.

Point of View  – write a term in the middle and then react to it from two different sides.

Post Cards  – imagine sending a post card about an event or person – what you would you say?

Prop  – add a little something extra by adding something I can use as an extra in a play!

Proverbs  – use popular proverbial phrases such as “don’t bite the hands that feeds you” or “better to teach a man to fish than to feed him for one day” to relate to a historical concept (very difficult!)

Pull Through  – a 3D representation that has a pull-through writing/picture piece to reveal the content.

Recopy Notes  – you’d be surprise that just recopying your notes in a creative way can help the information reprocess itself.

Report Card  – create a report card for a person grading them on things they’ve accomplished or failed to accomplish.

Shopping List / To-Do List  – imagine you’re a character or term and make a list of items – either real or fake – that they might need to purchase on their “trip.”

T-Shirts –  wear your Processing Assignment all day (or at least in class)!

Time Line  – give dates chronological order and pictures.

Topical Net  – connect terms to one another.

Tri-fold  – not all PA’s need to fit into your notebook; some can showcase your presentation prowess.

Twitter Post –  assume the role of a historical figure / term and make a fake tweet; just stay under 140 characters!

Vanity Plates  – draw a historical term / figure in a character, and give them vanity plates for their home state / country (keep in mind all plates are between 2 – 7 characters).

Venn Diagram

Visualization Representation  – use pictures like hieroglyphics to tell about a term.

Weekly Calendar  – make a mock calendar for what a week would be like for a historical figure / term we’re studying.

Word Splash –  put your word in the middle and then use other words to describe it.

Wordle  – go to or and input a bunch of words, and then turn them into a picture

Yes/No Chart  – ask a series of “yes/no” questions in order to arrive to your learning.

Related posts:

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Mr. Jake Miller is the 2016 National History Day Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year, a 2017 NEA Global... More by Jake Miller

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A survey conducted by the Associated Press has revealed that around 58% of parents feel that their child has been given the right amount of assignments. Educators are thrilled that the majority has supported the thought of allocating assignments, and they think that it is just right.

However, the question arises when students question the importance of giving assignments for better growth. Studies have shown that students often get unsuccessful in understanding the importance of assignments.

What key purpose does an assignment have? They often question how an assignment could be beneficial. Let us explain why a teacher thinks it is best to allot assignments. The essential functions of assigning tasks or giving assignments come from many intentions. 

teacher assignment process

What is the Importance of Assignment- For Students 

The importance of the assignment is not a new concept. The principle of allocating assignments stems from students’ learning process. It helps teachers to evaluate the student’s understanding of the subject. Assignments develop different practical skills and increase their knowledge base significantly. As per educational experts, mastering a topic is not an impossible task to achieve if they learn and develop these skills.  

Cognitive enhancement 

While doing assignments, students learn how to conduct research on subjects and comprise the data for using the information in the given tasks. Working on your assignment helps you learn diverse subjects, compare facts, and understand related concepts. It assists your brain in processing information and memorizing the required one. This exercise enhances your brain activity and directly impacts cognitive growth. 

Ensured knowledge gain   

When your teacher gives you an assignment, they intend to let you know the importance of the assignment. Working on it helps students to develop their thoughts on particular subjects. The idea supports students to get deep insights and also enriches their learning. Continuous learning opens up the window for knowledge on diverse topics. The learning horizon expanded, and students gained expertise in subjects over time.      

Improve students’ writing pattern 

Experts have revealed in a study that most students find it challenging to complete assignments as they are not good at writing. With proper assistance or teacher guidance, students can practice writing repetitively.

It encourages them to try their hands at different writing styles, and gradually they will improve their own writing pattern and increase their writing speed. It contributes to their writing improvement and makes it certain that students get a confidence boost. 

Increased focus on studies 

When your teachers allocate a task to complete assignments, it is somehow linked to your academic growth, especially for the university and grad school students. Therefore, it demands ultimate concentration to establish your insights regarding the topics of your assignments.

This process assists you in achieving good growth in your academic career and aids students in learning concepts quickly with better focus. It ensures that you stay focused while doing work and deliver better results.         

Build planning & organization tactics

Planning and task organization are as necessary as writing the assignment. As per educational experts, when you work on assignments, you start planning to structurize the content and what type of information you will use and then organize your workflow accordingly. This process supports you in building your skill to plan things beforehand and organize them to get them done without hassles.   

Adopt advanced research technique

Assignments expand the horizon of research skills among students. Learners explore different topics, gather diverse knowledge on different aspects of a particular topic, and use useful information on their tasks. Students adopt advanced research techniques to search for relevant information from diversified sources and identify correct facts and stats through these steps.  

Augmenting reasoning & analytical skills 

Crafting an assignment has one more sign that we overlook. Experts have enough proof that doing an assignment augments students’ reasoning abilities. They started thinking logically and used their analytical skills while writing their assignments. It offers clarity of the assignment subject, and they gradually develop their own perspective about the subject and offer that through assignments.     

Boost your time management skills 

Time management is one of the key skills that develop through assignments. It makes them disciplined and conscious of the value of time during their study years. However, students often delay as they get enough time. Set deadlines help students manage their time. Therefore, students understand that they need to invest their time wisely and also it’s necessary to complete assignments on time or before the deadline.  

Assignment Benefits

What is the Importance of Assignment- Other Functions From Teacher’s Perspective: 

Develop an understanding between teacher and students  .

Teachers ensure that students get clear instructions from their end through the assignment as it is necessary. They also get a glimpse of how much students have understood the subject. The clarity regarding the topic ensures that whether students have mastered the topic or need further clarification to eliminate doubts and confusion. It creates an understanding between the teaching faculty and learners. 

Clarity- what is the reason for choosing the assignment 

The Reason for the assignment allocated to students should be clear. The transparency of why teachers have assigned the task enables learners to understand why it is essential for their knowledge growth. With understanding, the students try to fulfill the objective. Overall, it fuels their thoughts that successfully evoke their insights. 

Building a strong relationship- Showing how to complete tasks 

When a teacher shows students how to complete tasks, it builds a strong student-teacher relationship. Firstly, students understand the teacher’s perspective and why they are entrusted with assignments. Secondly, it also encourages them to handle problems intelligently. This single activity also offers them the right direction in completing their tasks within the shortest period without sacrificing quality. 

Get a view of what students have understood and their perspective 

Assigning a task brings forth the students’ understanding of a particular subject. Moreover, when they attempt an assignment, it reflects their perspective on the specific subject. The process is related to the integration of appreciative learning principles. In this principle, teachers see how students interpret the subject. Students master the subject effectively, whereas teachers find the evaluation process relatively easy when done correctly. 

Chance to clear doubts or confusion regarding the assignment  

Mastering a subject needs practice and deep understanding from a teacher’s perspective. It could be possible only if students dedicate their time to assignments. While doing assignments, students could face conceptual difficulties, or some parts could confuse them. Through the task, teachers can clear their doubts and confusion and ensure that they fully understand what they are learning.   

Offering individualistic provisions to complete an assignment 

Students are divergent, and their thoughts are diverse in intelligence, temperaments, and aptitudes. Their differences reflect in their assignments and the insight they present. This process gives them a fair understanding of students’ future and their scope to grow. It also helps teachers to understand their differences and recognize their individualistic approaches.  


You have already become acquainted with the factors that translate what is the importance of assignments in academics. It plays a vital role in increasing the students’ growth multifold. 

TutorBin is one of the best assignment help for students. Our experts connect students to improve their learning opportunities. Therefore, it creates scopes of effective education for all, irrespective of location, race, and education system. We have a strong team of tutors, and our team offers diverse services, including lab work, project reports, writing services, and presentations.

We often got queries like what is the importance of assignments to students. Likewise, if you have something similar in mind regarding your assignment & homework, comment below. We will answer you. In conclusion, we would like to remind you that if you want to know how our services help achieve academic success, search . Our executive will get back to you shortly with their expert recommendations. 

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Who Is My Teacher?

Sep 19, 2023 • knowledge, information.

Students enrolled in a K12 Public or Private Virtual School will be assigned a teacher prior to the first week of school. Note: For students enrolled in the current school year, a teacher will be assigned within the first week.  ___________________________________________________________ To Find Out your Student’s Teacher Assignment in My Info:  

Go to the Online School (OLS) .

Log in using your Learning Coach username and password.

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From child star to 'Abbott,' Tyler James Williams pays it forward to the kids on set

Headshot of Tonya Mosley.

Tonya Mosley

teacher assignment process

Tyler James Williams and Quinta Brunson co-star as teachers on Abbott Elementary. ABC hide caption

Tyler James Williams and Quinta Brunson co-star as teachers on Abbott Elementary.

Actor Tyler James Williams co-stars as a buttoned-up first-grade teacher in the ABC sitcom Abbott Elementary. For Williams, it's the latest role in a career that spans more than 25 years.

Williams began as a child actor, most notably as a young Chris Rock in the TV sitcom Everybody Hates Chris. He says the role thrust him into the public eye in a way that felt traumatic — especially since he was going through puberty at the time.

How 'Abbott Elementary' helps teachers process the absurd realities of their job

How 'Abbott Elementary' helps teachers process the absurd realities of their job

"One day, I was just a kid in New York who was walking down the streets of Manhattan, auditioning," he says. "And the next day, my face was on every bus in the city."

Though he struggled with the pressure of carrying a hit show, Williams says his role on Everybody Hates Chris helped solidify his desire to be an actor: "Having been able to live very early parts of my life doing what I loved on set, consistently, day by day. I had tasted that. There was no going back," he says.

Abbott Elementary is a mockumentary that centers on a team of quirky teachers in a struggling Philadelphia public school. Williams worked with series creator and co-star Quinta Brunson to develop his character, Gregory.

'Abbott Elementary' creator Quinta Brunson finds humor and heart in the classroom

'Abbott Elementary' creator Quinta Brunson finds humor and heart in the classroom

"I think from the minute we got on the phone about it, Gregory became a collaborative effort," he says. "We very quickly had a conversation about the importance of showing an active Black male struggling with and attempting to do a really good job in raising the next generation, because those are the men I grew up with, and those are the men that she grew up with."

Interview highlights

On the simplicity of his Abbott Elementary character

I love that his story isn't rooted in some sense of trauma or some massive conflict that is very specific to his race. ... He's a guy with a job who's just trying to do a good job, who happens to be Black at a Black school with Black kids. I know that I've longed for stories that were rooted in an everyday conflict.

On being a former child actor — and working with child actors on Abbott Elementary

I can see them processing. ... One asked me the other day, what does "swinging a lens" mean? In TV, "swinging lens" means you're going tighter with the camera lens. So you had this wide shot and you're going into this kind of tighter shot. And they hear that every day and they're like, what does that mean? ...

From 'Dreamgirls' to 'Abbott Elementary,' Sheryl Lee Ralph forged her own path

From 'Dreamgirls' to 'Abbott Elementary,' Sheryl Lee Ralph forged her own path

I can tell that there are some who are going to try to pursue this for, I guess, a good amount of their lives. So I just want to make sure that they feel as comfortable and welcomed and leave with as much information as possible on this potential world that they could go into and that they're having fun. If they're not having fun there's no reason for us to be doing this.

On getting diagnosed with Crohn's disease

I had been living sick since I was about 19. I became aware how sick I was when I was hospitalized at 23. And I had a surgeon look at me in my eyes and tell me, "You need emergency surgery. ... Like, we need to do this right now or your insides may explode and you may die."

On living with pain before his diagnosis

It was nonstop. It became my normal. And this is when we talk about Everybody Hates Chris , this is the part that most people don't know, that show almost killed me. We had to figure out what the direct connection was because the doctors I was diagnosed [by said] ... "You're one of the worst cases I've ever seen." ... And we realized that one of the triggers was the stress. So the stress that I was experiencing from fighting for my career, from carrying a show at 12, was slowly scarring the insides of my intestines, as it would inflame because my body didn't know what to do with the stress. ... I was throwing up like three times a day. Trying not to eat when I knew I had to work, because I knew eating could possibly mess something up and I don't know what it was.

On his health now

I haven't had an incident where I had to go to the hospital in years. At this point, I'm on medication, but I think also I changed the way I lived. A lot of it was diet for me. There were certain things like, I just couldn't have anymore. I haven't had a drink of alcohol since I was 23. I haven't had a cup of coffee since I was 23.

On staying off social media and trying to block both negative and positive things people say

The trap that most people fall into — and I've seen that happen over and over and over and over and over again — is they start listening when it's positive. But eventually it was always turned. ... You have to block it all out. You have to figure out how you feel about you. And I think that's one of the things that has had our industry in a stranglehold, is this idea of what the audience is going to think before you make the art. But do you like it? If you like it, then do it and put it out. They might not. They may shoot it down before they even see it. That's fine. That's not why you made it. I've learned to turn off the noise — good and bad.

Lauren Krenzel and Joel Wolfram produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper and Beth Novey adapted it for the web.


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