CIC Snapshot: Making Better Assessments

Advice for content developers from CIC 2016’s ‘Brave New World of Assessment’ panel

Ira WolfmanGuest blog post by Ira Wolfman, President, POE Comunications

Here are eight assessment suggestions gleaned by the AAP PreK-12 Learning Group from comments made by our four panelists (see below) at the June 8 session from Content in Context.

  1. Keep assessment in mind as you create content. From the start of your creative process, focus on what you consider the key takeaways: Identifying the heart of what you want to teach will help you develop what you need to test.
  2. Factor in the importance of different learning styles. Variety exists not only in the way students learn, but also in their comfort with types of assessment. Provide some that diverge from traditional academic formats.
  3. Embed formative assessment into your program’s content. Build in simple steps early on that offer teachers ways to measure students’ familiarity, and comfort, with the material.
  4. Make use of the value of spacing and repetition in learning. As you build content, remember that restating or revisiting important concepts after their first mention can be extremely helpful for learners.
  5. Communicate clearly about what you have created. Provide teachers with insight into the purpose, and value, of the features you are building into lessons and assessments.
  6. Remember that technology is a tool that should serve content. Don’t let tech become a driver of the lesson; instead, make it the delivery system for the content.
  7. Build a human touch-point into learning experiences that incorporate technology. The most powerful learning occurs when student, technology, and teacher are all engaged. When you create tech-enhanced lessons, plan a related teacher-student interaction; it will reinforce and broaden the value of the lesson.  
  8. Consider compatibility with an LMS as you develop your assessments. Administrators and teachers want an easy way to input results into a learning management system. If at all possible, provide that compatibility.


  • Christine Massey, Ph.D., Institute for Research in Cognitive Science, University of Pennsylvania
  • Daniel Meier, Ph.D., Social Studies Department Chair, Northeast High School, Philadelphia
  • Joseph Meloche, Ed.D.,  Superintendent, Cherry Hill Public School District, Cherry Hill, NJ
  • Kimberley O’Malley, Ph.D.,  Senior Vice President, School Research, Pearson

Ira Wolfman is the president of POE Communications, a media consulting company that works with educational publishers, parenting and children's magazines, and nonprofit organizations to develop outstanding cross-platform digital and print materials.

Assessment and Accountability
Content in Context