Support use of Karin's  Local Assessment Toolkit

- Tracking chart for using and reflecting on Toolkit activities implemented in classrooms


- Download the Quick Reference Bookmarks for each Module

Featured Kid Tools

April 2019 - Published in ASCD Express: Deepening Student Understanding with Collaborative Discourse 

April 2018 - The "What I Need to Do" Rubric 

When students understand the expectations - or success criteria - for a given performance task, they are better able to self-monitor their own progress. I developed the “What I need to do” rubrics by stripping away all performance levels except PROFICIENT and making them student interactive (Hess, 2018, Module 3). Download a science example.

November 2016 - Formative Assessment - TBEAR in Action! If you've been in my workshops, you've seen TBEAR, a graphic organizer for analyzing texts or preparing for discussion or writing. "TBEAR" provides support, especially for ELLs and struggling readers, and is an easy acronym for students to remember. Download TBEAR here.

Featured Instructional Strategies

February 2016 - Teaching and Assessing Understanding of Text Structures  – (Updated for Module 2, A Local Assessment Toolkit to Promote Deeper Learning, 2018 ) Build anchor charts with your students as they use increasingly more complex texts across the school year.


August 2018 - Complexity - is it the task, the content, or both? Why do some tasks or test items seem more challenging for students than others, even though the DOK levels are the same for both? This short paper explains how I think about content versus task complexity, and the use of  strategic scaffolding. 


January 2019 - Guided Practice: Introducing and planning to solve a mathematics  performance task - Getting started with (DOK 3-4) problem solving; useful when introducing deeper thinking to students or parents.

Featured Assessment Strategies

March 2019 (article/webinar) -  Rethinking formative assessment: Use learning progressions to fuel student success

December 2017 - Rubric Quality Review (Hess PLC Tool #11)

Rubrics and scoring guides provide a set of rules or guidelines for assigning scores to test takers. Rubrics are often used to elaborate on how to score longer constructed response items, performance tasks, and extended projects. I think that sometimes our rubrics could use an honest “quality review” to ensure that:

  • language is descriptive and not judgmental or too vague

  • performance levels are clearly qualitatively different

  • descriptors emphasize quality (e.g., the type of evidence) over quantity (e.g., the number of sources)

  • performance is stated in the positive for all performance levels, describing what students can do

Poorly constructed rubrics do not support student learning or self-assessment. 

Download Hess PLC Tool 11 here.

Karin Hess, Ed.D, is a recognized international leader in developing practical approaches for using cognitive rigor and learning progressions as the foundation for formative, interim, and performance assessments.



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© since July 2014 Karin Hess, Ed.D.