FIP Video of the Week

A Sampling Strategy for Collecting Evidence of Learning  

Mrs. Thomas reviews the learning targets with her class and uses a sampling strategy to find out where her students are in their learning.


  • When is it appropriate to do a quick check for understanding?
  • Why can a formative check be more effective than a graded quiz?
  • How does Mrs.Thomas respond when students miss the correct answer?


  • What was the purpose of randomly tossing the ball to students during the review?
  • How did the sampling strategy provide information for the teacher?
  • Why is it important to review and state the learning targets during each class?


  • How will you move your students from “student involvement” to “student ownership”?


Enroll in the Collecting and Documenting Evidence of Learning module.

Performance Assessment: More than an Act

What does the term ‘performance assessment’ conjure up for you? Does it summon the time you tried out for the school play? Or your driver’s license road test? How about the score you received for your magnificent demonstration at the 7th grade science fair? Are you sure that your notions of performance assessment and how to use this method of assessment effectively are on target?

The recently released Creating and Using Performance Assessment module is the final of four Mastering the Methods of Assessment Modules offered as part of the Designing Sound Assessment (DSA) series. By taking this module, the what, why and how of using this assessment method will become clear to you.

The module builds on other DSA modules that focus on specific methods of assessment. Below is an illustration depicting how multiple methods of assessment, when combined, become performance tasks.

By participating in this module, you will learn that performance assessment includes two basic components:

The Task: The task (or prompt) is what the student is being asked to do. A strong performance task ensures that students are able to get started, follow through and complete a high-quality performance assessment.

The Rubric or Checklist: The rubric or checklist provides the criteria on which the response will be evaluated. A strong analytic rubric provides rapid, consistent evaluation of responses while offering students opportunities for focused feedback.

Performance assessment tasks can vary by time span. Some tasks can be completed in a matter of minutes. Complex tasks may require an entire class period or even multiple days. Regardless of the task complexity and duration, all performance assessment should produce accurate and useful assessment of student performance by attending to the precision of prompts and rubrics used. Representative task and rubric examples (from content areas and grades) are provided in the module to help you design, critique, and create or refine your own performance assessments.

Mastering any skill or procedure takes time. Just ask a surgeon. The time you take to become masterful at the use of performance assessment is time well-spent. Performance assessment has the benefit of maximizing relevance through real-life, naturalistic or ‘authentic’ tasks.

Other benefits of performance assessment include:

  • Coverage: A performance task can delve into a single learning target or a combination of many different learning targets.
  • Extended Situations: All methods of assessment can be designed to model real-life situations and simulations. A unique benefit of performance assessment is the option of creating tasks that extend over days, weeks or even months.
  • Skill demonstrations: Performance assessment is unique among other forms of constructed response in that it can include student demonstration of a physical skill.

Let’s return to school plays, road tests, and science fairs. Certainly each of these fateful events were assessed using some measure or measures of performance. But were those tasks and expectations clear to you as the learner? Students should always be at the center of our assessment thinking. Performance assessment should be designed with the purpose of advancing student learning. Likewise, this module is sure to advance your learning as well!

Explore the DSA Learning Path! Each module will help you build your performance assessment literacy.

See what is behind the points on the How Students Benefit from Performance Assessment carousel by enrolling in this module.

FIP Video of the Week


8th grade ELA teacher, Mrs. Stewart, explains how she uses rotating stations in her classroom to collect and document evidence of student learning.


  • How does Mrs. Stewart create a classroom environment that fosters student ownership of learning?


  • How do you assess individual students' progress in a large class?


  • What will you do to create a classroom environment that allows for collecting and documenting evidence of student learning?


This blog post was written by Kathy Sturges. Kathy is a FIP Specialist for the Southwest Region, a part of a regional support system available to help your LEA advance the use of formative instructional practices. 



Richard Allen Schools is on a mission to "eye" FIP in every classroom and they are well on their way!

Staff members leave a "FIP Slip" when they spot FIP happening anywhere in the school.

Staff members leave a "FIP Slip" when they spot FIP happening anywhere in the school.

This year, as part of the FIP Implementation Plan, the Richard Allen Schools in Dayton and Hamilton, OH identified a core team to deepen their learning. This professional learning community (PLC) identified specific learning targets for themselves. They devote personal learning time, between weekly FIP team meetings, to deepen their understanding of FIP content. They utilize the resources on the FIP Your School Ohio website, including the FIP learning modules, videos, file room and the blog to differentiate their personal learning goals.

During the three hour weekly FIP team meetings, they spend time synthesizing the collective learning and considering ways to support colleagues in the use of FIP. In an effort to move away from a compliance approach to professional learning and towards a true formative learning system, the PLC thought they could better encourage involvement by spotlighting classrooms where evidence of FIP was seen.

A highly creative and artistic FIP team member created the “FIP slip” to visibly mark the classrooms where FIP was spotted. During their daily work, FIP team members look and listen for evidence of those practices being implemented in classrooms throughout the schools. “Eyeing FIP” slips are placed just outside classrooms where FIP is noticed. The staff love being recognized and some have even become competitive about getting “eyed.”

In the past, teachers were required to engage in the FIP Foundation modules with reflective conversations occurring during wavier day activities. This particular mode of implementation showed little change in practice however. But, when actual examples of FIP are recognized, teachers have begun to show more confidence in their practices and have been more willing to share their FIP success stories with others.

The FIP team continues to meet weekly and frames their work around: confirming their personal learning; confirming their practice; and confirming their commitment to grow FIP throughout the Richard Allen Schools.

The burning question is, who will be “eyed” next?

FIP Video of the Week

Leading a FIP District

Hear from the superintendent, principal, and assistant principal at East Muskingum Middle School to learn about their journey with formative instructional practices.


  • What processes need to be in place for teacher and leader collaboration to occur?
  • What commitments need to be made by leadership to promote district-wide reform?


  • If you visited a FIP classroom, what would you expect to see?
  • How do you avoid not “wasting time” teaching what students already know?


  • Whether you are an assigned leader or an informal leader, how will you move the FIP process forward in your school or district?
  • What steps will you take to ensure that students know where they are going, where they are in the learning, and what they need to do to close gaps in learning?




FIP: From Learning Targets to Student Ownership

This blog post was written by Neil Roseberry. Neil is a FIP Specialist for the Northeast Region, a part of a regional support system available to help your LEA advance the use of formative instructional practices. 

In April, we visited the classroom of 3rd grade teacher, Michelle LaGruth, at Falls-Lenox Primary School to examine what FIP looked like in her classroom. Nine months later we returned to follow up.

Since our last meeting, how have Formative Instructional Practices changed in your classroom?

“I think that the biggest difference is that I now plan all of my lessons around the learning targets and am able to differentiate those targets in a more effective way than I did before. I still want to get better at providing the correct targets for each student based on their needs. That is the most difficult part! I have found that the students really have become dependent on the learning target to understand where they are headed. I have also heard parents asking about learning targets. My student feedback has also changed a bit. I have found that I am doing a better job of connecting the feedback directly to each learning target. Before, my feedback would sometimes stray away from the target and students were probably receiving too much feedback. Although it has been difficult, I have really worked on highlighting only one or two things at a time for students to improve upon.”

Have you noticed any other changes with student achievement?

“One thing that has definitely changed is the way students talk now. I mentioned that I hear parents asking about learning targets, but students are also talking the same language. Since the district set the two goals of clear learning targets and effective feedback in all classes K-12, you can see and hear the difference in student focus. We have seen this effect their achievement. Our BLT (Building Leadership Team) has been tracking data and we can see real achievement differences since the building and the district has taken on these goals. I believe it has been so important for us to have a vision and understand that we are all (K-12) headed in the same direction!”

How do the students in your classroom take ownership of their work and their achievement?

“We, as a grade level unit, have worked on this and continue to improve it as we speak. The first thing we have done is to make sure that students understand where they are achieving as it relates to the learning target. In some cases, we then have students set a goal for their improvement. It can be an individual goal that is achievable for them. Although I don’t do it for every subject, for some subjects, like math, I have the students chart their growth based on the learning target and their goal. That way they can see exactly how much they have improved. I started with math because it seemed to be the easiest to adapt to this process. Other teachers at my grade level have used the idea to chart improvement in other areas. We also have started to include the students in meetings we have with parents. The students become a major part of the process. Because of this, they are more focused on their goals and achievement. “

What have you found to be the most challenging part of implementing Formative Instructional Practices?

“To be honest, I can answer that in one word - time. We never seem to have enough time; time to plan, time to collaborate, time to conference with students, time to just reflect on our practices. There is so much being thrown at us right now that sometimes I think my head will explode. With the amount of testing that is taking place to the implementation of OTES, we sometimes have very little time to just focus on instruction. I really wish that there were not so many things because I can see the importance of all we have talked about, but sometimes don’t have the time to implement or improve what I need to.”

What are the next steps for you and your classroom?

“I plan to continue to improve in all the areas we have discussed. I want to find better ways to provide the correct learning targets and to assess that students really understand where they are and where they are going. There are so many more techniques that I can try to implement that will help the students become more a part of the learning process. I also want to continue to help the parents understand that we are looking for mastery of knowledge!

Just one of the ways the students track their progress on specific learning targets.

Just one of the ways the students track their progress on specific learning targets.

Mrs. LaGruth is a 3rd grade teacher at Falls-Lenox Primary School. The school is a first through third grade building in the Olmsted Falls City School District. The District serves 3,800 students and is located 19 miles west of downtown Cleveland.