Implementing Real-Time Assessments

Strategies for gathering and responding to assessment data on the lesson level

Assessment data is reveals dimensions of student learning and can be useful for both students and teachers. This workshop focuses on how to gather and respond to student assessment data flowing to teachers over the course of a single lesson.

Jump to a section

check_boxLearning Objectives
extensionCore Concepts
bookResources and reference documents
motorcycleExercise 1: Model mini-lesson using real-time assessment data
motorcycleExercise 2: Debrief and analysis of sample lesson
motorcycleExercise 3: Participant real-time assessment planning and sharing

Learning Objectives


Describe and discuss an example of real-time, lesson-level assessments


Create a model of real-time assessment data relevant to one's own discipline and core coursework


Create a draft plan for implementing real-time assessment during an upcoming lesson which includes both assessment instruments and response strategies



External Resources

CCAC assessment portal containing links to documentation of a variety of assessment strategies, ideas, and examples.

Developing classroom assessment system documentation describing in detail how various forms of assessment (informal, formative, and summative) can be structured to provide a holistic picture of student learning.



Module Core Concepts


Real-time assessment model

The following diagram captures sources of real-time assessment data and areas in which that data can flow and impact the way a lesson unfolds based on implementation of an assessment strategy.

Core Concepts

Principles of Real-Time assessment

To close the gap between administering an assessment instrument and students/teachers responses to that data, our assessment systems need to be streamlined, fast, and un-intimidating. Real-time assessments can be designed to implement these characteristics to the benefit of students and teachers.

The following principles can guide real-time assessment tool development:

  1. Employ the least-invasive and least record-intensive strategies first (e.g. assessment by walking around, student work review, etc.). "Pick the low-hanging fruit before climbing the tree."
  2. Whatever tools once chooses to use, they should be small, un-intimidating, and not framed as a ranking exercise. If somebody is placed on "top" then, necessarily, somebody is "below" them, creating unnecessary barriers to genuine collaboration.
  3. Map real-time assessment tools to lesson objectives so data and responses are coordinated around pre-determined learning outcomes.
  4. Plan real-time assessment questions so they are scaffolded and demand a range of intellectual rigor (i.e. Scaled up Blooms hierarchy).
  5. Transfer as much of the assessment process to the learners themselves, empowering them to use that data for themselves, removing the teacher as an intermediary between students and their learning process.



Skills baselines: 3x5 card assessment

Exercise type: Mini-quiz

Obtain a 3x5 card, write your name ON THE BACK, and complete these questions to the best of your ability on the lined side. Show as much work as you can, please.

Baseline quiz

  1. Calculate the area of a square with edges 3.56 cm long in to mm2
  2. Describe in 1-2 sentences how one can convey information about the speed ("power") of a computer of any kind (i.e. desktop, handheld, etc.)
  3. Review the following image: Compute the length of this USB memory stick to a proper degree of significant figures and state the error of the measurement

Peer check your quiz

Swap cards with your neighbor, review the answers given against the key below, and provide whatever feedback you can on where any errors were made or successes demonstrated.

Create class-wide instant leveling

The workshop facilitator will collect the cards and do a quick sort of each of the cards into one of three leveled categories: needing high-support, baseline proficient, and baseline advanced.

student leveling symbools



Exercise 1: Model mini-lesson using real-time assessment data and response strategies

Exercise type: Lesson Modeling

To provide some discussion content and strategy ideas, undertake the following exercise to calculate a rough measure of computer processing power based on device size. Use these steps to guide your work. You are welcome to work with peers as needed.

  1. Acquire a computing device, a sheet of paper, and an area measuring grid.
  2. Place your computer on the paper and trace its outline.
  3. Use the area measuring grid to calculate the area in square centimeters of the device's footprint. Write this area under the outline.
  4. use a non-archiving search engine such as to search for a measurement of your device's processor clock speed in megahertz. If you have a processor with multiple cores, multiple the clock speed by the number of cores.
  5. Compute a ratio of the computer's processing power to its area. Example: (100 mhz /
  6. Phone power/area ratio guide
  7. Look up the year this computing device was manufactured. Using the power/area ratio and the year, mark your data point on the class graph on the board.
  8. Help a peer who is not yet done or is confused.
  9. Study Moore's law using a resource of your choice



Exercise 2: Debrief and analsis of sample lesson

Exercise type: Group discussion

Questions for group discussion:

  1. What real-time assessment strategies did you witness? What data was gathered through these methods?
  2. How was assessment data used by the instructor to adjust the execution of the lesson?
  3. What planning was needed to implement each of the observed real-time strategies? Which seem the most onerous? The least work? Is the amount of work required to implement a strategy proportional to the value of the data produced?
  4. What about the method of execution could be improved?
  5. How could one or more of these methods be implemented in your own classes?



Exercise 3: Participant real-time assessment planning and sharing

Exercise type: Peer co-planning

Use the following guide to create a lesson-level, real-time assessment plan. These documents will be shared on this workshop's online guide and with other peers at CCAC.

Real-time assessment plan: [Course name, lesson name, your name]

Lesson objectives (include knowledge and skills)

[Skill-based objectives]

[Knowledge-based objectives]


Summarize the lesson you plan to teach in a sentence: what will students do to learn the material?

Assessment needs narrative:

Describe in a few sentences the general reason for implementing real-time assessments in this lesson and the kind of data the strategies you outline will yield.

Assessment tools and response plan
Real-time tool Implementation details Response plan
List each tool from the flow chart above you plan to implement in this lesson Describe when and how you expect to use this tool in the lesson What changes will you make during instruction based on the assessment data?



Quick Feedback: Session evaluation

Exercise type: Evaluation

Help improve future workshops by answering the following questions on a 3x5 card

Real-time assessment session evaluation

  1. What components of this workshop were most useful to your practice and why?
  2. How could this session be made more valuable to other teachers?