Design Protocol – Summative Assessment

Purpose: To engage a group in designing summative assessments aligned with performance indicators.

Preparation: Prior to meeting, the group selects the performance indicators that the assessment will measure. Ideally, scoring criteria will have already been defined for each performance indicator, which can serve as the rubric for scoring the final assessment task.



1. Review graduation competencies, performance indicators, and scoring criteria (5–10 min)

Examine the content-area and cross-curricular or transferable skills graduation competencies and performance indicators that you plan to assess with this task. Note the various skills or concepts that students will need to demonstrate. Ensure all members of the group are in agreement about which performance indicators will be measured by the assessment.

2. Review the summative assessment design guide (5–10 minutes)

View our summative assessment design guide. Then read and discuss the qualities of effective assessments in regards to the following key traits: alignment, accessibility, transfer, rigor, and scoring.

3. Brainstorm tasks and products (10–20 min)

Individually, each participant should write down as many ideas as possible about the final products that students might create to demonstrate this set of skills and concepts.

Consider these questions:

  • How can you give students the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge to new texts, materials, or challenges that they have not discussed in class?
  • How might you design a task that lets students demonstrate many performance indicators in an integrated way?
  • How can you give students the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge in ways that will feel authentic and engaging to them—in a way that is connected to their own lives, their school, their community, or the world? What needs in our school or community could students address while utilizing the skills described in the performance indicators?

    4. Share ideas (10–20 min)

    Share ideas without discussion or judgment. Post the ideas or scribe them on chart paper.

    5. Combine and develop ideas (20–40 min)

    Based on the most promising ideas, work together to develop one unified idea for an assessment task and record information in the summative assessment planning template or your local assessment design template. Refer back to the questions in step 3 as you do this.

    • Group tasks and products that are similar or related (for example, a Keynote slideshow or Google presentation should be grouped together).
    • Discuss if any of the brainstormed tasks or products excludes one or more of the performance indicators.
    • Discuss whether there are ways to build meaningful choices for students into the final task by allowing students to choose their subject matter, type of final product, or media.
    • Discuss if any of the brainstormed tasks or products are too disconnected from the performance indicators that students are trying to demonstrate.
    • Draft task directions and a description of the final product to share with students. This may take the form of a prompt, a problem to solve or issue to address, a text to respond to, etc.

    6. Build out the full assessment task, including student directions and scoring criteria (10–20 min)

    7. Tune work with our summative assessment design guide (10–20 min)

    View our summative assessment design guide.

    • Silently review the task using the design guide:
      • Identify strengths
      • Identify areas for improvement
    • Once everyone has reviewed the task, share observations and ideas for improvement.

    8. Debrief the process (5 min)

    • What went well?
    • Were everyone’s ideas heard?
    • How could the process be improved in the future?
    • What are the next steps we will take?

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