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Assessment Definitions

Before assessment data can be collected, analyzed, and reported, an assessment definition must be set up in the Assessment Library.

An assessment definition defines the specific questions, answer key, point values, curriculum alignments, score types, rubrics, proficiency levels, and proficiency cutoff scores that are appropriate for the specific assessment.

For the procedures to create specific types of assessment definitions, refer to the following topics:

Assessment Definition Elements


Each assessment definition is given a descriptive name that is required to be unique in the assessment library.

Tags (Icons)

To facilitate searching and sorting within the assessment library, the school district can define any number of tags, associate visual icons to them, and then associate/link those tags to any number of assessment definitions. This is useful for categorizing assessment definitions into groups for easy retrieval. Refer to Define Assessment Tags.

Data Type Collected

An assessment definition can be configured to collect either item responses or numeric score data.

  • If the student's actual item responses will be collected via online assessment or scanning using an optical mark (bubble) reader, the assessment definition must be configured to collect item responses. 
  • If numeric score data will be input or imported into the system, the assessment must be configured to collect numeric scores only. Refer to Input Numeric Score Data.

Answer Key

In cases where the student's actual item responses will be collected, an answer key must be configured in the assessment definition using one of the following methods:

  • Build the assessment definition by selecting question items from the question item library.
  • Manually specify the answer key by indicating the correct answer(s) to each question (a question can have multiple correct answers and answers worth multiple or partial points). If a question item library is not available or is not appropriate for the assessment, this is the method you must use.

Alignment to Curriculum

If curriculum progress reports are desired as an output, it is necessary to align the assessment definition to the curriculum.

For assessment definitions configured to collect item responses, the individual questions are aligned to the curriculum objectives, outcomes, or other statements that they measure.

For assessment definitions that collect numeric scores only, the specific scores are aligned to the appropriate curriculum statements.

Additionally, cutoff scores must be configured in the assessment definition to specify the minimum score(s) the student must get to attain the mastery/proficiency levels defined by the school district (e.g., Not-Proficient, Partially Proficient, Proficient).

Assessment Sections

An assessment definition can utilize a simple layout consisting of a single section, or it can be configured as a multi-section assessment definition.

A multi-section assessment is very useful when the assessment can be logically divided into parts that focus on different broad areas of the curriculum. It is also useful when the assessment has one part that is scored using an answer key and another part that is scored using subjective judgment, as is often the case with an open-ended question item.

Additionally, a multi-section assessment will automatically report scores on each section as well as the overall assessment score. Whether the additional complexity of setting up a multi-section test is warranted depends on the depth of reporting that is desired as an output.

Assessment Rubrics

This feature is best explained using an example. Let's say that your curriculum defines the rubric (Not-Proficient, Partially Proficient, Proficient), but for the specific assessment definition you are configuring, you need to get results reported as "Above MLP" and "Below MLP". In this case, you would create an Assessment Rubric within the assessment definition that defines the proficiency levels and the minimum cutoff scores that students need to attain those proficiency levels (Above MLP, Below MLP).

  • Cutoff scores can be entered for total scores, section scores, and curriculum statement scores.
  • You can define up to five assessment rubrics for each assessment definition to have results reported in different ways.

Note: Assessment rubrics are distinct from the curriculum rubrics associated with the curriculum outline. The curriculum outline rubrics apply universally to all assessment definitions in the library, whereas assessment rubrics are specific to the assessment and allow you to report results in different ways for that assessment only.

NRT Scores Types

For assessment definitions that collect numeric scores only, you can configure any norm score types that are required. In addition to raw and percentage scores, you can collect the following norm score types: percentile, normal curve equivalent (NCE), grade equivalent (GE), stanine, and scaled scores.


The assessment library has a versioning system in which each assessment definition can retain multiple versions, each with its version number. When a new version is created, it is assigned an incremental new version number and it receives the same configuration and content as the previous version. The new version can then be modified without affecting scored data from previous administrations of the assessment. You are automatically prompted to create a new version if you attempt to modify an assessment definition in a way that would impact scored data from previous administrations of the assessment.

Versioning is particularly useful when working with norm reference tests where configuration settings might change from year to year. For example, cutoff scores may be adjusted. In this scenario, it is recommended that you create a new version each year and set the version number to be the actual year (i.e. assessment version# 2017, assessment version# 2018, etc).

Uploaded File

If the assessment definition has a file associated with it, such as a Word Document, you can upload the file and store it with the assessment definition. Users with the necessary privileges can download the document or view it online (if the file is of a browser-compatible type, such as PDF).

If students are taking the assessment online, you can optionally make the file downloadable by those students.

Growth Series ID

An identifier used to link assessment definitions together so that those with a common growth series ID can be used to chart an individual student's growth over time (comparing apples to apples). Assessment definitions that should appear on the same growth chart should have the same growth series ID.

Specialized Assessment Definitions

Performance Assessment

Designed to enable submit work online for subjective evaluation using one or more teacher graded rubrics. When this type of assessment is administered online, teachers can specify a final acceptance date and an optional earlier due date. Performance assessments can be used with the e-portfolio feature that enables the student to build up an online portfolio of curriculum-aligned teacher-evaluated work over one or more years.

CBM Assessment

A CBM (curriculum-based management) assessment is used in conjunction with progress monitoring groups to support progress monitoring at the classroom and school level. A CBM assessment allows cutoffs to be specified for multiple points in the school year to show student growth over time.

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