As many of you in the LYS Nation already know, Lesa Cain and her staff were some of the early pioneers in the use of Short-term, Common Formative Assessments.  Even now, I cannot find a single campus that has eclipsed their level of implementation and understanding.  So I thought it would be helpful to share some of LC’s notes on the nuts and bolts of common assessment development that she recently sent to a LYS campus.

Just a couple of thoughts about some things that were brought up in our meeting in regards to the 3-week checkpoints.

1.  Once the school year begins, the majority of the job of actually writing the checkpoints falls to the Instructional Specialists (IS) on each campus. There is not enough time in the day to expect teachers to shoulder the work of instruction and assessment development once the kids show up.  If you have teachers that want to continue to be involved by all means yes, but it just can’t be the expectation.

2.  Once the Instructional Specialists take on the huge responsibility of checkpoint development, teachers will have opinions about the checkpoints. When this happens, the IS has to ask the teacher to write a question that she thinks is better. Have the teacher submit it with the question that she challenges. That way, input is encouraged and validated and when the summer rolls around and the staff begin the work of revising the checkpoints, there is already a bank of questions to consider.

It took three years of deliberate implementation on my campus with the intention of creating a simple, consistent system.  It will not happen after one round of checkpoints, two rounds or three.  You will discover that hiccups happen every three weeks.  The challenge is to stick with it, stick with it, stick with it. Talk to each other about what you are doing and listen to what others have to say.  Steal the best ideas from each other so that everyone gets the benefit of what is being learned.  It is this process that allows every teacher and every student to eventually win!

You are on the right track, so don’t quit.  Remember, it’s called work for a reason.

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on! 
  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “Look at Me: A Cautionary School Leadership Tale” Individual copies available on! 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Plans (Fundamental 5 Lesson Plan Tool); PW Lite (Basic PowerWalks Tool); PW Pro (Mid-level PowerWalks Tool)
  • Upcoming Presentations: TASSP Assistant Principals’ Workshop (Featured Speaker), American Association of School Administrators Conference (Multiple Presentations), National Association of Secondary School Principals Conference (Multiple Presentations)
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on