Content Specific Assessments


Content specific formative assessments are found within the units of study and the instructional guides.  Formative assessments are also prevalent in Project Based Learning units as well as inquiry based instructional designs.  In the space below we have provided links to various types of formative assessments within a variety of instructional designs.  All of these formative assessments are from resources on Teach 21 website.


The following is an Academic Prompt titled Your Bet Your DVD! with the accompanying rubric.  This academic prompt is a formative assessment within an instructional guide for Algebra:


While watching movies with your parents, you notice that the more recent movies seem to be longer than older movies.  Your parents state that movies are all about the same length.  You tell your parents that you can prove the recent movies last longer and if you can prove your point, you will have a week’s worth of free yard work to complete.  They take the bet.  Using the Internet or the video store, find two popular movies made before 1970, three from the 70s, three from the 80s, three from the 90s, and three from 2000- on.  Determine the running time of each movie.  Create a media presentation of your findings.  Be sure to have graphical representation and measures of central tendency to support your argument.  Do you get your DVD player?

·         On a number line write and graph an inequality that represents the movie lengths of the two movies before 1970.

·         List the length of the movies from each decade and determine each mean length.  Plot the means of the number line.

·         Use the information revealed on the graph to present your findings to your parents.




The student writes and graphs an appropriate inequality and finds the means of the movie length data correctly.  The student uses his/her findings to make a reasonable and persuasive argument about the length of movies.


The student writes and graphs an appropriate inequality and finds the means of the movie length data but perhaps with inaccuracy.  The student uses his/her findings to make an argument about the length of movies but may not fully address the issues or be convincing in the argument.


The student finds and analyzes data.  The work however may be incomplete or reflect misunderstanding, have an incorrect graph, and/or incorrect calculations.  The student’s argument may not address or support the evidence.


The inequality graph and/or means may be missing.  The student gives little or no supporting argument about the length of movies.


A sample RAFT Activity for formative assessment is found on the Teach 21 site at

An example of a sponge activity used as formative assessment is the sponge activity found in the sixth grade unit titled Express Yourself on the Teach 21 site:


Put the following sentences on the board and ask students to copy each and use their Figurative Language Step Book to identify what type of Figurative Language each is (RLA.O.6.1.11).


·         Fran passed the test by the skin of her teeth.  (Idiom)

·         The puddles were mirrors after the rainstorm.  (Metaphor)

·         She eats like a horse.  (Simile)

·         A bird in the hand is worth two in a bush.  (Maxim)


Discuss each sentence and determine in which category each fits.  Have students copy each into their Step Book in the correct place.


In the Geometry unit titled All My Life’s a Circle, students are required to complete the following formative assessment in Lesson 3.


Students will be working individually to provide information on their individual levels of mastery of the material through the first three lessons.  Students are given the instructions for “Fire Report to the District” found in the Files Uploaded section below.  Also, provide them with the Forest Map for use in making their constructions if they are not using geometry drawing software.  Students will apply what they have learned to determine the required information to put into the report.


You can find this formative assessment and all necessary handouts at the following link to the lesson within the Geometry unit on Teach 21:



·       Golden Horseshoe

·       Social Studies Fair