What Are Scaled Assessments?

Marzano's  The Art and Science of Teaching, highlighted some principles of education that most teachers know, but easily forget in the business of everyday duties. My introduction to this work, through some district professional development, got me thinking about how to incorporate these principles as routines of instruction. As an elementary teacher, I am always thinking about my students' background knowledge, levels of conceptualization, and where they are headed academically; but I didn't have an organized way to track this information. I became motivated to create learning goals and scales based on the Common Core Standards for the grade levels I work with.

The Scaled Assessments for Math are designed with the idea that students learn skills and understand concepts in a progressive way. Instead of presenting students with an assessment that is pass or fail, right or wrong, this assessment recognizes what a child already knows, and creates a clear model of what the child is expected to understand by the end of the year. Each assessment was developed over the course of a year, with my own students as the first test subjects. They have been tested, revised, and put together in a very thorough and comprehensive way to ensure that every implicit and explicit component of the standards are addressed.  At the bottom of this page you will find the resources I used to design assessment questions aligned to the Common Core standards.

Each standard is broken down into five scales, from 0-4. Proficiency in each math standard is represented by a score of 3. A score of 4 indicates an advanced knowledge of the skill, usually above grade level. The tasks assigned to scores of 2 and 1, are either derived from sub-skills of the standard, or from the background knowledge of earlier grade levels. Often the content from earlier grade levels will be labeled with the corresponding standard for reference purposes. A score of 0 on the learning scale is useful to record for students who have been given an opportunity to work on the assessment, but did not or could not perform for some reason.

Recording the date creates a record of when a child becomes proficient in each level. This record has been a useful conversation tool for parent conferences, student portfolios, and making instructional decisions about which students should advance, and which ones need extra instruction in an area.  Some students will take weeks to master one standard, and others will complete the entire assessment in one day. Since this format is designed to scaffold skill mastery, it can be used as a pre-assessment and a post-assessment. This is recommended so that children can see their progress in a concrete way and celebrate each success!

In grades 5-8, the left column provides space for students to record numerical answers to questions. It is organized this way so that teachers can quickly review students’ answers for accuracy. For a more in-depth look at a student’s thinking or explanations, you can  examine the work individually.

My sincere hope is that you find the Scaled Assessments to be a useful and high-quality tool for improving your students' progress!

For copies of the Scaled Assessments, visit Mrs. L's Leveled Learning store!


Marzano, R. J. (2007). The art and science of teaching: a comprehensive framework for effective                                                                       instruction. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Common Core State Standards © Copyright 2010 National Governors Association Center for            Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved. http://www.corestandards.org

Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards - Mathematics (2013). Arizona Department of Education.  http://www.azed.gov/standards-practices/mathematics-standards

Progressions for the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics © Copyright 2012 The Common Core Standards Writing Team.  http://ime.math.arizona.edu/progressions/ 

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