• The performance or action verbs listed below are not meant to be viewed as objectives, but rather as assessment criteria for inferring the degree of understanding and skill sets a learner has.
  • Backward design (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005) or instructionally-oriented assessment (Popham, 2008): All classroom assessments represent a curriculum aim and those same assessment(s) lead to a teacher's inference about students' status which then results in a teacher's instructional decision (p. 258). Curriculum informs assessment, assessment leads to instructional decisions. The traditional approach is to make assessment decisions after instruction.

Understandings (Declarative Knowledge)

Assessment of declarative knowledge is the basis for making inferences in what a student can articulate about particular concepts, abstractions, big ideas, understandings, etc. Declarative knowledge is knowing that... or knowing what about a particular topic, theme, subject, or concept.
  • A non-hierarchical list of big ideas, key concepts (vocabulary), knowledge of facts, figures, and dates, etc.
    • can explain (i.e., demonstrate, derive, describe, design, exhibit, express, induce, instruct, justify, model, predict, prove, show, synthesize, teach, etc.)
    • can interpret (i.e., create analogies, critique, document, evaluate, illustrate, judge, make meaning of, make sense of, provide metaphors, read between the lines, represent, tell a story of, translate, etc.)
    • can apply (i.e., adapt, build, create, debug, decide, design, exhibit, invent, perform, produce, propose, solve, test, use, etc.)
    • have perspective (i.e., analyze, argue, compare, contrast, criticize, infer, etc.)
    • have empathy (i.e., be like, be open to, believe, consider, imagine, relate, role-play, etc.)
    • have self-knowledge (i.e., be aware of realize, recognize, reflect, self-assessment,etc.)
  • A hierarchical list of types of learning (lowest to highest) that should link to overall understandings (Wiggins and McTighe, 2011, p. 106):
    • Acquisition: apprehend, calculate, define, discern, identify, memorize, notice, paraphrase, plug in, recall, select, state, etc.
    • Meaning: analyze, compare, contrast, critique, defend, evaluate, explain, generalize, interpret, justify/support, prove, summarize, synthesize, test, translate, verify, etc.
    • Transfer: adapt (based on feedback), adjust (based on results), apply, create, design, innovate, perform effectively, self-assess, solve, troubleshoot, etc.
  • A non-hierarchical list of content and language integrated learning performance verbs (Mehisto, Marsh, & Frigols, 2008): :
    • Appreciating (understanding others and yourself)
    • Assigning (setting items apart for a particular purpose)
    • Associating (connecting items together)
    • Classifying (putting items into categories)
    • Combining (putting items into a single whole)
    • Committing (understanding and accepting responsibility)
    • Comparing (identifying similarities and differences)
    • Condensing (distilling the essence of a text)
    • Converting (changing the features of an item or information)
    • Defining (determining key qualities and/or characteristics)
    • Describing (reporting the features of an item or information)
    • Designating (assigning a name, a title, or a function to an item)
    • Discriminating (treating some items of information differently from others)
    • Extending (taking ideas a step further)
    • Imaging (forming a mental image)
    • Linking (finding relationships)
    • Observing (looking in detail at someone or something)
    • Predicting (anticipating what is likely to happen)
    • Reconciling (putting opposing items together to form a consistent whole)
    • Role-playing (thinking like someone else and communicating and acting as that person would)
    • Separating (taking things apart to identify specific components)
    • Triggering (something that sets off another thought or an event)
    • Utilizing (demonstrating how tings could be, are being, or have been put to use)
    • Verifying (specifying how information should be accept a valid or true)
  • Bloom's Taxonomy (hierarchical, lowest to the highest)

    Blooms rose.svg
    By K. Aainsqatsi - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

    • Knowledge: define, identify, indicate, know, label, list, memorize, name, recall, record, relate, repeat, select, and underline
    • Comprehension: classify, describe, discuss, explain, express, identify, locate, paraphrase, recognize, report, restate, review, suggest, summarize, tell, and translate
    • Application: apply, compute, construct, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, give examples, illustrate, interpret, investigate, operate, organize, practice, predict, schedule, shop, sketch, translate, and use
    • Analysis: analyze, appraise, calculate, categorize, compare, contrast, criticize, debate, determine, diagram, differentiate, distinguish, examine, experiment, inspect, inventory, question, relate, and solve
    • Synthesis: arrange, assemble, collect, compose, construct, create, design, formulate, manage, organize, perform, plan, prepare, produce, propose, and set-up
    • Evaluation: appraise, assess, choose, compare, contrast, decide, estimate, evaluate, grade, judge, measure, rate, revise, score, select, and value.

Performance (Tacit Knowledge)

Assessment that links to a performance or procedure helps learners to develop tacit knowledge or knowledge that cannot be articulated into words and is based more on student behavior. Tacit knowledge is knowing how to do something.

Non-linguistic skills and abilities related to the course objectives

  • Technical skills
  • Solving problems
  • Programming
  • Etc.

Meta (Strategic Knowledge)

Assessment that links with strategic knowledge helps learners know what to do when they do not know what to do. Strategic knowledge is knowing explicitly when to do something and why they are doing it.

Linguistic skills


  • Reading, writing, listening, and speaking
  • Grammar
  • Lexicon
  • Discursive understandings: turn-taking (speaking), tenor (speaking and writing), deixis (speaking and writing), etc.


  • Eye contact
  • Hand gestures
  • Facial expressions
  • Idiosyncratic movements
  • Etc.

Formative Assessment

Based on evidence stemming from student behavior, formative assessments are any subsequent adjustments educators make to curriculum, assessment, and instruction and any subsequent modifications in learning tactics that students make themselves both with the purpose of improving the educative experience.
  • Observation
  • Informal discussions
  • Homework
  • ePortfolios
  • Academic Prompts
  • Performance tasks
  • Diagnostic (placement) testing: Testing that subsequently places the learner in an appropriate course or program.
  • Dynamic testing: Testing that takes results from a summative assessment and converts them into a learning opportunity for the learners via other forms of formative assessment options listed above.
  • Affective

Summative Assessment

Based on evidence stemming from student behavior, summative assessments are designed to measure the degree of student learning that has taken place in the past.
  • Exams, tests, and quizzes
    • selected-response
    • constructed-response
  • Badges (Gray area since it will depend on how badges are integrated with instruction.)
  • Affective
  • Any act of assigning grades with the exception of diagnostic and dynamic testing


Feedback relates to content (understandings, essential questions, key vocabulary, facts, figures, formulas, etc.) and language (syntax, semantics, and pragmatics).
  1. Negotiation: input, output, attention/noticing, positive and negative evidence
  2. Recast prompts
    1. clarification requests: S) And then I went to... T) I'm sorry, what was that?
    2. repetitions: S) I have three... T) Three. S) Three. (positive evidence)
    3. Metalinguistic clues: S) There is a lot a chairs in class. T) What is the subject of this sentence? S) Oh, There are...
    4. Elicitation: T) Where do you keep your books? S) My box is under my bed. T) Your...? S) My books...
  3. Recasts with an opportunity to respond
  4. Recasts with no opportunities to respond
  5. Yes/No recasts

What is learning?

Learning is when an intentional and incidental learning design fosters student awareness, practice, and feedback of declarative, tacit, and strategic knowledge in a way that transforms these types of knowledge collectively from working (short-term) memory to long-term memory.


Mehisto, P., Marsh, D., & Frigols, M. (2008). Uncovering CLIL: Content and language integrated learning in bilingual and multilingual education. Oxford:Macmillan Publishers.
Popham, J. (2008). Classroom assessment: What teachers need to know. New York, NY: Pearson.
Popham, J. (2008). Transformative assessment. Alexandria, VA: ASCD
Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD
Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2011). The understanding by design guide to creating high-quality units. Alexandria, VA: ASCD