Learn strategies and get practical tools for developing valid classroom assessments (for any content area or grade level) to reliably gauge student knowledge, create access for language learners, and inform classroom instruction.

Assessment is a critical component for educators seeking valid and reliable data about student progress and knowledge in the content and language classrooms. This interactive institute provides educators with foundational tools and strategies to plan, construct, adapt, and interpret classroom assessments. These fundamental skills can be applied to any content or language assessment used in the classroom for formative or summative purposes for any content area and grade-level.

Because classroom teachers, as well and district-level staff are often tasked with constructing and administering assessments, it is essential that classroom assessments are valid and reliable, allowing students to demonstrate their knowledge and providing educators with the data they need to inform instruction. With the growing numbers of English learners being served across the U.S., the language and the format of classroom assessments must be accessible to all students and reflective of both content and language objectives.

The two-day institute will feature the CAL Assessment Toolkit developed by our subject matter experts based on decades of research and practice. The toolkit provides a comprehensive framework as well as techniques and strategies for assessment development and use. Participants will gain  a deeper understanding of underlying principles of assessment (such as validity, reliability, item formats, cultural bias and sensitivity and more)  and leave equipped with a variety of research-based practices for assessment development and adaptation. Portions of each day will be reserved for reflection and guided practice.

This useful and enlightening institute is designed for K-12 content and ESL/ELL educators. Classroom teachers, as well as coordinators, specialists, and instructional coaches are encouraged to attend. District level staff and administrators involved in assessment development will also greatly benefit from the information and practical implications of this institute.

 Participants will learn how to:

  • Identify various types and purposes of assessment
  • Analyze how to use different types of assessment appropriately in the classroom
  • Create assessment specifications that will assure validity and reliability of classroom assessment tasks
  • Recognize the differences between various formats of assessment tasks
  • Analyze the advantages and disadvantages of different assessment formats
  • Create good quality classroom assessment tasks of various formats
  • Analyze language demands of various assessment formats
  • Adapt classroom assessments in order to make them accessible to ELs of various proficiency levels
  • Create good quality content and language assessment rubrics for effective evaluation of English learners
  • Meaningfully analyze data from classroom assessments to differentiate instruction OR to customize student learning?
  • Leverage knowledge gained from assessments to inform and differentiate classroom instruction and boost student success

Attendees will receive the CAL Assessment Toolkit, an informative and useful packet of tools and strategies with hands-on guidance on how to plan, develop and adapt classroom assessments. The CAL Assessment Toolkit will contain information on the following: 

  • CAL Assessment Framework Overview and instructional cycle
  • Constructs & Principles of validity and reliability
  • Test specifications template (including possible adaptations for ELs)
  • Sample Inventory of Item Types and adaptations
  • Item Development Guidelines
  • Bias and Sensitivity Guidelines and Checklist
  • Rubric Guidelines and Checklist
  • Rubric templates

Questions? Email CAL with any questions you may have about our offerings.


Day One - CAL Assessment Framework: Planning Classroom Assessment

  • Warm-up Activity
  • Introduction of Objectives and CAL Assessment Framework
  • Mini lecture and interactive activity on fundamentals of classroom assessment
    • Constructs and foundational principles
    • Debrief
  • Jigsaw Reading – Classroom Test Construction: The Power of a Table of Specifications
    • Debrief
  • Strategies for creating a classroom assessment plan
  • Sorting activity to introduce different item types
  • Small group work: Aligning classroom assessment to classroom instruction
  • Planning time: Creating a plan for classroom assessment that is closely assigned with instructional objectives, contents, formats, and processes
  • Wrap-Up Activity: presentations of assessment specifications/plans
  • Review of Objectives

Day Two - Developing Classroom Assessment: Creating Valid, Reliable and Accessible Instruments

  • Warm-up/Review Activity
  • Grab Bag Activity: Item Types and formats
  • Sorting Activity: Advantages and disadvantages of selected response and constructed response assessment formats
  • Intro to Selected Response format and Item Development Guidelines
    • Fractured items: Analysis activity to review items and fix them
  • Intro to Bias and Sensitivity Guidelines and Checklist
    • Bias and sensitivity analysis activity


  8:30 am –   9:00 am Breakfast and conversation
  9:00 am – 12:00 pm Morning training session
12:00 pm – 12:45 pm Lunch and networking
12:45 pm –   3:30 pm Afternoon training session (including mid-afternoon dessert break)


Early bird registration by March 1, 2020: $735/person.
After March 1, 2020: $865/person.
Send 2 people or more and pay $735 each.

Cost includes all training materials and copies of formative and summative assessment tasks.


This Institute will be held at the Center for Applied Linguistics. Visit our website for directions to CAL and to view a list of local hotels.

Please note that all travel arrangements and expenses are the responsibility of the participant. See our policies below for more information. 

Certificate of Completion

Participants will receive a CAL Certificate of Completion which may be used for continuing education credit.


To reserve your seat for this institute, please complete the online registration process. Please be aware that your seat at the workshop will only be confirmed once payment is received. If you are registering multiple participants, please have the name, title, school, and email addresses available before you begin the registration process. We encourage you to register as soon as possible as many workshops fill up quickly.

Before beginning the registration process, please determine your preferred method of payment (credit card, check, or purchase order). When paying by credit card using the online registration system, your seat will be immediately confirmed and you will receive a confirmation email upon successful completion of the transaction. CAL accepts American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and VISA. For registrations to be paid by purchase order or check, please note that your seat will be tentatively reserved until payment is received. Once the payment is received, you will receive a confirmation email. There will be a fee of $15.00 for each check returned as uncollectible. Purchase orders should be uploaded directly to the registration system or emailed to payables@cal.org. For payment by check, or to pay for purchase orders, please make the check payable to the Center for Applied Linguistics and mail to: Accounts Receivable, Center for Applied Linguistics, 4646 40th Street NW, Washington, DC 20016.

Cancellation Policy
Registrants: We encourage participants to let CAL know as soon as possible if you do not plan to attend the session. Participants may cancel their registration and receive a full refund up to three (3) weeks prior to the institute start date by sending an email to solutions@cal.org. After that date, no refunds will be available. However, registrants may choose to receive the institute materials by mail, postpone their attendance to a future CAL Institute, or transfer the registration to another individual up to three (3) days prior to the course start date. Contact us to discuss your options.
CAL: CAL reserves the right to cancel an event due to low enrollment or for reasons beyond our control. If we exercise this right, we will refund any registration fees which you have paid in advance. In some instances, registrants may have the option to transfer their registration to the another event. CAL is not responsible for transportation and/or hotel costs incurred by registrant.

Fair Use of Materials
Individuals who have completed CAL trainings and workshops have permission from CAL to use materials in the course of providing professional development to educators in their school or school districts. These materials cannot be used to deliver fee-based services. Email CAL if you have questions about the use of CAL materials.

COVID-19 Contingencies Language for Additional to Professional Development (PD) Contracts
CAL’s travel policy states that there will no business travel through December 31, 2020. This policy will be reviewed for the 2021 calendar year with a decision by October 1, 2020. In the event of school closures, travel restrictions and/or a high incidence of COVID-19, the district/school will make every attempt to reschedule the equivalent hours of hours of PD in a combination of synchronous and asynchronous online sessions on dates/times that are mutually agreeable. CAL attests that the PD content will be the equivalent to the face-to-face sessions and also align to best practices for virtual instruction.
In the event that the PD cannot be rescheduled to a virtual delivery model, CAL’s cancellation policy applies.

If you have questions, please contact us via email at solutions@cal.org or call 202-362-0700, Monday-Friday, 9 am - 5 pm Eastern Time.