Practice Guide: Applying a Principled Approach to Develop and Use K–12 Computer Science Formative Assessments

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Basu, S., Rutstein, D., & Tate, C. (2021). Practice Guide: Applying a principled approach to develop and use K–12 computer science formative assessments. National Comprehensive Center.


Formative assessment can be a powerful tool to support effective K-12 computer science (CS) instruction to increase student engagement and improve learning outcomes. In this practice guide, we show how to apply the five-step process outlined in the corresponding white paper to systematically develop or select formative assessment tasks and use them to inform instruction. This guide illustrates formative assessment literacy in practice and can be used in CS professional development workshops, teacher communities of practice, policy guidelines, and other avenues. The guide is not based on any specific curriculum; it can be used by anyone tasked with teaching CS. It is designed to enhance teachers’ understanding of CS standards, determine how to select and implement appropriate formative assessment tasks, and learn how to modify instruction to address student challenges identified from the formative assessments. This process can increase teachers’ knowledge of the CS content and how to teach it, as well as improve student engagement and learning.

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