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In this series of self-directed and facilitated virtual sessions on Blackboard and Zoom, participants will learn how to use a variety of assessments and the principles of backward design to guide instructional design and to inform instruction in both remote and in-person ESOL classes.

Please note: You will access Zoom and other support materials via Blackboard. You cannot access the online course from the SABES website. You will receive a separate email from Joanne Harrington at Quinsigamond Community College 1-2 days before the course begins with instructions on how to access the Blackboard course and the Zoom session.


    This professional development activity/course is designed for:

  • ESOL teachers who wish to deepen their understanding of how to use different types of assessment and backward design to increase student learning outcomes in both remote and in-person classes

Assessment is an essential element of effective instruction, and in this hands-on workshop participants will explore the purpose and benefits of needs assessments, student self-assessment, and formative and summative assessments. Participants will use the principles of backward design to identify learning outcomes, define effective assessment strategies, and build a learning plan that will guide learners to successful achievement of the targeted objectives. The workshop is built around collaborative development of a project-based unit plan, with an emphasis on the assessment elements of that project.  

Module 1: Independent Preliminary Activities (March 5, 2021) will provide participants with foundational knowledge about assessment. After completing a pre-workshop survey of needs and a self-assessment, participants will read and take notes on the Massachusetts ESOL Professional Standard 5 (Assessment) and a complementary video explaining some of the purposes and benefits of different types of assessment. Module 1 will be accessed through Blackboard.

Module 2: Facilitated Virtual Session 1 (March 16, 2021, from 3:00 to 5:00pm) will cover how to use needs assessments and self-assessments in instructional planning and in the classroom. Participants will apply principles of backward design to analyze a sample unit plan and begin collaborative work developing a project-based learning unit.

Module 3: Independent Activities will provide time for participants to review the principles of backwards design, write several effective learning objectives for their collaborative project, and explore options for evaluation tools (checklists and rubrics). 

Module 4: Facilitated Virtual Session 2 (March 30, 2021, from 3:00 to 5:00pm) will focus on the integration and application of formative assessment tools, self-assessment, and continued work on the collaborative learning unit project.

Module 5: Independent Activities: Independent Activities will have participants apply formative assessment techniques in their classes and report back using a Flipgrid video. 

Module 6: Facilitated Virtual Session 3 (April 13, 2021, from 3:00 to 5:00pm): Virtual Session 3 will have participants complete final steps to their collaborative project, share in a virtual poster walk, and reflect on the project planning process. Finally, participants will explore different opportunities and challenges for in-person and remote assessment, reflecting on their experiences throughout the professional development series.

    Learning Objectives

    Upon completion of this professional development activity/course, you will be able to:

  • Integrate the principles of backward design to link classroom assessments to instructional goals
  • Utilize needs assessments and self-assessments to guide your teaching
  • Use formative assessments to reflect on and modify your instruction
  • Employ summative assessment techniques to evaluate learning at the end of a unit
  • Provide meaningful feedback to students on their assessments
Presenter(s) / Facilitator(s)

Ability to participate in Zoom virtual sessions

End Date

United States

PD Center
SABES English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Curriculum & Instruction PD Center
Topic Area
Blended Learning
Curriculum Development
Digital Literacy
Distance Learning
Educator Effectiveness
ESOL/English Language Learner
Professional Standards