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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 this course 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 one to two 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 strengthen their ability to use different types of assessment and backward design to improve student learning outcomes in both remote and in-person classes.

Assessment is an essential element of effective instruction. In this hands-on workshop, participants will explore the purpose, benefits, and application of a variety of assessments: needs assessments, student self-assessments, and formative and summative assessments. Presenters will model these assessments throughout the course. Participants will have opportunities to apply them and to 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.

Module 1: Independent Preliminary Activities provides foundational knowledge about assessment and includes a needs and self-assessment, and a review of Massachusetts ESOL Professional Standard 5: Assessment.

Module 2: Facilitated Virtual Session 1 covers how to use needs assessments and self-assessments to customize instruction for students, and how to apply backward design principles to align assessment to instructional goals. 

Module 3: Independent Activities guides participants in applying the first two sessions by designing a needs assessment for the start of a unit and outlining learning objectives and assessment plans for the unit informed by the results of the needs assessment.

Module 4: Facilitated Virtual Session 2 explores how to develop effective summative assessments based on learning objectives and how to select and design tools to measure and evaluate learning, including rubrics.

Module 5: Independent Activities guides participants in applying key elements from the second virtual session by designing a project-based summative assessment with a single-point rubric. They will also preview formative, peer, and student-self assessment strategies and activities.

Module 6: Facilitated Virtual Session 3 focuses on peer and student self-assessments and explores a variety of formative assessment techniques to gauge student learning and inform instruction. There will be time at the end of the final session to reflect on key learnings from the entire PD series.

Dates and times:

  • Module 1: Independent Preliminary activities - Friday, January 7, 2022, 8:00 a.m.
  • Module 2: Facilitated Virtual Session 1 - Friday, January 14, 2022, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. 
  • Module 3: Independent Activities - Friday, January 14-Friday, January 21, 2022
  • Module 4: Facilitated Virtual Session 2 - Friday, January 21, 2022, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. 
  • Module 5: Independent Activities - Friday, January 21-Friday, January 28, 2022 
  • Module 6: Facilitated Virtual Session 3 - Friday, January 28, 2022 10:00a.m.-12:00 p.m.

The total number of professional development hours for the course is 9.

    Learning Objectives

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

  • Use needs assessments to customize instruction for your students
  • Apply backward design principles to align assessments to instructional goals
  • Use summative assessments to evaluate learning at the end of a unit
  • Provide meaningful feedback and opportunities for learner engagement in assessment activities
  • Use formative assessments to gauge student learning and inform instruction
Presenter(s) / Facilitator(s)

Ability to participate in Zoom virtual sessions.

01/07/2022 - 8:00 am
01/14/2022 - 10:00 am to 01/14/2022 - 12:00 pm
01/21/2022 - 10:00 am to 01/21/2022 - 12:00 pm
01/28/2022 - 10:00 am to 01/28/2022 - 12:00 pm

United States

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