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Common Assessments for Schools and Districts - Tags & Global Settings
Common Assessments for Schools and Districts - Tags & Global Settings
Neta Raz Studnitski avatar
Written by Neta Raz Studnitski
Updated this week


Common Assessments are formatives that multiple teachers in an organization assign to their classes with the goal of measuring the performance of all students across different sections or classrooms. Common Assessments are used to measure students' performance consistently and fairly, ensuring that all students have an equal chance of succeeding in critical subjects.

You can tag any of your formatives as a Common Assessment and share it with your colleagues. When a colleague uses a Common Assessment, they won't be able to edit or change the content in any way (they will only be able to assign it). That means that you can be sure every class is taking the same version of the assessment. Additionally, you have the option to set global grading behavior (assign settings) - pre-define and locked settings - to ensure your colleagues are using the same settings across the board.

Tag an Existing Formative as a Common Assessment

To tag a formative as a Common Assessment:

  1. Access the formative

  2. Click on the triple dots at the top right corner of the formative

  3. Choose "Common Assessment Settings" from the dropdown menu

  4. Toggle on the button for "Tag formative as a common assessment"

    Note: Once toggled on, a Common Assessment tag can not be removed

  5. Click into the "Tag Management" section and fill out the setting fields (each field can accommodate multiple selections):

    • Academic year(s)

    • Grade level(s)

    • Subject(s)

    • Formative type(s) (optional)

  6. Click into the "Grading Behavior" section to define global assign settings
    You can choose to pre-define and lock assign settings of your choice from the dropdown lists within each field, or choose "User Preference" to allow colleagues to define their own assign settings.

  7. Click into "Set Threshold" and toggle it on - if you'd like to override teachers' individual score thresholds settings and grading framework by defining thresholds to be used consistently across all teachers and classes. You can adjust the ranges and the colors, as well as add or remove thresholds from the list.

  8. Click into "Content Display" to control the formative display for all students. You can toggle on "Display each item as a separate page" and/or "Display questions in random order". The settings applied here will disable teachers' ability to adjust these settings for their classes.

  9. Click into "Secure Testing" if your organization has purchased Formative's LockDown Browser and choose your preferred setting:

    1. Selecting "LockDown Browser" will force the requirement to launch the formative via LockDown Browser consistently across all teachers and classes assigned.

    2. Selecting "User Preference" will allow teachers to control this setting for each of their classes individually. Teachers may choose to force launch with LockDown Browser or allow students to launch without it.

  10. Click into "Assessment Window" to define universal times for distribution and visibility across all teachers and classes. Setting open and close times will restrict teachers to assigning and collecting data only within the defined assessment window. This enhances data integrity for administrators by preventing additional data entry after a set date.

  11. Once done, click on the "Save Settings" button. A confirmation will appear at the bottom of your screen.

  12. Share a Common Assessment

    Click into the "Sharing" section to share a direct link to the common assessment with your colleagues. Teachers who receive the direct link, will be able to assign the common assessment to their students.

    This link will also be available within the "Share" modal (click on the triple dot menu at the top right corner and choose "Share" from the dropdown menu)
    From the "Share" modal you can also add collaborators into your Common Assessment.
    Anyone with an Edit & Assign level of access to the common assessment can send the direct link to the common assessment to teachers within the organization.

    Note: Anyone who has been provided with the direct link is grabbing a LIVE copy. That means that if the original author changes or updates the Common Assessment, those changes will be reflected immediately on the screen of all users who have a copy - including students currently taking the Common Assessment.

Create a Common Assessment from Scratch

When creating a new formative with the intention to tag it as a Common Assessments, teachers and administrators can either first create the formative and then tag it as Common Assessment following the steps above, or they can use a Quick Start button to initiate a new formative that is automatically tagged as a Common Assessment in just one click!

  1. From your Home page, click on "Create +" (top right corner)

  2. Select "Common Assessment" from the dropdown menu

  3. The standard editor view of a new formative will open, with the Common Assessment toggle being automatically set to ON. Additionally, the Common Assessment Settings side panel will be open by default.

  4. Proceed to adjust the Common Assessment per your preferences (as listed in steps 5-12 of the section above)

Note: a Common Assessment tag can not be removed.

How do I know the formative is tagged as a Common Assessment?

Once the formative has been tagged as a Common Assessment, the following indications will be added to signal that it is tagged as a Common Assessment:

  • Common Assessment icon on the formative's title

  • Common Assessment icon next to the formative's name on the Formatives page

  • Indicaton on the "Share" modal

The formative will now also be added to the Admin Common Assessment dashboard, where admins of the organizations specified will be able to view results and different data points across their organization:

Navigating the Common Assessment Tab (Admin Feature)

As an Admin in a Gold plan school or district, accessing the "Common Assessments" section of your Admin tab will allow you to quickly and easily locate any formative tagged as a Common Assessment within your organization . The Common Assessments tab further allows you to view and track performance on these high-stake assessments across your organization. Click this linked article to learn how to navigate this powerful data tab!

NEW! Duplicate a Common Assessment

Admins can now duplicate Common Assessments along with the previously entered Common Assessment settings to create new, fresh versions of the same test!

This new functionality allows admins to duplicate an individual Common Assessment, multiple Common Assessments in bulk, and even a Folder that hold several Common Assessments in it and preserve both the Common Assessment tag and the assessment settings of copied the formatives, including Subject, Grade Level, Type, School Year, and any existing common assessment settings:

  • On your Formatives page, check mark the Common Assessment(s) or the Folder of Common Assessments you wish to duplicate

  • Checkmark the box next to "Retain Assessment Settings"

  • Edit the Prefix and Suffix fields to your preference (these will appear on the titles of the new copies created

  • Complete the action by clicking on the "Copy" button

  • The new copies will immediately populate on your Formatives screen

  • You can then click into the Common Assessment and adjust any settings to your liking, if needed

Q&A & Troubleshooting

🙋🏽‍♀️ Who can edit a Common Assessment?

The only people who can edit a Common Assessment is either the person who created it (aka the owner), or an admin for your organization.

🙋🏿‍♂️ Who can share a Common Assessment?

The only people who can share a Common Assessment are either the creator of the formative (aka the owner), an admin for the organization, or collaborators with edit & assign permissions

🙋🏻‍♀️ What if I edit my Common Assessment?

If you edit your Common Assessment then those changes would reflect immediately for all students and teachers. This would include students who have already been assigned the assessment. Be mindful that changing question types after students already provided responses will archive both the original question and the responses the students have provided (to restore, a user with editing permissions will need to follow the instructions here)

🙋🏿‍♂️ What if an Admin edits my Common Assessment?

If an admin edits your Common Assessment then the changes will reflect immediately. This would mean anyone who has been assigned the Common Assessment will see those changes as well. Be mindful that changing question types after students already provided responses will archive both the original question and the responses the students have provided (to restore, a user with editing permissions will need to follow the instructions here)

🙋🏻 What if there is an error in the answer key but students have already taken the Common Assessment?

Whoever has access to update the Common Assessment can go in and update the answer key, which will in turn retroactively update students grades.

🙋🏽 Can I remove the Common Assessment tag?

No. Once a Common Assessment has been tagged, the tag can not be removed.

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