COVID-19 Assessment Guidance


Assessment Guidelines

Many different assessments are administered throughout a typical school year. Each has a slightly different intent or reasoning behind it. The purpose of this section is to share information on the different types of assessments, as well as share suggestions and resources for schools to consider when planning re-entry.

Research indicates that learning gaps will widen and become more prevalent due to the effects of COVID-19 on instruction. Assessments can be used to help identify learning gaps; however, if not all learning gaps can be addressed, a prioritization of target gaps and instruction should be utilized to re-align the student on a grade-level path. Creating or administering an assessment that is closely aligned to target gaps, or essential standards, is a suggested practice. Assessments that are specific, can be administered in a timely fashion, and provide valuable/instant feedback for teachers will be most beneficial in finding and addressing learning gaps.

Summative Assessments

Out of the three groups of assessments discussed in this section, summative assessments are the least helpful in a re-entry situation. They do not provide a detailed source of diagnostic information to help drive instruction. Experts are discouraging the use of standardized summative assessments to be given upon re-entry (i.e., administering the Spring NDSA of 2020 during the fall of 2020). Summative assessments serve a valid role in education, but there are better solutions when it comes to identifying and targeting learning gaps with timely feedback.

Districts should prepare to administer the annual state assessments in 2021-2022.

Interim Assessments

There is a strong possibility that useful information can be gleaned from previously administered interim assessments. Administering an early interim assessment in the beginning of the school year is becoming a practice suggested by experts. Ideally, if multiple interim assessments were administered in the previous school year, administering an additional interim assessment in the fall could help identify problem areas for an entire group of students. This could also reveal trend data on specific concepts, or areas that need to be re-taught. Other interim assessments, such as semester exams or unit tests, may also provide beneficial information.

Formative or Diagnostic Assessments

Formative assessments typically offer immediate feedback, can be given quickly, and are generally specific in meeting students’ different needs. This type of assessment can play a vital role in identifying specific learning gaps of each individual student. A priority should be placed on guidance for using, creating, selecting, administering, and interpreting key formative assessments early in the 2020-21 school year.

There are two main types of formative assessments: Formal and informal. Below are examples of each type of assessments.


  • Vendor provided diagnostic assessments (iReady, ACT Aspire, NWEA-MAP, etc.) (see COVID-19 Response: Diagnostic Assessment for further examples and information)
  • Assessments given within instructional/support programs (DLM, Read Right, My Foundations lab, MyACT, etc.)
  • Textbook/teacher created unit test
  • Textbook/teacher created chapter or section test
  • Grades, results, scores from previous school year
  • Any teacher created test/online test (standards based)


  • Quizzes, oral Q/A, flashcards
  • Student self-evaluation
  • Pair and Share with classmate
  • Brainstorming or Brain dump
  • KWL Chart
  • Sticky note response to question on board
  • Mastery checklist of concepts/standards from previous grade
  • Presentations or debates

Guiding Questions

  • Is there assessment plain in place to help identify where students are at academically and to help identify learning gaps/drive instruction?
  • Does the assessment plan include the use of interim and/or formative assessments or screeners?
  • Will an assessment or pre-assessment be administered within the first weeks of school?
  • Does the assessment plan concentrate on informing instruction rather than larger scale, evaluation outcomes or to predict predetermined goals?
  • Do the assessments that are planned for the upcoming school year concentrate on diagnosing academic, cognitive, or social-emotional strengths and weaknesses and provide timely, yet useful, instructional information?
  • In the event instruction is conducted via distance learning or a hybrid model, does this modify how students will be assessed?
  • Does the assessment plan account for unique needs of students?
  • Are teachers prepared to use the information and data from your planned assessments and able to adjust curriculum accordingly?
AP Central College Board Updated Guidance on Advanced Placement Exams

AP Exam Dates for 2021-2022

  • AP Exam Dates: May 2-6, 2022 and May 9-13, 2022
  • Late Testing Dates: May 17-21, 2022

AP Exams for 2021-2022

The AP Exams will be administered in schools as paper and pencil exams. These exams will include three possible types of questions or tasks: multiple-choice questions, free-response questions, and through-course performance tasks. Most AP Exams are a mix of multiple-choice and free-response questions designed to measure skills and knowledge outlined in the course and exam pages for the course.

 If you have questions or concerns, please contact Davonne Eldredge.

NAEP Updates

Due to the pandemic and the need to postpone the 2021 State NAEP, students will take the State NAEP in 2022. State Year NAEP assessments primarily cover the content areas of reading and math. State level results allow us to learn more about student achievement in North Dakota, while also allowing for comparisons between our state and the nation. 

The Assessment Governing Board and the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) postponement of NAEP 2021 Mathematics and Reading in Grades 4 and 8 requires the new assessment year to be moved to 2022. Subsequently, administration of these Congressionally mandated assessments will shift to 2024, 2026, and so on, maintaining the required two-year periodicity in these subject areas and grade levels. The new NAEP Assessment Window is January 24, 2022 – March 4, 2022. Sampled NAEP 2022 schools will be notified in late August to early September.