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 in both remote and in-person ESOL classes. 


    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

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. Thursday, January 26, 2023, 8 a.m. Provides foundational knowledge about assessment and includes a needs assessment and a self-assessment, as well as a review of Massachusetts ESOL Professional Standard 5: Assessment.

Module 2: Facilitated Virtual Session 1. Thursday, February 2, 2023, 2–4 p.m. 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. Thursday, February 2  – Thursday, February 9, 2023. Guides participants in applying the first two sessions by designing a needs assessment and then identifying learning objectives and assessments for the unit informed by the results of the needs assessment.

Module 4: Facilitated Virtual Session 2. Thursday, February 9, 2023, 2–4 p.m. 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. Thursday, February 9, 2023 – Thursday, February 16, 2023 Guides participants in applying key elements from the second facilitated session by designing a project-based summative assessment with a single-point rubric. Participants will also preview formative, peer, and student self-assessment strategies and activities.

Module 6: Facilitated Virtual Session 3. Thursday, February 16, 2023, 2–4 p.m. Focuses on peer and student self-assessments and explores a variety of formative assessment techniques to gauge student learning, check for understanding, and inform instruction. There will be time at the end of the final session to reflect on key learnings from the entire PD series.

Upon registration, you will be enrolled in the course on Blackboard and will receive instructions on how to access it before it begins. Please note: You cannot access the online course from the SABES website. You will receive a separate email from Kate Anderson with instructions on how to access the course. 

Follow-up coaching is available through the SABES ESOL PD Center to support you in integrating new tools and strategies into your teaching practice. To arrange a coach, please contact the PD Center Director, Dori McCormack, at dmccormack@edc.org

    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

01/26/2023 - 8:00 am
02/02/2023 - 2:00 pm to 02/02/2023 - 4:00 pm
02/09/2023 - 2:00 pm to 02/09/2023 - 4:00 pm
02/16/2023 - 2:00 pm to 02/16/2023 - 4:00 pm
End Date

United States

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