Online Assessment Planning Tool – Readiness

STEP 3:  Readiness Level Descriptions

Based on your responses to the questions in the Online Assessment Readiness Self-Reporting Survey, the Tool generates a placement for each category along a spectrum of online assessment preparation and capacity, from the Just Starting level when no preparations have been made and capacity is minimal, to the Innovating level where planning is routine and system improvements based on results allow districts and schools to innovate new practices that transform learning.

The categories returned by the Tool are intended to help districts and schools understand their current capacities, identify areas for improvement, and stimulate community-based conversations and planning.  Online Assessment Planning Worksheets are designed to support districts in those processes.

Just Starting

At the Just Starting stage, administrators and educators have limited knowledge or awareness of online assessments, and have no vision for their adoption.  There have been limited efforts to evaluate, plan, or anticipate the benefits and challenges of online assessment. Online assessment may be viewed by stakeholders as a mandate without supporting rationale. Educators and administrators do not feel adequately prepared for online assessments or understand the reasons for change and may be actively resisting assessment innovations.

Building Awareness

At the Building Awareness stage, districts are beginning to move toward a clear understanding of specific benefits of online assessments for students, teachers, and administrators. Initial plans may be in formulation. Educators and parents are being given introductory opportunities to understand the reasons for moving to online assessments, and timelines for change are starting to be communicated. However, Current instruction and assessment practices may still not effectively integrate technology.

Beginning to Change Practice

The Beginning to Change Practice stage is a transitional period to develop a better understanding of how technology changes instructional practice. This level allows the learner to understand the use of technology by applying it in everyday instructional and assessment tasks and processes. In this stage, technology assists with routine practices by making them easier, faster, or more accurate. Professional development typically focuses on the adoption of technology into their everyday activities and skill development with specific applications. Schools and individuals have dedicated some thought to evaluating, planning for, and anticipating the benefits and challenges of online assessments. However, assessment data are generally not well captured, discussed, or used to inform instruction.

Iterating Improvements

At the Iterating Improvements stage, technology is being increasingly integrated into instructional and assessment practices. Educators and administrators feel somewhat prepared for online assessments, and are generally in favor of assessment innovations but are in the early stages of working toward achieving new goals. Practices for capturing, discussing, and using assessment data to inform instruction are taking shape. As stakeholders become more familiar with the use of online assessments a major change starts to take place in their attitude toward adoption. Typically, this is the stage where infrastructure and skills are being upgraded but online assessment is more likely to be a digital version of the paper-based assessment. The risk at this level is that schools become complacent and don’t transform practice or move toward more advanced levels of readiness.

Beginning to Translate Practice

As districts are Beginning to Translate Practice, significant stakeholder-involved planning is dedicated to evaluating, planning for, and anticipating the benefits and challenges of online assessments. Technology is being well integrated to into instructional and assessment practices. Educators and administrators feel very prepared for online assessments, are achieving new goals, and are enthusiastic about expanding innovations in the future.  Stakeholders are gaining proficiency with capturing assessment data at different scales and using data to inform instructional decisions.


Teaching and Learning looks significantly different at the Innovating stage. It is difficult to distinguish between teaching, assessment, and learning. Assessment innovations have achieved institutional change and become part of the educational culture of the district. It is at this level that teachers and students can best realize the benefits of online assessment. When a district reaches the level of wide-scale transformational practice, the district no longer supports low-level assessments.


> Take the Online Assessment Readiness Survey

> Access Online Assessment Planning Worksheets

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