An Introduction to Common Formative Assessments 2.0

Based on the work of Larry Ainsworth

Available Formats:


According to Larry Ainsworth, “Common formative assessments (CFA) are aligned pre- and post-assessments for learning that are collaboratively designed by a grade- or course-level team of educators to assess student understanding of the particular learning intentions and success criteria currently in focus within a curricular unit of study” (Ainsworth, 2015, p. 2).

This course introduces how educators, working in collaborative teams, can create their own common formative assessments and implement them to interpret student understanding more correctly and adjust their instruction accordingly to meet learner needs more effectively.


By the end of this course, you will know and be able to describe the research-based process for improving teaching and learning that is applicable to all standards, all grades, and all content areas.

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify the components of a quality CFA
  • Describe how and why assessment literacy can benefit all educators
  • Demonstrate the importance of formative assessment
  • Distinguish between assessments for and of learning
  • Discuss the role of performance tasks in assessing student understanding of unit learning intentions
  • Create a plan for implementing a CFA with your colleagues


Course Modules Include:

  • Introduction
  • Module 1: Why CFAs?
  • Module 2: Being Assessment Literate
  • Module 3: The CFA Design Steps
  • Capstone

PDF icon intro_to_cfa_2.0_syllabus.pdf


Purchase 15-hour course