EL Education.

Meet the Modules: Assessment Design

How do the modules assess student achievement of the Common Core State Standards?

“If you don’t know where you are headed, you’ll probably end up someplace else.” —Douglas J. Eder, PhD, professor

Each module includes seven assessments: six unit-level assessments, one in the middle of each unit and one at the end, as well as a final performance task at the end of the module. Each of the unit-level assessments evaluates students' independent work on a reading, writing, speaking, or listening task. The final performance task is a more supported project, often involving research, in which students create an authentic real-world product.

Modules include a variety of assessment types: selected response (multiple-choice questions), short constructed response, extended response (either on-demand or supported), speaking and listening (discussion or oral presentation), and complex writing tasks that incorporate the writing process. 

Learning Targets

  1. I can describe how the modules assess student achievement of the Common Core State Standards.
  2. I can describe how learning is scaffolded to help prepare students for module assessments. 

Watch: Assessment Design in Action

This video shows teachers and curriculum designers working together to design some of EL's 3–8 ELA curriculum modules. As you watch, keep in mind the guiding question: How do the modules assess student achievement of the Common Core standards?

  1. What are the key factors that were taken into consideration in the design of module assessments?

  2. How would you describe the relationship between the standards and text selection?

  3. How does the learning in the modules scaffold toward assessments?


Other Topics in This Pack

Need help?

Not sure how to use this site? We've made a demo to walk you through the structure and features.

Read: A Look at a Module Overview

Choose one of the following module overview documents from the curriculum to download and analyze. Read the Overview on the first page and then move down to analyze the Week-at-a-Glance chart at the end of the document. Track your thinking by downloading the Notices and Wonders note-catcher and respond to the guiding question: How do the modules assess student achievement of the Common Core standards?  

Grade 3 Module 3B Module Overview A curriculum document providing an overview of an elementary module.

Grade 6 Module 2B Module Overview: A curriculum document providing an overview of a middle school module.


  1. How does the module assess student achievement of the Common Core State Standards?

  2. Look at each assessment and the standards assessed in the module. How have the standards been bundled in each assessment? Why do you think they have been bundled in that way?

  3. How does the module prepare students for state assessments? What benefits and drawbacks do you see of "curriculum-embedded assessment" as authentic test preparation? 

  4. How does the learning in the module scaffold students toward meeting the standards in the assessments?

Dig Deeper

To learn more about the assessment design process in EL Education Grades 3–8 ELA Curriculum, read:

Assessment Design in Expeditionary Learning Grades 3–8 Curriculum: A document by EL Education outlining the assessment design process that was used in our 3–8 curriculum.


For Teachers...

  1. What strategies will you use to ensure students are successful on the module assessments?
  2. What additional support will you need, and what are your next steps to secure it?

For School Leaders...

  1. How will you provide the time that teachers need to conduct a deep analysis of the assessments and standards addressed so that students are successful?
  2. How will you work in collaboration with teachers to ensure their planning leads to student success on the module assessments?