Classroom Diagnostic Assessment System (CDAS)

As schools and districts become increasingly accountable for raising student achievement, the need for high quality classroom diagnostic tools has become imperative. National and state testing results shared with classroom teachers on a yearly basis are insufficient for making strategic instructional decisions on a day to day basis. While many districts and schools have moved to “benchmark” or “interim” assessments, given on a more frequent basis (quarterly, semester, or 6-8 week intervals), the cumulative nature of such tests are wholly inadequate for measuring student mastery of individual content standards, and fail to provide student achievement data in a timely manner.

For the past three years, Life Long Learning & Associates has worked with schools and districts in California, Utah and Illinois to develop a comprehensive set of classroom diagnostic tools. The development of a CDAS™ (Classroom Diagnostic Assessment System) in every instance has resulted in higher student achievement. These results have been accomplished by increasing the alignment between state standards, instructional decisions, the use of instructional materials, and formative classroom assessments.

The development of a CDAS™ system creates an opportunity to engage teams of teachers in authentic professional growth activities with immediate impact on classroom room practices. As a professional learning community, teacher teams learn to unpack their content standards to reveal the student achievement targets that are often implied rather than stated in state standards. Furthermore, teams learn how to create more valid and rigorous classroom assessments by applying the standards for test construction used by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), as well as Life Long Learning & Associates design criteria. Teachers involved in the development process emerge as leaders and staff developers for their colleagues.

CDAS Research