Dynamic Assessment (DA) a clear link between assessment and instruction. It incorporates a child's response to instructional feedback. Its distinctive feature from traditional assessments is that it determines the students' potential for change when given assistance (McMaster, Ritchey and Lembke, 2011). Also known as authentic assessment, instructional assessment and mediated assessment, DA is a type of formative assessment providing information on how a student interacts with the curriculum at hand. It helps teachers determine the zone of proximal development or entry level for instruction. That interaction is guided by the assessor and becomes the driving force for the assessment. It is a process for data collection rather than a protocol and is considered to be an evidence-based practice.
Be READY to:
  » Observe how the student interacts with the curriculum; look for what the student knows, can do, how they think and problem solve.
  » Consider the students' current skill/knowledge set in relationship to the task.
  » Mediate student success via graduated prompts.
  » Provide trial teaching to ascertain the student's ability to acquire and apply new skills or knowledge during the evaluation. (Fontana, 2015)
SET the process in motion by: 
  » Becoming familiar with grade or age-level expected knowledge, skills and curriculum materials.
  » Having a variety of grade level and other curriculum materials available, including text for reading, prompts for writing, samples of problems and text for math
  » Being prepared to explore for the student's instructional level.
For more information, GO to:
  » Authentic Assessment Toolbox shares resources for measuring and improving student learning.
  » National Education Association (NEA) Authentic Assessment Toolbox - a resource to help K-12 teachers create authentic tasks, rubrics, and standards for measuring and improving student learning
  » Articles and information from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE).
Bagnato, S. J., Neisworth, J.T. & Pretti-Frontczak, K. (2010). LINKing Authentic Assessment and Early Childhood Intervention: Best Measures for Best Practices (2nd ed) Brookes: Baltimore.
Fontana, J.L. (2015) Using Dynamic Assessment to Guide Data-based Interventions. Council for Exceptional Children Annual Conference, San Diego, CA. April 10, 2015.
McMaster K. L., Ritchey K.D. & Lembke E. (2011) 'Curriculum-based measurement for beginning writers: Recent developments and future directions: Advances in learning and behavioral disabilities' In T.E. Scruggs & M.A. Mastropieri (Eds.) Assessment and Intervention: Advances in Learning and Behavioral Disabilities. Emerald: Bingley, UK.

Swanson, H. L. & Lussier, C. M. (2001). A selective synthesis of the experimental literature on dynamic assessment. Review of Educational Research (71) 2 pp. 321-363.

This news brief is a collaborative effort of the Virginia Department of Education Training and Technical Assistance Centers at George Mason University and James Madison University. This issue was prepared by the staff of the VDOE TTAC at George Mason University. For questions about content, please contact Judith Fontana or Kathy Nutt or call 703-993-4496.