In the prior two articles, we discussed co-planning and co-teaching. The last component of an effective co-taught classroom is working together to "co-assess" student data and growth.

If teachers assess students frequently throughout the class period, they will be able to differentiate instruction and provide frequent feedback. Assessment practices for co-teachers can be divided into many categories, but I choose to focus on two interwoven categories that have the biggest impact on student achievement:

  1. frequent checks for understanding
  2. an ongoing formative assessment system between co-teachers

Frequent checks for understanding

When we check all students' levels of understanding throughout each lesson, it sets the tone that everyone's thinking is important and necessary, and we forward the learning and engagement of all.

Using these strategies in lessons allows us to track learning and adjust instruction appropriately on the spot. Here are few great examples:

Ongoing formative assessments

It is essential in co-taught classrooms that both teachers not only collect informal and formal data throughout, but also keep a log of document growth. This is especially pertinent in tracking progress on IEP goals and WIDA language levels, as well as data for progress on objectives.

A great technology resource I always share with teachers for collecting data is Lesson Note, available in the iTunes app store. If you prefer not to use electronic data-collection tools, I suggest housing a clipboard with the templates in a consistent place in the classroom so both teachers know how to access it and mark progress.

Here are a few formative assessment templates that can be copied onto teachers' clipboards and passed back and forth throughout the class period for both teachers to mark.

It is my hope that these articles have given you a solid foundation and starting place for having a successful co-teaching experience. I recommend picking one area to focus on each year and building your instructional repertoire together.

Co-teaching is truly a journey, but the benefits of including all students, providing rigorous instruction and collaborating to problem solve are far worth the initial anxiety. Go forth and co-teach!