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Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Framework (CIA F)

Updated: May 1, 2023

Martin’s Consulting school improvement model, the Curriculum, Inst ruction, and

Assessment Framework (CIA-F) is a Plan, Do, Study, Act school improvement process that actively engages and focuses teachers in a learning community. The CIA-F

provides teachers with a process to reflect on the inter-connections of curriculum, instruction and assessment when planning, presenting, and assessing a day’s

or unit’s lessons. The CIA-F helps teachers shape the curricular goals, instructional processes, and modes of assessment in order to improve student learning for all.


The CIA-F enhances teachers’ knowledge and skills in the subject matter area

they are charged to teach. As teachers implement the CIA-F, they identify and

analyze (unpack) the embedded learning goals in the standards and review the

adopted/required curriculum to determine if it addresses the goals. In some

instances, the curriculum may not completely align to the standards, requiring

teachers to use supplemental resources. During this process, teachers

collaborate to identify best instructional practices and sequence the learning

activities that will be employed to help students master the content standards

and objectives. The CIA-F provides teachers an opportunity to view the

standards as performance expectations and not simply content. This is a huge

shift because the standards-based movement requires that teachers no longer

teach students to memorize the Pre-Amble to the Constitution but rather use the

Pre-Amble to the Constitution as a means to the agreed upon performance,

(i.e. central theme from a text).


The CIA-F enables teachers to implement lessons (Instruction), identify student centered strategies, and use assessments that will help students learn skills that can be universally applied when they complete school and enter the real world. During this stage, teachers discuss possible misconceptions students may have with the skills and they develop plans to differentiate the lesson to meet the learning needs and styles of all learners.


The standards-based movement requires that teachers understand how standards-

based state assessments are constructed so they can guide and improve instruction. The CIA-F provides teachers with a format to create pre & post assessments that reflect the knowledge and mental processes associated with an academic subject area. The CIA-F requires that teachers use assessment blueprints, released items from the state assessments, standards, and test specifications to assist them in understanding what is required for students to master the competencies assessed on the state assessment. This process assists teachers to develop an understanding of how state assessments are designed and to use that understanding to improve their instruction and assessments. The process also assists teachers to ensure that their instruction and assessments are aligned to the standards.

  • Teachers must review classroom resources, curriculum, textbooks, instructional activities, graphic organizers and assessments to make sure they address the skills embedded in the standard.

  • Teachers must analyze lessons, activities, assessments, etc. to ensure the align to the rigor that is delineated in the standard and the specifications.

  • Teachers must make sure that the questions are written in a variety of formats to familiarize students with the types of questions they will be given on the state assessment.

These pre & post assessments are used to measure students’ achievement of the competencies outlined in the standards as well as the effectiveness of the strategies used by educators to teach the competencies. Consequently, teachers use the data and the evidence from these formative assessments to inform their instructional practices as well as to assess student learning.

  • Teachers create and assign a common formative assessment (preassessment) that is directly aligned to the standards (vertically and horizontally), assessment blueprints, and the test specifications.

  • o Teachers collect, track, and analyze (conduct an error analysis) the data and evidence from the pre-assessment.

  • Teachers collaborate and identify an instructional plan (differentiate instruction) to remediate gaps and to extend student learning.

  • Teachers must implement the instructional plan (re-teach, corrective instruction, enrichment) using the identified strategies.

  • o Teachers create and assign the second common formative assessment (post-assessment).

    • Teachers should use the data from the pre-assessment to design the post-assessment (focus on the problems that caused more challenges for the students).

  • Teachers collect, track, and analyze (conduct an error analysis) the data and evidence from the post-assessment.

  • Teachers collaborate and identify an instructional plan to remediate gaps if any still exist and to extend student learning.

Teachers identify the next standard(s) and complete the process again. This

ongoing process takes time and requires constant attention. This is not

something that can be done in a single professional development session.

Related Work and Readings

Black, Paul, and Wiliam, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through

classroom assessment, Phi Delta Kappan, pp. 139-148.

Neill, D. (1997 September). Transforming student assessment, Phi Delta Kappan,

pp. 35-36.

Sadler, D. (1989). Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems,

Instructional Science, vol. 18, 1989, pp. 119-44.

Schafer, W. & Lissitz, R. (1987). Measurement training for school personnel:

Recommendations and reality, Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 38. 3, pp. 57-63.

Stiggins, R. (1999). Assessment, student confidence, and school success, Phi Delta

Kappan, pp. 191-198.

Stiggins, R. & Conklin, N. (1992). In teachers’ hands: Investigating the practice of

classroom assessment. Albany: State University of New York Press.



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