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Softening the Edges

Discover the difference between soft edges and hard edges regarding the assessment practices meant to meet students’ and teachers’ needs.


  • Understand the language of assessment and softened assessment edges.
  • Spot the indicators of hard and soft edges in classroom practices.
  • Learn how to educate for the whole student to meet students’ cognitive, social-emotional, physical, and ethical development needs.
  • Examine the importance of a learning continuum.
  • Visualize the qualities of a shared space that supports students’ and teachers’ learning

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Softening the Edges

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Chapter 1: Assessment and the Whole Person
Chapter 2: Instruction and Assessment Planning Using a Learning Continuum
Chapter 3: Preassessment
Chapter 4: Formative Assessment and Feedback
Chapter 5: Self-Assessment and Goal Setting
Chapter 6: Summative Assessment
Chapter 7: Systems of Reporting
Appendix: Sample Learning Continuums


Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7



  • DuFour, R. (2015). In Praise of American Educators: And How They Can Become Even Better. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • DuFour, R., DuFour, R., Eaker, R., Many, T. W., & Mattos, M. (2016). Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work (3rd ed.). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Erkens, C. (2009a). "Developing Our Assessment Literacy." In T. R. Guskey (Ed.), The Teacher as Assessment Leader (pp. 11–30). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Overlie, J. (2009). "Creating Confident, Capable Learners." In T. R. Guskey (Ed.), The Teacher as Assessment Leader (pp. 181–201). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.