What are ESAs and why use them?

Grounded in rigorous theory and pedagogy, SCALE’s Embedded Signature Assessments (ESAs) are customized, formative assessment tools embedded within existing curriculum to develop important skills for quality teaching, including providing feedback and asking questions. These assessments and related tasks have been designed specifically to improve teacher candidate performance for skills needed to be successful in the profession.

When used with Watermark’s outcomes assessment solutions, EPPs have more robust evidence of student learning to inform program improvement and provide data for accreditation. They are pre-aligned to InTASC standards and can also be aligned to program learning outcomes in Watermark — providing you with the kind of data needed to measure teaching effectiveness and to ensure candidates are ready for the classroom.

What’s included?

Two initial ESAs and faculty guide will be available beginning fall 2020.

  • Providing Effective Feedback ESA
    The purpose of this ESA is to assess a candidate’s ability to evaluate feedback and provide feedback in multiple contexts. This ESA includes three related tasks.
  • Effective Questioning Strategies
    The purpose of this ESA is to develop candidates’ skills in using effective questioning strategies to deepen student understanding of skills and/or content. Across the ESA, this is done in three related tasks.
  • ESA Faculty Guide
    The ESA Faculty Guide is intended to provide information faculty will need to understand the ESA, what it measures, and key considerations for implementation.


SCALE provides technical consulting and support to schools and districts that are adopting performance-based assessment as part of a multiple-measures system for evaluating student learning and measuring school performance. SCALE’s mission is to improve instruction and learning through the design and development of innovative, educative, state-of-the-art performance assessments and by building the capacity of schools to use these assessments in thoughtful ways, to promote student, teacher, and organizational learning. Learn more.

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