"Quality classroom assessment produces accurate information that is used effectively to increase student learning."
The many forms and methods of student assessment are conducted to measure student understanding and provide growth-oriented feedback about the student's progress in relation to the standards or objectives being learned. Results should always be utilized to inform instructional actions and interventions to ensure all students become proficient. The two main types of assessment, summative and formative, have very different purposes and strategies. Here we will focus on formative assessment ideas, but first a quick explanation for clarity.
It is important for teachers to understand assessment terminology because any decision made about student learning should be based on an objective analysis of assessment results. The goal then, is to pick the right assessment method that fits the given situation and provides useful data that can be applied to improve learning.
formative assessment ideas and implementation processes
Educators must use frequent checks for understanding–as often as every 10-15 minutes (Goodwin & Hubbell, 2013)
“The act of checking for understanding not only identifies errors and misconceptions but also can improve learning” (Fisher & Frey, 2014). In addition to clarifying the purpose of formative assessment, the authors describe three main components beginning with what they call:
There are many ways to get information to support each of these components; from simple questions for the students during lecture, to quizzes and performance tasks. The method used will depend on the purpose and the setting.
Following are some suggested methods for in-class formative assessment:
"Criteria and goal setting with students engages them in instruction and the learning process by creating clear expectations. In order to be successful, students need to understand and know the learning target/goal and the criteria for reaching it. Establishing and defining quality work together, asking students to participate in establishing norm behaviors for classroom culture, and determining what should be included in criteria for success are all examples of this strategy. Using student work, classroom tests, or exemplars of what is expected helps students understand where they are, where they need to be, and an effective process for getting there.
Observations go beyond walking around the room to see if students are on task or need clarification. Observations assist teachers in gathering evidence of student learning to inform instructional planning. This evidence can be recorded and used as feedback for students about their learning or as anecdotal data shared with them during conferences.
Questioning strategies should be embedded in lesson/ unit planning. Asking better questions allows an opportunity for deeper thinking and provides teachers with significant insight into the degree and depth of understanding. Questions of this nature engage students in classroom dialogue that both uncovers and expands learning. An “exit slip” at the end of a class period to determine students’ understanding of the day’s lesson or quick checks during instruction such as “thumbs up/ down” or “red/green” (stop/go) cards are also examples of Formative and Summative Assessments in the Classroom 2 questioning strategies that elicit immediate information about student learning. Helping students ask better questions is another aspect of this formative assessment strategy.
Self and peer assessment helps to create a learning community within a classroom. Students who can reflect while engaged in metacognitive thinking are involved in their learning. When students have been involved in criteria and goal setting, self-evaluation is a logical step in the learning process. With peer evaluation, students see each other as resources for understanding and checking for quality work against previously established criteria.
Student record keeping helps students better understand their own learning as evidenced by their classroom work. This process of students keeping ongoing records of their work not only engages students, it also helps them, beyond a “grade,” to see where they started and the progress they are making toward the learning goal."
(Fisher & Frey, 2014)
"Teachers can gain regular feedback information about student learning within large classes by using variants of the one-minute paper—questions that are posed to students before a teaching session begins, and responded to at the end of the session (e.g. What was the most important argument in this lecture? What question remains uppermost in your mind now at the end of this teaching session?). These strategies can be adapted to any class room situation or discipline. As well as giving feedback to the teacher, one-minute papers can also be used to provide feedback to the student (e.g. when teachers replay some of the student responses to the one-minute paper in class at the next teaching session).
Having students request the feedback they would like when they make an assignment submission (e.g. on a pro forma with published criteria).
Having students identify where they are having difficulties when they hand in assessed work.
Asking students in groups to identify ‘a question worth asking’, based on prior study, that they would like to explore for a short time at the beginning of the next tutorial."
(Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick, 2006)
Analyzing Student Work, a great deal of information can be learned from students’ homework, tests, and quizzes. This is especially so if the students are required to explain their thinking. When teachers take the time to analyze student work, they gain knowledge about:
Round Robin Charts, this strategy involves passing charts among groups to assess understanding. Each group of 4 or 5 students begins with a chart and some markers. The group records an answer to an open-ended question. They can also share knowledge they have on a topic covered in class. Once the students finish with the chart, they pass it on to the next group. Once every group has worked on every chart, responses are discussed as a class.
Strategic Questioning, questioning strategies may be used with individuals, small groups, or the entire class. Effective formative assessment strategies involve asking students to answer higher-order questions such as “why” and “how.” Higher-order questions require more in-depth thinking from the students. They can help the teacher discern the level and extent of the students’ understanding.
3-Way Summaries, the idea here is to use different modes of thinking and attention to detail. Students can work in groups or individually. In response to a question or topic inquiry, they write three different summaries:
Think-Pair-Share, this is one of the many formative assessment strategies that is simple for teachers to use. The instructor asks a question, and students write down their answers. Students are then placed in pairs to discuss their responses. Teachers are able to move around the classroom and listen to various discussions. It lets them gain valuable insight into levels of understanding.
3–2–1 Countdown, this is a true test of relevant and meaningful learning. When students learn something they find useful, they’re likely to want to use that learning in some way. Have students end the day with this one. Give them cards to write on, or they can respond orally. They are required to respond to three separate statements:
Classroom Polls, polls let students give responses quickly and accurately. A silent poll is perfect for those “shy” students who have trouble speaking up. These are also a quick way to check understanding using mobile technology. Try tools like Poll Everywhere or SurveyPlanet.
Exit/Admit Tickets, a simple but effective formative assessment is the exit ticket. Exit tickets are small pieces of paper or cards that students deposit as they leave the classroom. Students write down an accurate interpretation of the main idea behind the lesson taught that day. Next, they provide more detail about the topic.
Admit tickets are done at the very beginning of the class. Students may respond to questions about homework, or on the lesson taught the day before.
One-Minute Papers, One-minute papers are usually done at the end of the day. Students can work individually or in groups here. They must answer a brief question in writing. Typical questions posed by teachers center around:
Without formative assessments, the first indication that a student doesn’t grasp the material is when they fail a quiz or a test. An innovative formative assessment strategy like this can take failure out of the classroom.
Creative Extension Projects, students can create a large scope of projects to demonstrate comprehension. Quick projects help them apply the higher-order levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. These don’t have to be big and complicated. They can take a day, a half-day, or even an hour. Here are some extension ideas for quick projects:
10 Innovative Formative Assessment Examples for Teachers to Know
by Lee Watanabe-Crockett | Apr 18, 2018
if that wasn't enough to keep you busy...
"Book Two: 60 Formative Assessment Strategies (by Natalie Regier) provides teachers with a variety of strategies to gather information about their students during instruction." (Regier, 2012)
more resources for formative assessment and mastery learning
Click the button below for a presentation with 56 formative assessment ideas, curated by David Wees:
Additional resources for formative assessment:
The Student-Centered Assessment Guide: Peer Assessment is a great resource to learn more about student-centered assessment using peers assessment strategies.
Checking for Understanding - Formative Assessment Techniques for Your Classroom By Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey
Review the following for more information on student-centered assessment and tools:
Review the following additional resources for checking for understanding:
Explore the following resources on mastery learning:
Good Formative Assessment supports Mastery Learning
Nabori (2012) offers five tips for mastery-based assessments:
Continue to Section Three for information about Teaching Evaluation and
Student Learning Objectives.
Student Learning Objectives.
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