The next challenge is ready! I am sorry for the delay, I was working on a side-project, helping elementary schools design a standards based report card using PowerSchool. While fun, I much prefer chatting with you and sharing awesome lesson ideas.
It is October and there is no doubt that we are in the grind of teaching. I feel like I have been teaching for 6 months already (I am still in the first term). Every day brings new teaching challenges. The upshot is that every day is an opportunity to do better. We must not loose sight of the bigger picture while we are doing the work of teaching. Often times, I will be so caught up with lesson planning, grading, and teaching that I will miss the opportunities to reflect more on how I teach, rather than what I teach. Formative assessments are one of those teaching strategies that gives both me and the students wonderful feedback. Often, it is an opportunity I miss.
Formative assessments, like pre-assessments, are one of those teaching tools I just find myself doing but don’t always use the data to shape my lesson planning. Just so we all agree on terminology, we are going to define a formative assessment as any assessment task used to promote student learning by providing feedback. As opposted to a summative assessment that is meant to demonstrate mastery. There is plenty of research showing the benefits of giving formative assessments.
Benefits of Formative Assessments
- They produce greater increases in student achievements than increasing teacher’s content knowledge or reducing class size.
- Formative assessments within lessons and units improve student achievements.
- Formative assessments boost student engagement.
The key with formative assessments is that their feedback should be collected and analyzed immediately. Formative assessment data looses its value with time. Formative assessment is most valuable when analyzed right away and worth nothing after the summative assessment is given. I am guilty of looking at my formative data after too much time has passed.
Formative Assessment Tools
Now, there are plenty of tools that make giving formative assessment easy and help reflecting on student data easy. Some of the most common are:
- Google Forms
- Jeopardy Labs
- Poll Everywhere
- Today’s Meet
Really, any tool will work. If you are designing an exit ticket, it can be done on a simple piece of paper. I have designed exit tickets on paper and I have used Schoology built in discussions and quizzes as formative assessments. You will just want a tool that makes collection and analysis easy. Speed and ease is why I prefer online formative assessments, but any tool will do.
This Week’s Challenge
This week’s challenge has 2 parts.
Make a formative assessment with your favorite online tool (fine…you can use paper if you want). The formative check can be an exit ticket, a formative quiz, a quiz game, a discussion, a product, etc. It can be really anything that gives feedback about your student’s progress towards the learning objective you set for your students.
Analyze the data from your formative assessment and make a decision about your lesson plans. Keep, modify, or replace.
This week, we can focus not just on giving the formative checks, but actually spend a couple of minutes to look at the data and make a descision about how us, as professionals, should move forward.
Share Your Expertise
- Comments: Use the comments section below to share a link/screenshot to your example.
- Forums: Start your own thread and share a link to your example.
- Personal blog: If you have a blog, please consider writing about your challenges. We’ll link back to your posts so the great work you’re sharing gets even more exposure.
- Twitter: If you share your examples on Twitter, tweet at me (@LinaneJr) so we can link back to your tweet.
- Facebook: Share your work on Guildway’s Facebook page by replying to this Facebook post with a link to your example.
I wish you all an awesome and successful week!