Blogs on Formative Assessment

Blogs on Formative AssessmentRSS
Andrew MillerApril 15, 2014

Standardized testing is one of the "lighting rod" issues in educational policy debates. Whether it's a group of teachers boycotting a test in Seattle, districts across the United States tying teacher evaluations to test results, the new PARCC or Smarter Balanced Assessments being implemented, the ranking countries with PISA scores, or the SAT trying to revamp itself, the debate and topic of standardized testing simply will not go away. So what is an educator to do? With all these forces in play, whether at the district or federal level, it can be disheartening and daunting for an educator to create learning in the classroom. With all the changes, there is always pressure to teach to the test. But I think we can do better.

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Matt LevinsonApril 2, 2014

For many students, the process of learning new material can feel like swimming in an ocean with fish moving in many different directions. Additionally, the information itself can feel like fish swimming in the minds of students -- overwhelming them, causing anxiety, uncertainty and even fear. They can feel as if what they're trying to learn has no order, especially when context is lacking.

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Judy Willis MDMarch 17, 2014

If we hope to construct enduring understanding in our students, it's critical that, now more than ever, we know their strengths and interests. By incorporating students' strengths and weakness into authentic learning experiences from the beginning of each unit, while at the same time including opportunities for feedback, metacognition and revision, we promote a variety of cognitive and emotional benefits that can lead to academic success.

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Judy Willis MDFebruary 19, 2014

We are facing a problem with tests in education.

Students are strongly influenced by the implied messages they deduce from what is being tested, especially when the test is emphasized as high stakes in terms of their grades. Further, they can draw dangerous conclusions about their own role in the learning process by what is done with the assessment results.

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Heather Wolpert-GawronFebruary 7, 2014

In Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury writes that the grandma's kitchen was warm, exciting, and full of "organized chaos." I like to think that my classroom environment is also like that. Well, at least it's a positive spin on the piles of books, the stacks of papers and the uneven bulletin boards that define my middle school classroom.

But when teaching study skills and organization, it's vital that I model a more perfect world. One of the ways that I help my students -- and myself -- to organize our assignments is to create checklists.

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Terry HeickDecember 13, 2013

Roughly put, learning is really just a growth in awareness. The transition from not knowing to knowing is part of it, but that's really too simple because it misses all the degrees of knowing and not knowing. One can't ever really, truly understand something any more than a shrub can stay trimmed. There's always growth or decay, changing contexts or conditions. Understanding is the same way. It's fluid.

Yes, this sounds silly and esoteric, but think about it. While morsels of information -- math theorems, for example -- may not change, the context in which students use them do change. Which in turn changes how we consider and use that morsel.

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Cindy BryantDecember 3, 2013

For many years, intelligence was thought to be static (fixed) and could not be altered. Informal research has shown this to be particularly true when it comes to students thinking about their mathematics intelligence. But with the advent of advanced technology and cognitive labs, psychologists and neuroscientists have found that aspects of intelligence -- and even intelligence itself -- can be altered through training and experiences.

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Michelle Lampinen, NBCTDecember 3, 2013

Last week, I was composing a rubric to go along with a writing assignment for my juniors. The assignment, though cleverly disguised as an end-of-unit essay for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, is actually a mock paper for the IB Language and Literature curriculum. For this assignment, students select one of six prescribed (by IB, not by me) questions to answer in the context of a text they've read. They then develop an 800-to-1000-word response that is grounded in the text.

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Ashley NahornickNovember 12, 2013

Connecting Design Thinking to Your Area of Expertise

Many of us have sat through long lectures believing the material did not connect to us at all. This should not be the case with design thinking, a process that involves rethinking and reframing problems to make things easier, more streamlined or different. However, many people view design thinking as an insular activity that does not mesh with their specific domain of expertise. This should not be the case. Design thinking can relate to any topic.

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José VilsonOctober 22, 2013

It's easy to say that students lie to teachers all the time. Frankly, everyone, including teachers, has a lie in them, and these untruths keep the schooling process rolling along. When adults say, for instance, that they develop rules with the students, chances are that students often develop rules that teachers already thought of anyway. Or, when adults say that a student can't use the restroom during certain parts of the day "Just because," rather than "Because the hallways is crowded, and I don't want you distracted from the lesson in the classroom,” that's just one more micro-fib in a collage of fibs that we tell children.

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