A forum for discussing what's working -- and what isn't -- in standards and assessments.

Formative Assessment Ideas

Ryan Siegle

I am a 5th grade teacher in Grand Rapids, MN and am in search of new formative assessment techniques that I can implement in my classroom. I currently use tools such as sticky notes, whiteboards, notecards, and daily assignments.

What have you used that seems to be both motivating to your students and informative to you? How do you use the data found from this type of assessment?

Comments (15)

Comment RSS
Learning Specialist: Technology for Stratford Hall

Hey Ryan, My guess is you

Was this helpful?

Hey Ryan,

My guess is you actually use some other formative assessments as well, and that if you improved your record keeping, they would be more useful as data.

For example, do you look at students working and think about what is working and what isn't? Have you checked out student's work and given them immediate feedback on how to improve? Both of these practices are examples of formative assessment, and if you record some of your observations, they could be useful as data to guide your instruction.

Can you think of other examples of "soft" formative assessment that you already do that you can use to guide your instruction?

2nd Grade Teacher from North Dakota

Formative Assessment

Was this helpful?

Hi~ I teach 2nd grade and also use many of those same types of formative assessment as you do Ryan in your classroom. I use my whiteboards on a daily basis throughout the day and it is a great way to check immediately how students are doing. I like your thought process David about using your immediate feedback you give students on their work as a form of assessment. You could go one step further and record some of those observations to show data for your instruction. I think sometimes we are formatively assessing students and may not even know we are. I use math and science journals as well and will have students answer a quick 3-5 minute question at the end of a lesson. I also send home reading response notebooks for their reading each day so I can check to make sure they understood their story. Another idea similar to journals would be exit slips on a notecard with a question at the end of a lesson and then they turn them in. I also have students "think, pair, share" which is a part of Kaegen Cooperative learning. They think about a question, pair up with a partner and share their thoughts. This is a great and easy way to check and see what they have learned and still need to work on. There are lots of great cooperative learning activites with Kaegen I would check out.

Coordinator for Instruction & Professional Development

Was this helpful?

You can find a variety of formative assessment strategies on the Teach 21 website at http://wvde.state.wv.us/teach21/FormativeAssessment.html.

Multi-age Second and third Grade Teacher from Minnesota

One of my favorite forms of

Was this helpful?

One of my favorite forms of formative assessment is the writing conference. I pull my chair up to a student during writing and ask them what they trying out in their writing today. We have a 3 minute talk where they show me one small thing they are working on and I give them some quick feedback. The students love this and I constantly have kids asking when I can conference with them-very motivating.
I also have a clipboard where I make a note of what the student was working on and what I noticed. These notes help me to see trends in the classroom, so that I can effectively plan future mini-lessons. I can also use the notes to refer back to next time I conference with that student to see if they tried out what we had talked about last time.
This is time consuming so my goal is to conference with every student once a week. It is one more tool I have for knowing where my students are at.

College Professor from Valparaiso, IN

Continuing Lecturer of Education

Was this helpful?

I like to use metaphors. So for example after studying a concept I have students create a metaphor for the concept. Another idea is to have the students create a haiku of the content they are studying. The assessments require students to synthesize the information and it makes it quick and easy for you to assess their understanding.

5th grade teacher from Covington, Georgia

How would you suggest one

Was this helpful?

How would you suggest one improve their record keeping? I am looking for ways to more easily document the effectiveness of my teaching that protects the privacy of the student and is time effective.

Founder and director of espacioapr.org in puerto rico

Authentic assesments

Was this helpful?

Hi my name is Ginny and I am a new member in this group. At this moment in our democratic school in Puerto Rico we are looking to develop assesments that could be use to validate the work we do. Our school is based on the principles of democracy and non violent communication. We use a non coersive emergent curriculum and integrate PBL and an interdisciplinary multiple inteligence approach.

I am loong for ideas on creating evaluations that are holistic and friendly but that can be use to validate that kids are learning the academics(math, reading and writing)
Thanks in advance , ginny

3rd Grade Teacher

Hi everyone, My name is

Was this helpful?

Hi everyone,
My name is Ashley, and I have been struggling with the use of formative assessments in order to help inform me on who needs extra help or what concepts I need to spend more time on. After reading the posts so far, I have come to realize that I do already use some formative assessments but that I need to get better at record keeping so I have that data readily available when I go to plan. And thank you Denise for that wonderful website of ideas! I am so currently struggling with formative assessments in reading.

Like Brenda, I also use the writing conference as a formative assessment. During writing, if my students have finished the assigned part of their story then they are allowed to free write in their writer's notebook. When I notice that a student has had some quality time to write, I will pull out their writer's notebook and do a quick assessment of what strategies they are using in their writing and what I need to work on them with. This, like the writing conference, can take time as well.

In math, I use a checklist as my record keeping. For example, if we are working on measuring to the nearest inch and 1/2 inch, I have these standards listed on my clipboard with each child's name. I put down the date at the top, and through teacher observation during the lesson I check off who can or cannot measure. Doing this consistently, I can see who has the skill on a consistent basis and who still needs help mastering this skill.

first grade teacher in ND

Was this helpful?

I think formative assessments are one of the best ways to give you immidiate feedback on which students are struggling with which benchmarks. I feel that almost everything I do in my room is or could be considered a formative assessment. I don't always document my observations, which I should get better at, but these informal observations definitely tell me the direction I need to go with my instruction. I do many of the same activities as mentioned in other posts such as white boards, writer's conferences, reading conferences, worksheets and small group discussions. Many times the formative assessments measure more than one skill which is wonderful. For example when working on short vowel sounds and writing short vowel words, I am actually assessing handwriting at the same time. In our jam packed days, when you can kill two birds with one stone - I am all for that!! I love formative assessments and I feel they give so much more information than a summative assessment.

fifth grade teacher from Fargo, North Dakota

I feel that we use formative

Was this helpful?

I feel that we use formative assessments in our classroom more than we think we do. I too, like you listed, use whiteboards, notecards, and daily assignments. I also use what I call "exit notes." I have my students take out a sticky note from their desk and answer a question that typically sums-up what we have learned/discussed in the lesson. Students write their answer on the sticky note and then bring the sticky note to me before we "end" that subject. I sometimes even ask a random question to them such as "If you could be anyone in the world, who would you be and why" or I have them complete the sentence "I wonder..." These times of questions just allow me to get to know my students better. We also do some "think, pair share" type things. In the past I have written letters back to my students in their Writer's Notebook, which I know my students REALLY enjoyed. I stopped doing this solely because of the TIME that it took to do so. Any ideas on how to respond back to my students writing in their Writer's Notebook without it taking FOREVER to do so? I have trouble with feedback on writing. Time is such an issue at our school as we do lunch and recess duty, which elimates a prep-time to do things like that.

see more see less