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?

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We do Writer's Workshop every

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We do Writer's Workshop every day. I schedule conferences with each student in about a 2 week period. So I don't check everyone's work daily. They write a story about their lives, and when they finish they put it in their folder and start a new one. Each month, they choose one story to publish and that is the one we edit and work with. This was hard for me to get used to because I used to do journals and I would check them every day (usually at home at night). I loved reading what they wrote, but it was very time consuming. I switched to Writer's Workshop last year and loved it. The students love publishing their own books and they really believe they are authors. We do little mini lessons that help them add to their stories and they learn how to edit their own writing as well. I tell them that before they bring their work back to me they should have checked for capital letters and punctuation and missing words. It is kind of hard for the students at first because they are all so excited to read me what they wrote. It is hard for them to wait their turn to come back to the table with me. I taught 2nd grade last year and some amazing writers. It is pretty slow going with my first graders, but am excited to see the growth they will make this year. I can see it really being a big hit for your 5th graders. I also give them a fiction story starter on Fridays. They love this!! They have to have a main character that is not themselves, describe the setting, have at least one problem and a solution. We brainstorm ideas first and then I turn them loose. So much fun to see their imaginations!!!
Good luck

1st grade teacher

Making more time for assessing/conferencing

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I completely agree with you. I never realized how much formative assessment that I already do. I also do a lot of "think, pair, share". I never really thought of it as a formative assessment. Another teacher shared with me that she just has the students give her a thumbs up or down if they understand a concept. I recently started using the Daily 5/Cafe. This has really opened up time for me conference with students on different areas. I can pick what I want to talk to each of the students about and give them things to work on individually. I don't know if you have heard of this but it really is a good teaching technique. This is the only way I have found to open up time throughout my day to talk one on one and the other students are still busy learning independently.

i teach chemistry for 10th grade

Assessment -- i teach

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Assessment --
i teach chemistry .I use different ways of assessment ,in the laboratory i assess them on the basis of the analysis result shown.in class room i assess in many ways .. after a unit is taught i keep sm questions ready to be displayed on the projector which the students answer . I even sm times ask them to write dowm 2 points understood well and two or more if not understood ,in this way i get a chance to clear doubts and even assess the childs learning.

Director, Antioch Center for School Renewal


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In my work with teachers, I find that the heart of their struggles with assessment is connected to a lack of clarity around what the students are supposed to be demonstrating content-wise (as opposed to the medium used to learn that content), what the work is supposed to look like in its final form, and the "soft" skills that the students are supposed to be practicing while they're working. Once we get clarity on those items, the assessment puzzle comes together a bit more easily. Sometimes we use Quinn's Six Questions to help get that clarity, other times it's just about a conversation. Feel free to give me a holler at lthomas@antioch.edu if you want more information about it. Good luck!

Edutopia Consulting Online Editor

Suggestions- Formative Assessments

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Take a look at the blog I wrote about this very subject: Why Formative Assessments Matter

Hope you find it helpful!


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