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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Formative Assessment Ideas

Formative Assessment Ideas

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Hi, 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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Kelly Watson's picture
Kelly Watson
2nd Grade Teacher from North Dakota

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.

Brenda's picture
Brenda
Multi-age Second and third Grade Teacher from Minnesota

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.

Debra Pratt's picture
Debra Pratt
College Professor from Valparaiso, IN

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.

Debora Ondracek's picture
Debora Ondracek
5th grade teacher from Covington, Georgia

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.

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