Frequent Formative Assessments

Frequent formative assessments are assessments given during the school year to check in or benchmark to see if students or school organizations are making adequate progress toward their measurable instructional goals.

It is critical to understand that formative assessment is a process that is used in the practice of effective teaching and effective learning it is not a tool.

Big Ideas
-Formative assessments are designed to determine what students know and can do as well as identify gaps in student understanding so that teachers can make adjustments during instruction.
- Students are given probes on specific skills or essential learnings to monitor growth in learning. The feedback guides the teacher to further instruction or possible changes in academic setting.
- The assessments are short and should provide immediate feedback to teacher and student. Students can take ownership by charting results. This can be very motivating to students.
- Formative assessment is a pedagogy that can not be seperated from instruction.
- Teachers identify learning goals, set clear criteria for success and design assessments that provide evidence of student learning.
- Students are assessors for their own learning and resources to other students.
- Informs teachers and students about student understanding in a timely fashion so adjustments can be made.
- Teachers need opportunities to meet regularly in order to have collaborative, data driven discussions about student progress. Identify specific patterns from formative data and discuss what this data is presenting about student progress towards the year ending goals.
- Examples in the classroom are, but not limited to, graphic organizers, study guides, rubrics, questions (ticket in/out the door)
- The more student centered your classroom is the more likely you are to be involved in formative assessment - student conversation linked to the clear learning goal, or student products linked to the clear learning goal
- Student led conferences are more practical to the student and enhanced if the student has been involved in the evaluation and charting of their own learning
- Students are learning how to learn.
- Effective formative assessments include teachers making adjustments to teaching and learning in response to the evidence they obtain. Students receiving feedback and advice on how to improve, and are active participants through self-assessment.
-Formative assessments identify: 1) Teaching strategies that are most effective 2) Program concerns 3) Improvement goals for teachers 4) Improvement goals for teaching teams 5) Individual students who need support.
- Information on student learning or teacher practice is utilized in improving program design efforts. Frequent formative assessments specifically inform the progress of both school programs and students.
Practical Tips
- Instructional strategies that can be used formatively: Goal setting,Observations, Questioning, Self and peer assessments, Student record keeping, balancing assessment.
- Descriptive feedback provides students the knowledge of what they are doing well, links to classroom learning, and input on furthering their learning (how to get to the next step).
- The use of student led conferences
-Teachers need to be instructed on formative vs summative assessments in order to have consistent assessments.
- Increases motivation and self efficacy of the learner.
- Increase in effort, engagement, and strategy learning offered by formative assessment can increase intelligence.
-Formative assessments need to be ongoing.
-Use a variety of strategies to determine student progress toward achieving specified learning goals.
-Find key points during instruction to gather information that you can use to identify and respond to problem learning areas.