Formative Assessment In The Classroom

The Importance of Formative Assessment

Formative Assessment In The Classroom

There are two types of assessment that teachers can use in the classroom to gain information about their students- summative and formative.

Formative assessment in its many forms is the one that lets teachers know how students are doing as learning is occurring, not after.  There are many different ways that teachers can check for understanding which will allow you to shift instruction accordingly.

  • Observations- teachers can glean their best information by simply watching students. Watching the way that they tackle a task, the way that they solve a problem, or the strategies that they use independently can be very telling and can help teachers plan for individual students.
  • Questioning- When teachers question students about their thinking they can see how well they are grasping a concept, and again shift instruction accordingly.
  • Exit Slips- after a lesson, but before the end of a unit, students write down their response to a question the teacher poses to assess understanding of concepts taught.
  • Self assessments- Students can show their understanding in different ways :
    • Colored cups on the desk- green means “I got it”, yellow means “I need help but can keep working, red means “I need help and now!”
    • Fist to Five- students rate their own level of understanding on a scale of 0 (closed to fist) to 5 (all fingers up) and teacher takes a quick scan, deciding whether or not to move forward.
    • Games -  Such as Pumpkin Patch Bingo a free game to assess student skills.

Formative assessment is an important tool for teachers.  In its many forms it is the one that drives your instruction!

Formartive Assessment

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Irene Reardon

Irene holds a Bachelor of Science (Applied Psychology), and Certificate in TESOL and a Certificate in the Teaching of Children with Dyslexia. Fifteen years experience in developing education programs and resources for Early Childhood and Primary Educators.

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