Using Formative Assessment in the Classroom


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Formative assessments make learning visible in the classroom. These simple activities can help a teacher determine if their students are learning and allow for an adjustment in the lesson to increase student achievement.

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  • Formative assessments are quick and easy ways to determine what your students know at any given time during your lesson. Formative assessments should not take up a lot of instructional time, instead they should be considered dynamic feedback about how all students are understanding the content.
  • Research shows that using formative assessments during instruction actively involves student in their own learning and gives the teacher an opportunity to adjust instruction based on student understanding.
  • Formative assessment for individual students can be a powerful way to check the learning of each person in the classroom. Students often respond to questions in journals, through exit slips and by summarizing. Individual student conferencing really gives the teacher an opportunity to have a discussion with a student and assess learning verbally. This is a great way to increase motivation and self esteem in students.
  • An exit slip or ticket out can engage students in answering a question or summarizing a lesson just before they leave the classroom. This is a good way to increase students metacognitive abilities and plan for the next day based on what concepts students have mastered.
  • In small groups, students can begin to share their thoughts and validate their learning based on their classmates ideas. Small group formative assessment also lends itself to conferencing and is a great way to help students learn from each other while building peer relationships.
  • In all areas of learning, physically building models helps to reinforce a concept.
  • Large group formative assessment is useful as a culmination of a lesson where students have internalized the content and are now prepared to share their learning with others. It is important to make sure that students have reached goals as individuals and in small group before they begin to discuss in a large group. Large group assessment makes it more difficult to collect data about individuals but can be useful when trying to get a feel for what level the class as a whole is working at.
  • Large group formative assessment can be done through literature circles or Socratic seminar. Students have to prepare ahead of time for seminar and should be using their reading to reinforce the discussion.
  • Using Formative Assessment in the Classroom

    1. 1. Using Formative Assessments in the Classroom Supporting Learning During Learning Timothy McClure Western Wayne High School
    2. 2. What are Formative Assessments? • A process, not any particular test. • Used not just by teachers but by both teachers and students. • Support learning during the learning process. • Not designed to be formally graded. • Gives teachers quick feedback about how all students are learning
    3. 3. Why use formative assessment? • For assessment to improve learning it must: • Include effective feedback for students • Actively involve students in their own learning • Adjust teaching, taking into account the results of the assessment • Increase motivation and self-esteem in students • Allow students to assess themselves and find area for improvement
    4. 4. Types of formative assessments. • Individual: students engage in on their own. • Conferencing • Exit Slip • Four Corners (strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree) • Individual White Boards • Learning Response Logs • One word summary
    5. 5. Example of Individual Formative Assessment: • Exit Slip: • Who: All students individually • When: Last few minutes of class • Where: At their work stations • Why: To summarize the lesson that day or ask a question that they still have
    6. 6. Types of formative assessments. • Small Group • Think-Pair-Share • Games • Small Group Discussion • Building Models • Turn to your partner
    7. 7. • Building Models • Who: All students in groups of 2-3 • When: Any time during the lesson • Where: At their work stations • Why: To create a visual representation of their knowledge and work together to summarize knowledge collectively. Example of Small Group Formative Assessment:
    8. 8. Types of formative assessments. • Large Groups: • Whole Group Discussion • Socratic Seminar • Observations • Peer Review • Gallery Walk • ABC Summaries
    9. 9. • Socratic Seminar • Who: All students in a class • When: As a whole lesson • Where: Students should be seated in a round table format • Why: To discuss content or readings, specifically to use evidence from the reading to enhance an intellectual discussion. • Caution: Set ground rules (norms) to ensure all students feel comfortable Example of Large Group Formative Assessment:
    10. 10. References • Formative Assessment. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Retrieved October 1, 2013, from • Dodge, J. What Are Formative Assessments and Why Should We Use Them? | Scholastic, Helping Children Around the World to Read and Learn | Retrieved October 1, 2013, from • Popham, W. J. Formative Assessment: Why, What, and Whether. Membership, policy, and professional development for educators - ASCD. Retrieved October 1, 2013, from Assessment@-Why,-What,-and-Whether.aspx • Discovery Education, . Teacher Helping Group of Students Working on Laptop. [Image]. Available from • Discovery Education, . Wide Shot of Teacher Explaining Something on White Board. [Image]. Available from • Discovery Education, . Wide Shot of Children Working at Desks. [Image]. Available from • Flickr (2013) Formative Assessment Image retrieved from • Flickr (2013) Individual Student Image retrieved from