A Guide to Formative Assessment Infographic
It’s your first big lesson of the new school year, and you’ve spent a ton of time planning the perfect activity to engage your class. But after the lesson is over, you have a sneaking suspicion most of your students left class confused, though you’re not totally sure. Now what?
Building in ways to check for understanding during your daily lessons helps you quickly and easily gather enough information to determine whether or not your students “get it” and then make educated decisions about changes you need to make to your planning and instruction as a result. Here are 10 tips to help you use formative assessment as your compass in the classroom.
1. It’s Not a Quiz
Call it information gathering, a temperature check or a quick poll, but whatever you do, don’t call it a quiz!
2. Red, Yellow, Green
Try the traffic light: Give each student red, yellow and green cards or cups. Then, have students change the color based on their comfort level with the task.
3. What Are We Going to Learn?
Αsk, “What are they going to learn?” Then, work from there to define learning targets.
4. Plan CFUs
Plan to “check for understanding” (CFU) at the places in your lesson that you most need to know whether or not students are on track.
5. Know What to Listen For
Listen to student conversation or glance at a student’s work.
6. Compare Apples to Apples
Make sure your assessment method reflects what you’re working on.
7. Bell Ringers
The warm-up or bell ringer can provide your first piece of information.
8. Fist to Five
A way to assess the entire class’s comfort level with a concept or skill is with a show of fingers. Students hold up one, two, three, four or five fingers—one if they are totally confused and five if they understand and are ready to move on.
9. Ask the Right Questions
Instead of asking “What are you doing?” ask, “What are you trying to learn?”
10. Ask the Right Students
To make sure you’re not hearing only from students who “get” it, use a random questioning strategy, like pulling Popsicle sticks with names on them.
Check out Action Pack on Assessment from ASCD, publisher of Educational Leadership® Magazine. This 26-page free download has fresh assessment strategies to help you jumpstart the new school year. Download Now.