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Why Formative Assessments Matter

Why Formative Assessments Matter
Summative assessments, or high stakes tests and projects, are what the eagle eye of our profession is fixated on right now, so teachers often find themselves in the tough position of racing, racing, racing through curriculum. But what about informal or formative assessments? Are we putting enough effort into these? What Are They? Informal, or formative assessments are about checking for understanding in an effective way in order to guide instruction. They are used during instruction rather than at the end of a unit or course of study. What this means is that if we are about getting to the end, we may lose our audience, the students. We are all guilty of this one -- the ultimate teacher copout: "Are there any questions, students?" Ever assign the big project, test, or report at the end of a unit and find yourself shocked with the results, and not in a good way? To Inform, Not Punish Believe me, I've been there: wanting to punish the lazy, the cocky, the nonchalant. When and How? Exit Slips

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/formative-assessments-importance-of-rebecca-alber

Formative Assessments "If you can both listen to children and accept their answers not as things to just be judged right or wrong but as pieces of information which may reveal what the child is thinking, you will have taken a giant step toward becoming a master teacher, rather than merely a disseminator of information." -Easley & Zwoyer, 1975 Proof Points Black and William (1998), two leading authorities on the importance of teachers maintaining a practice of on-going formative assessment, defined it as, “all those activities undertaken by teachers, and by the students in assessing themselves, which provide information to be used as feedback to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged.” Formative assessment encompasses a variety of strategies to determine student progress toward achieving specified learning goals.

Do You Check for Understanding Often Enough with Students? A few months ago, I wrote for Edutopia.org about the power of focusing on a few, high-priority standards as a strategy to improve student learning. Many other elements also need to be in play in a classroom in order to produce the results that we all want to see for our students. To name just a few: The learning environment needs to be one in which students feel respected and safe to take risks; kids need to feel that their learning has a purpose and that the curriculum is relevant to their lives; and students need feedback on their progress -- they need to know what they're trying to accomplish, where they are in relation to the goal, and what they need to do in order to get there.

Think, Pair, Share What is Think, Pair, Share? Think-Pair-Share is a strategy designed to provide students with "food for thought" on a given topics enabling them to formulate individual ideas and share these ideas with another student. It is a learning strategy developed by Lyman and associates to encourage student classroom participation. Rather than using a basic recitation method in which a teacher poses a question and one student offers a response, Think-Pair-Share encourages a high degree of pupil response and can help keep students on task.

Uses of Exit Slips Robert J. Marzano Exit slips are one of the easiest ways to obtain information about students' current levels of understanding. Effective lessons commonly end with an activity in which students reflect on their experience of the lesson.1 Over the last few years, exit slips have become a popular vehicle to this end. A Favorite Formative Assessment: The Exit Slip When we think about all the different ways we check for understanding in the classroom, a go-to strategy for many teachers has always been the exit slip or exit ticket. For this strategy, students write at the conclusion of learning, sometimes on a half-sheet of paper with sentence starters provided. It's then collected by the teacher. Why a favorite? Being that they come at the end of a lesson, unit, or segment of study, exit slips give teachers a snapshot of the overall student learning. Robert Marzano, classroom researcher and education author, recently wrote in depth about this formative assessment.

You Probably Misunderstand Feedback For Learning By Grant Wiggins Editor’s Note: The title was written by me, not Grant. ; ^ ) Who could argue with the idea that formative assessment is a good thing? Both common sense and the research make clear that more feedback and opportunities to use it enhances performance and achievement [(See Pollock (2012), Hattie (2008) and Marzano, Pickering & Pollock (2001)]; I argued this point thoroughly 14 years ago (Wiggins 1998). Yet, even Hattie acknowledges that in spite of the fact that his research long ago clearly revealed that “feedback was among the most powerful influences on achievement [Hattie (2008), p. 173] he has “struggled to understand the concept ever since.”

33 Digital Tools for Advancing Formative Assessment in the Classroom I came across a great blog post the other day – Formative Assessments Are Easier Than You Think – that told the firsthand account of a teacher, Steven Anderson, who implemented formative assessment in his classroom. He used a sticky-note version of an exit ticket to elicit evidence of student learning and in his words, “what a difference that made.” Formative assessment is ‘easier than you think’ and with all the digital tools and apps now available for mobile devices it’s even easier. We’ve shared some digital tools before and with the five tools that Steven shared combined with our earlier suggestions there are now 33 digital tools that we’ve uncovered that are free or inexpensive and help teachers implement formative assessment in their classrooms.

Every Student Response Strategies True implementation of personalized learning in schools requires a shift in the roles of educators and a shift in educator professional learning. This course examines the evolving role of teachers incorporating personalized learning experiences in the classroom. Taking a close look at what personalized learning is and isn’t, participants create resources to support teacher roles as facilitator, assessor, instructional designer, content curator, coach, and advisor, and family-school collaborator. Lessoncast believes in personalized professional learning. Several modules have assignment options. Five Steps to Create a Progressive, Student-Centered Classroom By Mark Barnes A student-centered classroom is built on autonomy and the elimination of traditional teaching practices. The student-centered classroom operates on collaboration, project-based learning, technology integration, and plenty of conversation between students and teachers about learning. Here are five steps to building a remarkable student-centered classroom. 1. Create ongoing projects.

Beyond Exit Tickets: 11 Fresh Formative Assessment Strategies Teachers who are eager to assess the development of critical content knowledge or skills during the learning experience often rely on exit tickets for quick perspective. This affords teachers the opportunity to see what learning is happening and even to what degree at a moment when they’re able to respond most effectively. Exit tickets are powerful formative assessment tools. How Do We Know When Students Are Engaged? (Updated 11/2013) Educational author and former teacher, Dr. Michael Schmoker shares in his book, Results Now, a study that found of 1,500 classrooms visited, 85 percent of them had engaged less than 50 percent of the students. In other words, only 15 percent of the classrooms had more than half of the class at least paying attention to the lesson. So, how do they know if a student is engaged? What do "engaged" students look like?

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