April 27: Formative Assessment

6.2 Designing Student Assessments with an Emphasis on Formative Assessment. This standard emphasizes the importance of scaffolding assessments throughout a unit in order to collect data and improve student learning. The use of formative assessments is critical to the learning process as it helps the teacher to adjust lessons according to student learning and student needs. Formative assessments, both verbal and non-verbal, are used daily by the teacher to determine student progress. In my observations during internship as well as my practicum in the classroom, I have experienced formative assessments in a variety of ways. In particular, formative assessments are used as book-ends in the form of reflections at the start and end of class. In some instances, the entry task asks students to recall the learning target from the day before to connect previous learning to the current class. This not only helps to align lessons, it helps students to deepen their learning by making connections one day to the next. Exit reflections, typically in the form of an exit-slip or journal, provide students with an opportunity to share what they understood about the lesson and where they still need help as well as offer a platform for their voice in the learning process. I have used data collected in exit slips to reteach content to the entire class or to individuals the following day.

A fun and engaging formative assessment I utilize weekly is an online quiz called Kahoot. It is a multiple choice quiz which allows students to text in their answer, ranks their scores creating friendly competition, and allows the teacher to download a spreadsheet that records student answers for each question as seen in Figure 1. Kahoot is a great resource for assessing fact based knowledge, but when it comes to higher levels of thinking based on Bloom’s Taxonomy formative assessments need to allow students to analyze, evaluate, and create. Socratic seminars allow for students to discuss these types of questions and allows the teacher to assess their analytical, evaluative and creative knowledge that has been developing over the course of the unit. One of the guiding questions for my unit in World History asked students to consider who should be held responsibility for the atrocities of WWII, which they were able to discuss in a Socratic seminar. They did so by drawing on the facts that had been presented throughout the unit and by making connections to arrive at their own conclusions while also developing speaking and listening skills.

Formative assessments provide the teacher valuable information in regards to student learning and comprehension as well as how students perceive their learning. I could improve my formative assessments by using a wider array of assessments to collect data about student learning and provide more opportunities for students to self-assess. One way I could provide self-assessment opportunities to my students is by allowing them to chart their growth in their academic notebook to provide them a visual representation of what they know, what they learn, and how they grow over the course of the school  year.

Figure 1. Kahoot Results.

Figure 1. Kahoot Results.

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