High impact...simple strategies..

Examining formative assessment

Formative Assessment: What Do Teachers Need to Know and Do?

To many of today’s teachers, assessment is synonymous with high-stakes standardized tests. But there is an entirely different kind of assessment that can actually transform both teaching and learning.

Changing Classroom Practice

"Today's schools face unprecedented challenges in preparing students for the unpredictable demands of the future workplace. In an effort to meet these challenges, a number of policy reforms have focused on raising student achievement. Some (for example. No Child Left Behind) have depended primarily on sanctions, leaving schools and districts to find solutions for themselves. Others have involved curriculum changes, increased use of information technology, or changes in the way schools are governed or organized (for example, charter schools or high school redesign). The evidence to date is that none of these initiatives has had a large effect.

When you control for the demographics of student populations, the net impact on student achievement appears to be effectively zero (Wiliam, 2007). Thus, it's hardly surprising that there has been considerable interest in one development that does have a solid body of research showing its effect on student achievement—formative assessment."

  • Citation: Wiliam, D. (2007-2008). Changing classroom practice. Educational Leadership, 65(4), 36-41.

We have already moved to giving CCA's...

these might better be described as “early warning summative” tools rather than as tools that can be formative to instruction. Teachers can gather a lot of data.

To be valuable for instructional planning, assessment needs to be a moving picture — a video stream rather than a periodic snapshot.

Can You Teach Without Formative Assessment?

Test scores should never be a surprise. You don’t need to be a mind reader. You just need a formative assessment toolbox, and you need to use it every day!

Formative Assessment toolbox

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To tap the full potential of formative assessments, teachers must do 5 things...

Clarify and share learning intentions and criteria for success with students.

For example, some teachers share work samples completed how previous students and have current students discuss which ones are strong and which are weak, and why.

Engineer effective classroom discussions, questions, and learning tasks.

Well-planned questions can prompt students to think and provide teachers with information to adjust instruction. Teachers need to use effective questioning techniques that keep all students engaged and that gauge the understanding of the whole class instead of just selected students.

Provide feedback that moves learners forward.

Comments that address what the student needs to do to improve, linked to rubrics when appropriate, promote further learning more effectively than letter grades do,

Activate students as the owners of their own learning.

For example, have students assess their own work, using agreed on criteria for success.

Encourage students to be instructional resources for one another.

Peer assessment and feedback is often more acceptable and engaging for students than teacher feedback is.

Hattie's 8 Mindframes