Formative Assessment at CIS

What formative assessments do you use in your class?

How did the findings answer my initial question?

The findings answered my question by indicating that teachers do use a variety of formative assessment tools for reading at our school. The survey indicated that teachers think formative assessment is very important or essential for their teaching. The survey also allowed me to understand the frequency with which teachers are using a variety of formative assessment tools.

What did I learn about literacy assessment at my school?

I learned that although teachers at my school use a variety of formative assessment tools for reading, the frequency with which they used different tools varies. The two pie graphs above show a discrepancy between teachers reported use of one tool (making observations) and another (taking notes or giving feedback to students). This leads me to question that if teachers are observing student's reading, how are they recording and feeding back the information they gather? What is unclear from this survey is what form or format do the formative assessments take? How are teachers keeping track of the data they gather and how do they feed this information back to students and into their reading instruction? This would be an interesting area to probe further into and could be beneficial for teachers if we were given an opportunity to share best practice and come to some common agreements about what tools we use and how we record and incorporate the information to promote student growth. It would also be helpful in guiding student's towards our expected curricular end points.

What does my data say about one of the big issues in literacy assessment?

The video below elaborates more on the power of formative assessment. A good program of assessment involves a combination of formative and summative assessments. However, the balance of these assessments is crucial in terms of actually helping students learn and grow versus testing them to see if they meet curriculum outcomes or not. Many educational leaders believe that formative assessment is more useful and perhaps more focus should be put on how we formatively assess in order to get the results we desire. Another bigger issue that can be considered is the role of feedback. How are assessments providing feedback to teachers and students about where students are and what they need to learn next? Formative assessments not only tell us what a student can do, but they also allow us to probe deeper into the misconceptions students may have and give teachers more information about student choices and actions. Formative assessment also includes the student in the feedback loop and allows the students to make ongoing adjustments and corrections.