“…attention to minute-by-minute and day-to-day formative assessment is likely to have the biggest impact on student outcomes.” (Dylan Wiliam)
Formative assessments are about checking for student understanding, minute to minute, day to day, week to week. It’s informal and THE way to guide instruction. It’s about “sometimes slowing down in order to ensure learning is happening”. It involves a mindset that says it’s O.K. to re-teach or review the content that students did not get.
The ultimate question teachers sometimes throw at students looks like this; “Are there any questions? No?, then let’s move on”. Formative assessment means the elimination of this question. It’s an easy way out for the teacher (been there, done that).
Minute to minute, day by day formative assessments are all about guiding where instruction needs to go next. As teachers give feedback to students they are also giving students tools to assess their own progress towards the learning target. In an ideal classroom, students would know what the learning target (intention) is and be open to share their need for greater understanding and not hitting the target. Rubrics are a wonderful tool for students to gauge, monitor and assess their progress as they take aim towards their target.
Formative assessment is more than a simple strategy at the close of every class period. It’s a habit that occurs daily in the classroom. It’s an art that takes constant practice to be done well. Teach students to ask questions and expect them to find the answers. Only then will they think for themselves and regulate their own understanding. They will be Engaged Learners!
The following link shares examples of Formative Assessment strategies.
How is Formative Assessment used in your classroom, school or district?