Archive for October, 2011

A couple questions to consider as you begin to analyze your course:

1) What is the goal of this course?

2) What objectives/skills would I like students to master by the end of this course?

3) How can I best coach/support them in this process?

Before going further, one must really consider the following question:

“Does the “number” that my students receive on their report card really reflect their progress in my goals for them? “

Once you have an idea of what your students should get out of your class and what their grade should represent, you will have an idea of how to formatively assess their progress and summatively assess their learning.

Formative Assessment: gathering information from the student as they learn in order to track their progress. This serves as information for teacher, student, and oftentimes, parent as well. Learning and instruction can be altered based on this information.

Summative Assessment: a tool used by teachers to assess what students learned. If this is the first time you are assessing them on certain information, it is not actually a summative assessment, but instead, formative. Make sure you understand that distinction. Ideally, students should be well prepared for a summative assessment, and they should have an idea of what they will be assessed on as well. “Tricks” or “surprises” on these serve a different purpose, so watch out for that.

Formative Assessment Examples:

Quia Quizzes

Google Doc Forms


Exit Ticket

Take 5:

—On a sticky note/index card as you walk out the door:
—5 facts from the meeting today
—4 tools of formative assessment you would like to use
—3 questions you still have about assessment
—2 types of assessment you currently use
—1 thing you plan to change in your classroom this week

White boards

Circle, Triangle, Square:


1.What are THREE points you remember from the notes

2.What is still CIRCLING in your mind?

3.What SQUARES with your prior knowledge?

Statements vs. Questions:

Are all sources of water safe for drinking? vs. Filtered water is safer to drink than tap water.

Fishbowl discussion

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Blue Harvest Feedback

Today’s Meet

Homework (!)


  • Try to incorporate at least 1-2 formative assessments into your class each week.
  • Consider what you are grading and what you are simply using as information. For ex, if you graded their last quiz, was it really formative assessment since it will be represented in their average?
  • Communicate more with your students. Give them feedback as much as possible, both written or in person.
  • Think of yourself as “coach” rather than “teacher” and how that role changes when you change the name.
Additional Resources:

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