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Using Formative Assessment to Check for Understanding

Posted on 10/08/2018

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Formative assessment is a practice good teachers use to continually monitor student progress, determine where student misunderstanding is, and make corrections to instruction to address the gaps students face. Formative assessment need not be quizzes and tests; there are a number of alternative assessments teachers can utilize, both simple and more involved, including those that are technology-based.

There are a few things to consider when using formative assessment activities in the classroom:

  • Observation is a key element of formative assessment, and is especially effective when coupled with recording what is observed
  • If formative assessment is new to you, start slow, gradually building up to more student involvement in the self-assessment process
  • Consider asking students directly when they are having difficulty by way of evaluative prompts

Formative assessment can be as simple as an exit ticket at the end of every class to something more complex and time-intensive such as a portfolio. The Edutopia article “Dipsticks: Efficient Ways to Check for Understanding” lists 53 activities that teachers can use, including the following with a technology component:

  • Clickers or any similar response system
  • Mind mapping, using a tool like Gliffy, Bubbl.us, or MindMup
  • Creating word clouds, using a tool like Tagxedo
  • Creating a TED Talk
  • Creating a podcast

Many of the other tools can be adapted to take advantage of the technology you and your students have available for use.

Source: Dipsticks: Efficient Ways to Check for Understanding External link opens in new window or tab