Formative Assessment Strategies

Impact of Instant Feedback

As a 10th and 11th grade English Teacher, one thing throughout my brief four years that has become apparent is that students have become accustomed to receiving information immediately.  These students have been raised in an era of instant gratification, thanks to technology.

During the last year or so, I have become more aware of our teachers adapting their curriculum to standards based grading.  Immediately, I was interested in how I could possibly transition my lesson to be more standards based.  I saw this as an opportunity to benefit not only my teaching, but my students’ learning as well.

In an English Language Arts classroom, I knew there were some topics that would not be so simple to adjust to standards based like essay writing.  This is why I chose to begin with grammar by focusing on one skill at a time.  For example, I may begin with rules of the comma.  I spend at least a week teaching a reviewing the rules with various practice exercises.

When I feel confident we have covered the skill, I give students a “target check.”  On these target checks, I provide three questions over each rule designed to replicate ACT questions.

Once students have complete their target check, I use an app called zip-grade to quickly scan the exams and students can receive their scores immediately after completing the check.  Zip-grade is a great resource suggested to me by a science teacher who also works with standards based grading.  The data collection offered made it an invaluable tool in my classroom.

I take the data collected, review the subject with my students, and offer a target retake for my students.  When the last student finishes and their paper graded, I open zip grade on the clevertouch and the class can check their scores in comparison with the class. As a class, we look for patterns and inconsistencies in the results.   Not only is this an effective tool to track students growth, it gives students a sense of ownership.

Formative Assessment

Formative assessment is great when used effectively as an adjustment tool to align curriculum. Formative assessment becomes a living entity when students become proprietors of their education, through tracking their own progress.

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