Classroom Techniques: Formative Assessment Idea Number Five

Classroom Techniques:  Formative Assessment Idea Number Five

We’ve blogged quite a bit about formative assessment strategies that engage the entire classroom and provide teachers with the immediate feedback they need to adjust their lesson plans. A quick recap of these ideas:

1. The Popsicle™ Stick
2. The Exit Ticket
3. The Whiteboard
4. Corners

The next formative assessment idea is one we call Think-Pair-Share. The concept is quite simple. The teacher asks a question of the class. Each student is given time to write down their answer. Once they have their answers written down they pair-up with another student in the class, where they can discuss their answers. After they have had a chance to discuss their answers amongst themselves, they share their answers with a larger group or the rest of the class.

Teachers can circulate through the class, as students are paired in discussion, to determine comprehension of the subject matter, and with each team presenting their answer any lack of subject matter understanding will be identified. Beyond the minute-to-minute formative assessment benefits that the Think-Pair-Share technique provides, it also helps put the students at the center of their own learning. If you’ve followed our blog, you’ll know that research has shown that self-regulation of learning leads to student performance improvement.

We’ll be sharing more formative assessment strategies and ideas in coming blogs, but we’d love to hear from you. Use the Leave a Comment form below and share what formative assessment ideas you’ve tried in your district, school or classroom. If you’d like more information on how our Keeping Learning on Track program delivers formative assessment through teacher professional development, visit our website.


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Kathy Dyer

Kathy Dyer is a Sr. Curriculum Specialist for NWEA, designing and developing learning opportunities for partners and internal staff. Formerly a Professional Development Consultant for NWEA, she coached teachers and school leadership and provided professional development focused on assessment, data, and leadership. In a career that includes 20 years in the education field, she has also served as a district achievement coordinator, principal, and classroom teacher. She received her Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of Colorado Denver.

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