Classroom Techniques: Formative Assessment Idea Number Nine


Classroom Techniques:  Formative Assessment Idea Number NineSo far we’ve touched on eight formative assessment ideas that can help teachers elicit evidence of student learning in the here and now. This barometer can be vital to making needed adjustments in teaching plans to improve student learning for all in the classroom. These formative assessment ideas are all inexpensive and easy to implement, and engage the entire class consistently. While no one idea will work for all teachers or all students, we hope there’s one that works for you and your classroom.

So far, our blogs have touched on the following formative assessment ideas:

1. The Popsicle™ Stick
2. The Exit Ticket
3. The Whiteboard
4. Corners
5. Think-Pair-Share
6. Two Stars and a Wish
7. Carrousel Brainstorming
8. Jigsaw

Our latest formative assessment idea is called ABCD Cards. While students can use the thumbs up or down technique to provide answers with one answer, the ABCD Cards can be used for questions that have one answer, multiple answers, or no right or wrong answer at all.

Each student is given a set of cards. When there’s a question or problem posed, they can signal the correct answer by holding up the appropriate card. By interspersing answers that are common misconceptions, the teacher will also be able to identify areas of student need. If you find that students tend to want see what other classmates are raising as a letter before answering on their own, you can employ other formative assessment techniques, like randomly selecting a Popsicle™ Stick and having that student help provide the correct answer.

This formative assessment idea does require a limited set of answers, and the teacher may need to write down what answer corresponds to what letter. As a result this idea is often best suited for teaching subject matter like math, versus something where opinion can (and should) form part of the answer.

How are you using formative assessment in your classroom or school? We’d love to hear from you so drop a comment below.

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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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