Classroom techniques: Formative assessment idea number 6

Over the last several months, we’ve touched on many areas of formative assessment, including some techniques and ideas that can be used in the classroom at little or no cost. All these formative assessment ideas are designed to elicit evidence of student learning so teachers can adjust their plan to better teach students, and engage the entire classroom and involve all students in their own learning.

Our blog posts have touched on the following formative assessment ideas so far:

1. The Popsicle Stick
2. The Exit Ticket
3. The Whiteboard
4. Corners
5. Think-Pair-Share

This next idea is most often referred to as Two Stars and a Wish. As Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam’s research showed in 1998, feedback strategies raise the standards of student performance, and Two Stars and a Wish is designed to provide student feedback via peer- and self-assessment.

How it works

In short, Two Stars and a Wish solicits two stars—areas where the student’s work excelled—and one Wish—an area where there can be some level of improvement. It can be administered in several ways, and ideally all three methods are used over time:

  • Review an anonymous piece of work with the entire class and have all students provide feedback
  • Break the class into pairs and have them review each other’s work
  • Have each student assess their own work

Two Stars and a Wish helps activate students and empower them as owners of their learning, and research suggests that self-regulation of learning leads to student performance improvement.

Get more formative assessment tips and tricks in our e-book “Making it work: How formative assessment can supercharge your practice.”


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