Classroom techniques: Formative assessment technique number 1

Do you need to know if your students are “getting it”?

Simply asking students to raise their hands is not necessarily a good strategy to encourage. Formative assessment can be a more effective, ongoing, and minute-by-minute way to evaluate student learning.

Let’s explore some classroom techniques that engage the entire student body, helping teachers solicit evidence of student learning and understanding.

Engaging with the Popsicle Stick method

While perhaps not earth-shattering, the Popsicle Stick approach to student engagement can provide a more random selection for answers, which means that the consistent hand raiser isn’t dominating classroom discussion (and evaluation). Here’s how it works:

  • Have each student write their name on a Popsicle stick
  • Place all the sticks in a cup
  • Ask a question of the class, draw a stick from the cup, and have the student whose name is on the stick respond to the question

All-student and random response systems like this one engage the entire classroom and set an expectation that all students are worth hearing, dispel notions of favoritism and, perhaps more importantly, identify gaps in student understanding. This formative assessment strategy can give teachers the real-time, in-class assessment information they need to better adapt instruction and meet student needs.

Learn more

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

ebook

Build math confidence

Lots of kids dread math. You can help them love it. Get advice on how from our Teach. Learn. Grow. math experts in our latest ebook.

Download

Blog post

For policymakers

There’s a lot policymakers can do to support schools during COVID-19. We talked with experts Evan Stone and LaTanya Pattillo about what to focus on during SY21–22.

Read the post

Article

Improve equity with assessment

MAP® Growth™ data can help educators understand where students are in their learning after COVID-19 school closures.

Learn how

STAY UPDATED

Sign up for our newsletter and get recent blog posts—and more—delivered right to your inbox.

SIGN ME UP