Classroom techniques: Formative assessment idea number 9

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. Here they are again:

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

Formative assessment is a barometer that can be vital to making needed adjustments in teaching plans to improve student learning for all in the classroom. These are all inexpensive and easy to implement, and they can help you engage your entire class consistently.

Back to ABCs

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

Here’s how it works: 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.

ABCD Cards can be used for questions that have one answer, multiple answers, or no right or wrong answer at all.

By interspersing answers that are common misconceptions, you will be able to identify areas of student need. If you find that students tend to want to 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 you may need to write down what answer corresponds to what letter. As a result, this idea is often best suited for teaching subjects like math, versus those where opinion can (and should) form part of the answer.

Learn more

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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