27 Easy Formative Assessment Strategies for Gathering Evidence of Student Learning

27 Easy Formative Assessment Strategies for Gathering Evidence of Student Learning - TLG-IMG-01172019A few years ago, I came across Terry Heick’s blog – 10 Assessments You Can Perform In 90 Seconds – at TeachThought and really enjoyed the formative assessment strategies he outlined. Using formative assessment strategies in class during instruction – or “simple assessments,” as Terry calls them – is easy and provides the instant feedback teachers need to identify which learners need more help, and then adjust their instruction and lesson plans to offer that help.

Visit Terry’s blog above to get more detail on the following ten formative assessment techniques:

  1. New Clothes
  2. Do’s and Don’ts
  3. Three Most Common Misunderstandings
  4. Yes/No Chart
  5. Three Questions
  6. Explain What Matters
  7. Big Picture
  8. Venn Diagram
  9. Draw It
  10. Self-Directed Response

Combining Terry’s ten with the ten we’ve blogged about in the past gives teachers 20 great formative assessment strategies for checking on student learning. Be sure to click on the links and visit the blog posts to learn more about these formative assessment strategies.

  1. The Popsicle™ Stick – think of these as Opportunity sticks
  2. The Exit Ticket
  3. The Whiteboard
  4. Corners
  5. Think-Pair-Share
  6. Two Stars and a Wish
  7. Carrousel Brainstorming
  8. Jigsaw
  9. ABCD Cards
  10. Basketball Discussions

Here are seven more strategies you can use to elicit evidence of student learning.

  1. Entrance Tickets – We’ve blogged about and explained The Exit Ticket, so why not have an Entrance Ticket? Here, the teacher asks a question at the start of a lesson, and students write their responses on index cards or strips of paper. She uses them to assess initial understanding of something to be discussed in that day’s lesson or as a short summary of understanding of the previous day’s lesson. The teacher designs the lesson around the fact that information on student learning will be coming in at the start of the lesson and can be used to improve the teaching and learning in that lesson. She designs the question, so it is easily interpreted and analyzed, allows time for herself and/or the students to analyze the responses, and adjusts the lesson accordingly (if needed).
  2. Keep the Question Going – With this formative assessment strategy, the teacher asks one student a question and then asks another student if that answer seems reasonable or correct. Then, he asks a third student for an explanation of why there is an agreement or not. This helps keep all the students engaged because they must be prepared to either agree or disagree with the answers given and provide explanations.
  3. 30-Second Share: Many students take a turn to report something learned in the lesson for up to 30 seconds each. Connections to the learning targets or success criteria are what the teacher is looking for in the language used by the student. Make this a routine at the end of a lesson so that all students have the opportunity to participate, share insights, and clarify what was learned.
  4. Parking Lot: This is an underused strategy for students and one that can surface questions before the learning, as well as during and after. This tool also offers an anonymous place for questions that may be directly related to the content or tangential to the current topic and provide insight into student thinking.
  5. Tweet: 27 Easy #FormativeAssessment Strategies for Gathering Evidence of Student Learning https://ctt.ec/c_5EU+ #edchat #educationOne-Minute Paper: This might be considered a type of exit ticket as it is typically done near the end of the day. Students, either individually or with a partner, are asked to respond in writing to a single prompt. Typical prompts include:
  • Most important learning from the day
  • Most surprising concept
  • Most confusing topic and why
  • Identify something you think might appear on a test or quiz
  1. 3-2-1; At the end of the learning, this strategy provides students a way to summarize or even question what they just learned. Three prompts are provided for students to respond to:
  • 3 things you didn’t know before
  • 2 things that surprised you about the topic
  • 1 thing you want to start doing with what you’ve learned
  1. Assessment Reflection: This post-assessment reflection is completed first by the individual student and then shared in a small group. The teacher provides a list of questions, so learners can reflect on their assessment experience. The questions provide insight into both learning (the content) and learning tactics. Download this strategy .

All 27 formative assessment strategies are simple to administer and free or inexpensive to use. They provide the teacher with the evidence of student learning needed to make lesson plan adjustments and keep learning on target and moving forward. They also provide valuable information for the students, so they can adjust their learning tactics and know where to focus their energies.

Do you have a favorite? What have you tried and how did it work? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter at @kdyer13.