Formative classroom assessment is the process of evaluating student learning as it takes place. Through careful observation a teacher can determine whether or not students are learning and how to adjust their teaching if need be. Unlike summative assessment, where assessment is done with a final grade at the end of learning, formative assessment is done while practice occurs.
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Complete formative assessment of student learning through observation. Move about the classroom and observe students' participation, progress and overall understanding. Clearly check for comprehension by asking students individually if they understand or have any questions. Mark in a grade book which students are on task and comprehending. This anecdotal data can be saved for conferences in the future or used to alter your teaching.
Use questioning strategies as formative assessment. This can be done through direct dialogue with individual students or the class as a whole. Another option is to have students fill out an "exit slip" writing specific responses to turn in before they are allowed to leave at the end of class. For example, you could have students respond to the learnt material by writing one thing they learnt, one thing that surprised them and one thing they still have a question about. This could also be as simple as having students write their name and a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" on a piece of paper to clarify their understanding or lack of.
Self and Peer Assessment
Use self and peer assessments to complete formative classroom assessment. Allow students to evaluate their learning by rating their understanding on a scale or through comments. Have students do the same for their peers if they are working in a group while learning a new concept. Additionally, a teacher can evaluate the effectiveness of her teaching by looking at how students assess their understanding and the understanding of their peers.
Student Record Keeping
Maintain formative assessment through ongoing student record keeping. This can be done by the teacher in a paper or computer grade book. The responsibility of record keeping can also be done by students by keeping all assignments in a specific spot such as a folder. This makes it easy to reflect on student progress and show parents or students at conferences.
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