Formative assessment strives to understand what students know in order to make changes in the teaching environment. In addition, formative assessment supports learning during the lesson. This type of assessment is not graded like an end-of-unit test, but rather it is used to differentiate and guide instruction during the learning process to increase student achievement.
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Question and Answer During the Lesson
Asking students questions and allowing proper time to answer during a lesson is a type of formative assessment. Asking questions during the lesson allows students to have think time, and it allows the teacher to see the progression of the lesson and whether students are learning before moving on. However, because asking and answering questions is done aloud, it is difficult at times to collect data, and time may limit the opportunity to ask every student to reply individually.
Short Tests and Quizzes
Short tests and quizzes made by the teacher or provided through supplemental materials are types of formative assessment. These small assessments are graded quickly and give teachers data about each student. Teachers can check on a daily basis whether the learning goal was met by giving students a quick quiz before leaving the room. Such evaluations are called exit cards. The teacher sorts the evaluations into stacks: students who haven't mastered the goal, students who have mastered the goal and students who have exceeded the goal. Teachers use this data to prepare for the next lesson.
Homework that varies in purpose and design is a type of formative assessment. Homework, if designed correctly, is a great assessment tool. With homework assignments, student have time to complete the required task. However, a drawback to using homework assignments is the lack of student completion. Some students may not complete an assignment, but this does not mean they don't understand the content.
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