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March 27, 2015

Quick Formative Assessments

By Rhonda Stewart
Grades 3–5, 6–8

    I am still on my journey to find quick, simple, easy, and informative ways to assess both student learning and my instruction. In one my previous posts, "Using Exit Tickets as an Assessment Tool," I mentioned that I would share my experience with using quick formative assessments in the classroom.

    During the summer of 2014, I had the opportunity to attend free, professional development workshops in New York City offered by Scholastic. (If the workshops are offered again for this summer and you are able to attend, know that they are so worth the trip! An added benefit: you get to explore New York City.) During the break between workshops, I decided to browse through the Scholastic Store and happened across a teacher resource book, 25 Quick Formative Assessments for a Differentiated Classroom. It seemed like a text that would be easy to adapt to any curriculum and subject area.

    Do you ever have those moments when you think you will be able to implement a new structure in your classroom or to your instruction and then it gets put on the back burner? Well, that’s what happened with this text. The new school year started and it has not slowed down. My literacy curriculum changed ever so slightly, but the emphasis on technology increased, as did the move for my literacy department towards creating more common assessments. Trying to implement something new was definitely a challenge.

    Fast-forward to March 2015, where I am working towards using exit tickets more regularly. I remembered that I had another resource at my fingertips. I dusted off my copy of 25 Quick Formative Assessments for a Differentiated Classroom and searched for ideas to use in my classroom. The text comes with suggestions for tiered lessons for those students who need additional support, and for those students who need to be challenged. I had struck gold!

    Our current reading unit of study focuses on power, perspective, and positioning. I wanted to get an idea of how successful my students were at grasping the concept of power. I used the chapter, "Noting What I've Learned" for my assessment. I am including the directions and the template for you to use. I did make some changes to fit the curriculum that I am teaching. Based on my students' results, I am able to coach those who are struggling with identifying and explaining the concept of power in what they are reading, and to challenge those students who already "get it."

    Student Samples

     

     

     

    Before going to print, I shared this with a few of the teachers that I work with, including an ELL teacher. Once they saw that it did not take up a lot of teaching time, they were hooked. They especially liked how this activity could be used in many different ways to check in on student progress.

    For our next step, we are going to try S-O-S Summary. Students are asked to respond to a statement, explain what it means, decide whether or not they agree with the statement, and support their opinion with evidence.

     

     

    Pearls of Wisdom Evaluate your procedures and routines. Can something be tailored to fit the needs of your current classroom? Make it more fun? Can you delegate some of your daily classroom tasks to your students? Regular reassessment of your classroom habits keeps you fresh, engaged, and efficient!

    Do you have any tips on making assessing students quick and easy? I enjoy sharing ideas that make all of our lives easier!

    I am still on my journey to find quick, simple, easy, and informative ways to assess both student learning and my instruction. In one my previous posts, "Using Exit Tickets as an Assessment Tool," I mentioned that I would share my experience with using quick formative assessments in the classroom.

    During the summer of 2014, I had the opportunity to attend free, professional development workshops in New York City offered by Scholastic. (If the workshops are offered again for this summer and you are able to attend, know that they are so worth the trip! An added benefit: you get to explore New York City.) During the break between workshops, I decided to browse through the Scholastic Store and happened across a teacher resource book, 25 Quick Formative Assessments for a Differentiated Classroom. It seemed like a text that would be easy to adapt to any curriculum and subject area.

    Do you ever have those moments when you think you will be able to implement a new structure in your classroom or to your instruction and then it gets put on the back burner? Well, that’s what happened with this text. The new school year started and it has not slowed down. My literacy curriculum changed ever so slightly, but the emphasis on technology increased, as did the move for my literacy department towards creating more common assessments. Trying to implement something new was definitely a challenge.

    Fast-forward to March 2015, where I am working towards using exit tickets more regularly. I remembered that I had another resource at my fingertips. I dusted off my copy of 25 Quick Formative Assessments for a Differentiated Classroom and searched for ideas to use in my classroom. The text comes with suggestions for tiered lessons for those students who need additional support, and for those students who need to be challenged. I had struck gold!

    Our current reading unit of study focuses on power, perspective, and positioning. I wanted to get an idea of how successful my students were at grasping the concept of power. I used the chapter, "Noting What I've Learned" for my assessment. I am including the directions and the template for you to use. I did make some changes to fit the curriculum that I am teaching. Based on my students' results, I am able to coach those who are struggling with identifying and explaining the concept of power in what they are reading, and to challenge those students who already "get it."

    Student Samples

     

     

     

    Before going to print, I shared this with a few of the teachers that I work with, including an ELL teacher. Once they saw that it did not take up a lot of teaching time, they were hooked. They especially liked how this activity could be used in many different ways to check in on student progress.

    For our next step, we are going to try S-O-S Summary. Students are asked to respond to a statement, explain what it means, decide whether or not they agree with the statement, and support their opinion with evidence.

     

     

    Pearls of Wisdom Evaluate your procedures and routines. Can something be tailored to fit the needs of your current classroom? Make it more fun? Can you delegate some of your daily classroom tasks to your students? Regular reassessment of your classroom habits keeps you fresh, engaged, and efficient!

    Do you have any tips on making assessing students quick and easy? I enjoy sharing ideas that make all of our lives easier!

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