Monday, August 4, 2014

5 Informal Formative Assessment Strategies

Informal formative assessments are great ways for teachers to gauge student understanding at any stage of the lesson. Click here to find out why formative assessments matter. Below are some informal assessment strategies that can be employed in most classroom environments.

1. Exit slips

Questions are printed on slips of paper which students fill out at the end of the lesson. Answers to the questions along with responses on the “smile guide” (smilies = “I understand,” neutral face = “I am getting it,” frowny face = “I do not understand”) will help the teacher gauge what needs to be reviewed the next day.

2. Crowded Colosseum

An adaptation of Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down, Crowded Colosseum utilizes hand signals to help the teacher gauge where student understanding is at any point during a lesson. A thumbs down means “Have mercy!" or "I don’t understand!,” a level thumb means “I am indecisive" or "I kind of do/kind of don’t understand,” and a thumbs up means “Kill this topic and let’s move on! I understand it!”

3. Socratic Circle

Desks are arranged in two circles, one large circle with a smaller circle inside. Students are broken into four teams, with one representative from each team sitting in the inner circle. Only those team members in the inner circle are allowed to speak; all other students sit in the outer circle and actively listen and record comments/questions. The teacher gives students a question to start the discussion and then the students have free reign to take the discussion in whatever direction they wish. Students cycle into the inner circle either when their teammate tags them or when the teacher calls for a switch. This method ensures that all students are engaging with the discussion but aren’t all talking at once.

Read more about Socratic Seminars here. Or watch this video to see the Socratic Method in practice.

4. Turn and Talk

Students are given a question that they first think about on their own then turn to their partners to discuss. Once the teacher has established that each group has discussed the question enough, each group shares their conclusions with the class.

5. Quick Write

Students free write for 3-5 minutes about something they heard in the lecture or learned from the reading/video. Quick Writes give both the teacher and the students the opportunity to see where they stand at any particular moment and to see how their understanding changes over time.

Want to learn about more informal formative assessment strategies? Click here.

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Students raising hands:

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