Up Your Review Game – Formative Assessment Strategies

“Any questions? No? {insert cricket noise here} Okay let’s move on.” Anyone else guilty of this question and response? I would assume that if you were to ask most teachers if they formatively assess their students on a constant basis, their response would be such like, “Yes, I assess constantly throughout each class period,” but I would challenge them with, “How? What does your assessment look like? How do you adjust the trajectory of your class based off of the data collected from the formative assessment?” Because far too often our “formative assessment” is us asking our students holistically, “Does anyone have a question?” and when no one responds, we move on. The problem with this approach is that because the students don’t respond, we make the assumption that they understand the information at hand, but we gathered zero data to confirm or deny that assumption.

Why does formative assessment matter?

  • check for understanding
  • use during instruction time to adjust our teaching to meet learners where they are
  • instruction may slow down when we formatively assess because we discover (based on the data) that students need to be re-taught certain information
  • if we continue to merely focus on the summative assessment piece (essay, test, project, etc.) then we may lose the students along the way
  • failing to check for understanding that involves data collection, causes us to not be in touch with our students and their abilities

When should we be assessing?

  • before a unit
  • during a unit
  • after a unit

What are some high tech as well as low tech ways in which we can formatively assess our students in ways that truly collects data in hopes to better our lessons?

High Tech, Low Tech, and High/Low Tech Ideas

Ideas that involve high or some tech:

  • Charades Kids App (You can create your own deck with your particular vocab. words)
    • Click here for example of how a teacher uses it with her students
    • Click here for example of how Marissa Tate uses with her Chemistry students
  • Plickers
  • Kahoot
  • Quizlet Live!
  • Quizizz
  • Wheel of Fortune (Ask Charlotte how she uses this with her students)
  • Socrative
  • Nearpod
  • Flipgrid
  • Mentimeter
  • Go Formative

Ideas that involve low tech:

  • Exit ticket
    • Ask a question, students respond on piece of paper (or Padlet)
    • Thumb through at desk
    • Make three piles; get it, kind of gets it, doesn’t get it – these piles will tell you where to go next
  • Hot Seat!
    • Teacher randomly places questions taped under student seats. Throughout class randomly yell out, “Hot Seat!” Student answers question associated with the question that was taped under their seat. They earn a participation point/candy if answered correctly.
  • Easter Egg Hunt (Ask Amy about this idea she read about)
    • Hide questions in easter eggs around campus; assign kids to groups and assign groups of kids an Easter egg color; groups travel around campus and find their group color; open eggs, write down question and answer; turn in answers at end of class
      • Consider putting QR codes inside of eggs and students can scan to read question or view your recording
  • Four Corners
    • Put a list of multiple choice questions together, each having 4 answers
    • Gather students in middle of room, read each question and answers
    • Students move to corner that represents what they believe is the correct answer
  • Hand It In, Pass It Out
    • Start by posing a question with an objective answer that’s explainable in a few sentences
    • Without writing their names on the paper, have them answer the question on piece of paper
    • As they hand in the paper, quickly distribute them back to students at random
    • Explain what correct answer is, so they can grade paper they received
    • In doing so, they will improve their understanding of the topic
    • Take poll to see how many papers were right
  • Pass the Chicken – You will need to purchase a rubber chicken for this fun review game. To begin, have students sit in a circle. Randomly ask one student a review question while the rubber chicken gets passed around the circle. If the rubber chicken arrives back at the student before he/she answers they must go to the middle (the pot) of the circle. The chicken is then passed to the next person, and so on. If the next student does not get the answer correct, then ask the students in the “pot” if they know the answer. If they do, then they may get out of the pot and go back to the circle. Be sure to enlist a few safety rules, the students can tend to get rough with the rubber chicken.

When we formatively assess, it is imperative to stop, look at the data that was collected, and re-assess our plan for the rest of that class period or the next day. If the data proves that the students have mastered the information, it’s time to up your game and provide a larger challenge. If your data proves that some of the students are still confused, you may need to consider how you can work with those students in a small group to re-teach information. If the vast majority of the students have proven that they do not understand the information at hand, it is time to stop and re-teach. It’s okay to go backwards – your end assessment or goal will thank you as their products will be much more representative of their abilities.



20 Formative Assessment Examples to Try [+ Downloadable List]

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