Formative Assessments are measures through which I am able to better address the needs of my students. It can be frustrating to have the kids look at me in the class and whine that they do not understand when I feel I have done everything but stand on my head to explain the material. However, I have found using formative assessments not only helps my students, but eases my own frustrations.

Assessing in a variety of ways gives the students opportunities to shine, and using the data gathered from the multiple assessments makes me a better teacher. I work to include assessments that target the learning goal while also incorporating a wide array of skills.

For instance, when checking a student’s ability to “cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text” (ELAGSE9-10RL1), I may first use a quick quiz via Socrative.com, where students answer 4-5 multiple choice questions. But, these results are only one piece of a student’s learning puzzle. If they can select the best answer from a given set but are unable to cite text evidence when responding to a short answer question, then they are not meeting their learning target.

Furthermore, I will follow up my first formative assessment with another one the following day or even in the same class period. I may tweak a concept from a highly missed question or, if everyone in the class shows proficiency, I may move on to higher depth of knowledge. Climbing the depth of knowledge ladder with my formative assessments allows me to work at the pace of my students and design my curriculum accordingly.

At the highest rungs, I may have students find various mediums, such as songs, art, movies, etc, to represent their analysis of the text and explain the conversation occurring between the pieces. Consequently, if my students are struggling with the more rudimentary skills required to master the learning target, such as gathering relevant evidence from the text, then I will not push them to climb faster than they are comfortable into an even more difficult realm of analysis.

I’ve attached three generic formative assessments for the learning target discussed above. 1_Formative Assessments