8 Great Ways to Use Formative Assessment in Your Class

Formative Assessment from Teacher Created Resources

  1. Use pre-assessment formative activities before beginning a unit. Assess where your class is as a whole. Use this information to decide where to begin and to see who might need extra help, and who might be ready for advanced work. Look at each activity carefully and change or add to any idea before making copies for the class. This will ensure the assessment will work best for each situation. This is true for all types of formative assessments.
  2. Use pre-assessment formative activities to discover students who might need instruction outside the time in the regular classroom. Find time to meet with these students before starting a new unit or send home enrichment activities the student can do to help prepare him or her for the new standard.
  3. Use the formative assessment activities to help form your lesson plans. Do not spend time teaching what your students already know; use the formative assessment activities to help you see which standards need the most time.
  4. Use formative assessment as rewards. Create incentive charts for students. Give incentives or stickers to students who do well on the assessments. Have an agreed-upon reward as individual students complete their charts.
  5. Use formative assessment to gather information about your students. Find out how much your students remember from a previous year or even a previous unit to help you plan your lessons.
  6. Use formative assessment for participation grades, not completion grades. Formative assessments show the teacher what a student knows at a certain point in the lesson; summative assessments show what a student knows at the end of the instruction.
  7. Use formative assessment to gather information about the various learning styles of the students in the classroom. Use the information to help create differentiated instruction so that all the students can be successful while still adding rigor to the lesson.
  8. Use formative assessment to know when it is time to give a summative or graded assessment. Mastery of formative assessments gives the teacher a clear understanding of when to move to the next standard.

For more tips, pre-teaching activities, graphic organizers and more, see Formative Assessment. Find out how to create a helpful Formative Assessment Chart based on Marzano Scales on your whiteboard here.


Formative Assessment Based on Marzano Scales

Formative Assessment using Marzano Scales - Teacher Created Resources

Formative Assessment is critical for teachers to understand the areas their students comprehend, and the areas that need more work. It also helps students have a clear idea of learning goals. I use the Marzano Scales to check for understanding in my classroom. I decided this year that I was going to use the Marzano Scales predominately to access my students’ understanding of the weekly phonics skills.

Up until I had these Polka Dot Magetic Labels, I did frequent heart checks with my students. I would tell my students the learning goal for the week and articulate the specific target goals for each score. Then, my students would hold up 1, 2, 3, or 4 fingers to show their understanding. I created a “Showing my Understanding” anchor chart.

Marzano Scales

1 meant “I am just starting to learn this and I don’t understand it yet.”
2 meant “I am beginning to understand, but I still need a little help.”
3 meant “I understand this well and I can do it on my own.”
4 meant “I understand this so well, that I can teach it to others.”

Formative Assessment using Marzano Scale - Teacher Created Resources

This was working well, but once I saw these magnetic labels, I knew they would make the perfect formative assessment tool for monitoring learning goals and showing my students’ understanding. I paired the magnetic labels with my anchor charts and wrote a phonics goal on the whiteboard each week.

I labeled each magnet with my students’ names. After I articulate each target goal, my students place their magnet under the score that best describes their understanding ability at that moment in time. My target goals are very specific to the skill being taught, so my students know exactly where they score.

I love how the magnetic labels and anchor chart is very accessible to the children, as it allows them to move their magnet when they feel they are ready to move to the next score. The children enjoy being in charge of their learning and monitoring themselves as the week goes on. This display makes it very easy for me to help me monitor formative assessment, track my students’ progress, give extra help, if needed, and celebrate success.

Lori is the author of Teaching with Love and Laughter Blog. To see more creative learning ideas, visit Teaching with Love and Laughter. If you are looking for more formative assessment ideas, check out our formative assessment resources here.

Interactive Notebooks & Trivia Assessment

Hey all!  It’s Staci from Let’s Teach Something Blog back again. This time, I’m here to show you how I help my students anchor their learning using interactive notebooks and a trivia assessment game.

Interactive Notebooks

Creating Interactive Notebooks

Let me give you a picture of what my teaching looks like. My 2nd graders have 2 interactive notebooks: one math, one reading.  When I introduce a new skill, we always put it in our notebook to anchor our learning.  The students are encouraged to look back in their interactive notebooks if they are unsure of what a skill should look like.  It’s an amazing learning tool that I’ve just started using this year, and I love, love, love it.  I’ve been creating pages as I go, so it’s a work in progress!

Trivia Assessment

Classroom Trivia Game

We’ve become masters at creating reference material for ourselves in our notebooks…and lots of it!  I needed a formative assessment to see how my students understand concepts of these different math and reading skills.  A test of this magnitude would be very time consuming!  So, I decided we were just going to play a good ‘ol fashioned Jeopardy-style trivia game.

To create the trivia game, I used letters from Sassy Circle Letters Pack, wrote some questions on the backs of them, and hung them on my whiteboard, and the game was ready to go.  I also have some student buzzers that help identify which team rang in first.  The students love the game, and ask for it often!

Here’s a twist to the trivia game:  I sometimes put blank letters at centers before and asked the students to come up with a question and then at the end of the week, we put them altogether for a Jeopardy trivia game mash-up.  This alternative really gets the kids invested in creating QUALITY questions!  The rule:  if it’s your own question, you are not allowed to answer it!

Need more teaching tips? Here are 5 Best Practices for Teaching Math and see some great center ideas here.