Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Favorite Formative Assessment Strategies

I'll be the first to admit the my formative assessment strategies are typically very low tech.  I'd like to incorporate more high tech options into my class, especially at the direct station.  My class is not one-to-one, but I do have a class set of laptops and many (but not all) of my students have their own smartphone or tablet.  This should make more tech integration at the direct station very doable.  However, I need to give students time to log off and put the classroom laptops away, so I'll be sticking to low tech exit tickets.

Here is what I have done in the past at each of the stations for formative assessment and what I'd like to do this year.

Warm-ups:  About half of the time, I like to do a fun warm-up such as Estimation 180, Visual Patterns, Graphing Stories, Which One Doesn't Belong, or Would you Rather.  The rest of the time, I like to use the warm-up for lagging or spiraled practice in conjunction with the exit ticket.  On those lagging review days, I will give the students one older content question as a warm-up, we will discusses it, and at the end of class, they will have a similar question for the exit ticket.

Exit tickets:  I already mentioned what I do on the lagging review days, but on the other days, I like the exit ticket to be a chance for reflection and making connections.  Here are some of my favorite prompts on these days:

One thing I learned today ...
The concept I found most challenging today ...
My biggest take away today ...
The most interesting thing I learned today ...
Something I didn't understand today ...
Write a quiz question related to something you studied today.
The most enjoyable activity that we have done recently ...
Describe how to solve a problem like one that you studied today ...
What questions do you still have about the topics you studied today?
Who made a comment or asked a question today that was helpful/insightful?  What was the comment/question?  Why did it strike you?
Make a connection from what you learned in class today to something you've learned in the past.
If you were the teacher today, what would you add to the lesson?  Why?
If you were the teacher today, what would you take out? Why?
Describe what you did in class today.
Write a simile about the topic you studied today.

I'm always looking for new prompts; please share any that you have.

Whole group instruction:  When I need to lecture, formative assessment is usually in the form of students having a chance to solve practice problems.  I use Doceri for my classroom presentations and will take a picture of student work after each practice problem.  Sometimes I'll look for a correct answer, especially if we are short on time, but I also like to look for the best/a common mistake.  Students can learn just as much, sometimes more by looking at misconceptions.

After a lecture, I might ask students to rate their understanding with something like Fist of Five.  Then when we move onto the stations, I can focus on student weaknesses during the direct station.

Independent station:  At this station, I often have students watch video notes on EdPuzzle.  I include DOK1 questions in those videos.  EdPuzzle collects the data so that I can review it later.  I often use Khan Academy here and have students complete a certain practice set.  Again, I can review the data later.

Direct station:  This is where I have some of the most variety.  Sometimes I use individuals or partners on mini whiteboards to work out sample problems.  This is typically student directed in that they request topics to practice.  I often use a Kagan strategy to focus the work at this station.

I'd like to try to incorporate more of the gamified tech based formative assessment tools here like Kahoot, Socrative, Formative, Quizzizz, Plickers, Quizlet Live, Wizer, Nearpod, or Duck Soup.  If you use any of them, and love them, please let me know.  My preferences would be a tool that allows me to create questions using an equation editor or at the very least copy and paste an image of an equation, multiple choice and free response capabilities, and the option to eliminate timed limits.

Collaborative station:  At this station, I like to use projects about once per unit and game based practice for the remainder of the time.  I love the Desmos options here (card sorts, marble slides, polygraphs).  I also try to make typical worksheets into childhood games like Old Maidcolor by numberMy Ship Sailsboard games, and puzzles.


  1. So many things I love about this post. Thank you for this list!!!

    1. Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by.