The Educator's PLN

The personal learning network for educators

Teachers around the U.S. are struggling with just how to create common formative assessments. Of course, it's a lot more complicated than just coming up with a little quiz or thinking up an exit ticket at the end of class. A lot of the work deals with meetings within our department. We get together to discuss the scope and sequence of what we teach. Then we have to generate the actual assessment.

Once the assessment is deployed, of course it has to be analysed. We once again have to get together with our department to figure out how our students are doing compared to the students of Mr. Smith down the hall, for example. If my students didn't do as well, I need to figure out what Mr. Smith does better so that my students learn more.

Typically this kind of work leads to improved education. Its extremely valuable. You've got to admit, though- this is a whole lot of work.

Technology can make common formative assessment far easier and often more productive. Let's start by looking at the creation. To make any assessment common requires collaboration on a single file and there are some great online tools to make that happen.



Google docs: This tool provides teachers a way to work on the same document at the same time online. When a group works together on a single document, everyone can see what everyone else is typing, teachers can ask questions of each other or make comments in a side bar as the assessment is being created. On the other hand, if everyone just wants to work on the document when they have time, that's fine as well. 

Edmodo: This is a safe, secure social network for teachers and students. Individuals in a  department can post questions as status updates. Other teachers can then make comments on those questions or suggest modifications. These conversations would be restricted to the department. No one else in the world would be allowed to see these interactions without explicit permission.

Skydrive: For those of you who work in an exclusively Microsoft world, this is your best bet. Much like Google, Skydrive is a way of working on Word, Excel and Powerpoint projects collaboratively.  Your team may want Skydrive instead because formating does not carry over well. While Google docs is probably the best and most reliable cloud storage to date, converting documents to their format can be a real pain.

Now that you've all decided on the nature of the assessment, its time to present it to the students. There are several digital tools that can help you with that.


Clicker technology (eInstruction and Promethean)- This is probably one of the fastest and most useful tools available for conducting formative assessments. There are a two main reasons. First, students usually enjoy it. You don't have to worry about them just putting in an answer because the reward for getting the right answer is "winning". Students who are all voting simultaneously get to be part of the group that got it right whereas those who do self paced tests get to win at what is in many ways a video game. Second, the data is stored immediately and can be analysed in useful ways.

Online quizzes: (Edmodo, Openclass, others)- There are numerous free sites which allow teachers to create sophisticated quizzes for students to take online. The advantage here is that students can use any internet ready device. The big disadvantage is that these devices are often more difficult to come by (you have to check out the laptops or the iPods for example).

Soapbox: This is a great site for gaging the engagement of a class or giving quick quizes. Since there is no way to tie results to any one student, however, it serves as more of a "quick and dirty" digital assessment of a whole class. Soapbox works best if the students are already using laptops for your lesson.

When the data is collected, it's time to get the department together again to go over results. Instead of forcing everyone to gather in the same place at the same time, you could go back to the collaboration tools I mentioned above. These tools make it easy for teachers to add comments next to each question in the assessment noting the percentage of students who got the question right. They could also mention useful strategies for teaching that concept.

If you still want some face to face interaction but your having a hard time getting everyone together in the same place, consider Google Plus. This social network allows you to hold video conferences at the same time you work on a Google doc. So you can see and speak to one another while writing on the same document.

Common formative assessments hold so much power to improve learning. The digital tools I've mentioned here can make the creation, deployment and analysis of those assessments far easier than ever before.

Views: 600

Comment

You need to be a member of The Educator's PLN to add comments!

Join The Educator's PLN

Comment by Benjamin Darr on February 10, 2012 at 3:49pm

I'd say that formative assessments should never, ever be graded. Just as you don't penalize a student for "failing" a formative assessment, you wouldn't "reward" them for success. Formative assessments are really about the teacher, not the student. They just guide our instruction. 

Comment by Courtney L Belolan on February 10, 2012 at 1:15pm

These are some great tools for creating formative assessments!  I've used Google Docs to create pre-assessments of vocabulary words. 

We've been having some big discussions around assessment, and what exactly is 'formative' or 'summative' assessment.  Assessment is assessment is assessment.  What makes it either formative or summative is how/why the data from the assessment is used.  I'm actually working facilitating such a discussion with my school's leadership team.  I've created this tool to help us get started, I'm thinking of calling it "The Teaching and Learning Mobius."

It makes sens to collaborate with colleagues in order to create assessments of learning targets.... but how do you know before you give that assessment that it will be formative or summative?  If a student nails the target on the head in the "formative" assessment, shouldn't they be given the credit for meeting and move on in their learning? 

About

Thomas Whitby created this Ning Network.

Latest Activity

yahaya Abdullahi shared George Danke's discussion on Facebook
Wednesday
Christine Hinkley updated an event

OLC Innovate 2020 at Sheraton Grand Chicago

March 31, 2020 to April 3, 2020
Together we will build new foundations for stronger, better higher education environments. And because innovation scales best when ideas are shared, our work sessions will explore digital technologies and adapted teaching behaviors aimed at informing policy, inspiring leadership, and evolving practice at all levels impacting institutions, universities and colleges.CALL FOR PROPOSALS OPEN UNTIL SEPTEMBER 30, 2019. LEARN MORE:…See More
Tuesday
yahaya Abdullahi liked George Danke's discussion Integration with The Latest Technology in Education Field
Aug 28
yahaya Abdullahi posted a status
"still working on the integration of ICT in teaching Biology"
Aug 28
Christine Hinkley posted an event

OLC Innovate 2020 at Sheraton Grand Chicago

March 31, 2020 to April 3, 2020
Together we will build new foundations for stronger, better higher education environments. And because innovation scales best when ideas are shared, our work sessions will explore digital technologies and adapted teaching behaviors aimed at informing policy, inspiring leadership, and evolving practice at all levels impacting institutions, universities and colleges.CALL FOR PROPOSALS OPEN UNTIL SEPTEMBER 30, 2019. LEARN MORE:…See More
Aug 19
George Danke posted a discussion

Integration with The Latest Technology in Education Field

It is with certainty that we can say that the future of education is looking very bright. Today the kids are taught so many new innovations that we adults couldn't have imagined learning at school. They are also given exposure to more practical lessons. Integration with the latest technology and the accessibility to global platforms have made the industry take a whole new perspective towards imparting knowledge to students. Though the current generation is much advanced and keep up with the…See More
Jul 25
George Danke replied to Nanacy Lin's discussion Future Of Education
"Hi! I think that exactly AI will have a great impact on feature of Education. Technologies are rapidly developing and soon there will be tools with the help of which the learning process will be faster and more efficient."
Jul 24
George Danke replied to Shanshan Ma's discussion Personalized learning network and social media
"Hi! I agree that this platform it is a nice place for educators.  However, you can find people and education groups in such social medias as Facebook and Twitter which also can help you to find some useful information.  So, I can not…"
Jul 24

© 2019   Created by Thomas Whitby.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service