What Is a Formative Assessment? How Does It Work?

Broadly classified into summative and formative assessments, educational assessments evaluate students based on their skills, knowledge, beliefs and attitude. Unlike summative assessments, formative assessments are used to evaluate students while they are learning. In other words, formative assessment methods help teachers identify concepts that students struggle with and develop strategies to make it easier for them to comprehend.  

Continuous feedback is used in the formative assessment to improve the learning process. The purpose of formative assessments is not to distinguish students based on their activities but to identify opportunities to improve learning methods. As formative assessments gain traction, tutors are exploring effective strategies to enhance their methods. The following section outlines 10 formative assessment methods used by top CBSE affiliated schools in Chennai, like the Babaji Vidyashram School

Smart Ways To Do Formative Assessment

It can be quite challenging to conduct formative assessments since teachers must figure out what to do next. The formative assessment makes the learning process quite effective by constantly gathering feedback and enhancing learning programs. Below are a few strategies that educators use for formative assessment.

Assessing student’s work

Homework, quizzes, and tests are undeniably the best way to assess students’ knowledge and learning process. These activities allow tutors to determine a student’s current strengths, weaknesses, their current knowledge and learning styles. Teachers can use this knowledge to modify their teaching methods and create more effective lesson plans in the future.

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Entry and exit slips

This is an interesting way of testing students’ knowledge, entry and exit slips. The class can begin by reviewing the previous day’s information by writing out questions on charts or boards, also called entry slips. You can also hand out cards or papers (exit slips) to students when they leave the classroom. Have students write down the most meaningful lesson they learned that day. Engaging students with questions as they enter and leave classrooms is a fruitful formative assessment strategy. 

Conduct quizzes and polls

A quiz or a poll is the most popular way to assess your student’s knowledge. The results obtained can help you discern how much they know. Ensure that individual low scores do not affect a student’s grade and that responses are only taken to assess their knowledge. You can also conduct polls to gather quick and accurate responses and speed up assessments.

Dipstick method

You guessed it right! With this method, you can evaluate your student as easily as checking your car’s oil with a dipstick. The dipstick method involves creating visual displays of knowledge, writing a letter to a friend to explain the idea and collaborating with a partner in a shared exercise.

Interview assessment

Interview assessments provide you with a clearer picture of your student’s knowledge. An informal chat for a short duration is typically used for this discussion-based assessment. Shorter chats are more effective. TAG feedback or peer feedback work similarly. Pair students together and encourage them to share their feedback. You will gain a better understanding of both of their perspectives.

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Creative method

Use visual arts like sketching, videography or photography as assessment tools. The method allows students to demonstrate their understanding through drawing, sculpture, collage, or even by acting out their understanding. Students can also be instructed to perform concepts through dancing or acting in class.

Round robin charts

As part of this formative assessment method, charts are passed around among groups to gauge their understanding. Students are divided into groups of four to five. Each group records their understanding of the lesson on the chart. The chart is passed on to the next group when a group completes a task. A class discussion follows the chart responses.

Think-Pair-Share 

It is a simple formative assessment method in which instructors ask a question and students respond. The students are then paired into groups and are asked to discuss their responses. The tutors listen to these discussions and gain insight into their understanding.

3–2–1 Countdown

It is the best method for assessing knowledge gained. Have students write down three things they learned today. Sample questions are provided below.

  • 3 things you learned today
  • 2 lessons that amazed you
  • 1 thing you will start implementing today

Misconceptions and errors

It is sometimes best to learn a concept by understanding the errors or discussing the hardest parts of the lesson. Have your students explain the part that is confusing them or is hard for them to understand. Discuss their responses in class.

On a final note :

Consider the range of engaging formative assessment strategies listed above and use them to your advantage. However, as a tutor, you should give yourself enough time to process the assessment, regardless of the method used. Don’t use an assessment method if it does not give you a reliable or definitive result or is complicated. 

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