Assessments are an integral part of the teaching and learning process. It has been considered to be one of the effective tools through which a teacher will be able to assess the understanding of the student concerning a particular chapter, topic, unit, or subject. One cannot estimate a student’s progress without assessing the student’s qualitative and quantitative skills.
There are two different types of assessments that are conducted in the classroom. They are formative assessments and summative assessments. Before we indulge in the five smart and fast ways through which teachers and educators can perform formative assessments, let us understand the meaning of formative assessment.
What is formative assessment?
Formative assessments are those types of assessments that are taken during the process of teaching. There are a variety of methods through which teachers can check their students’ understanding, learning requirements, and academic progress during a lesson, unit, or course. The main aim of formative assessment is to gather information regarding the comprehension of the student and improve the teaching methods to make learning more effective for the students.
Formative assessments are effective enough to make the teachers comprehend the difficulty faced by the learners and whether they are able to achieve the learning standards or not. Formative assessment can thus be called an assessment for learning because the teachers make modifications in their teaching methods and cater to the students’ needs and expectations accordingly.
5 Smart way to do formative assessment
Formative assessment can be in the form of quizzes, homework, asking intentional questions, and doing group activities. Effective as they are, here are five fast and smart ways through which an educator can perform the formative assessment. When done effectively and consistently benefits both the learners and the educators constructively.
1. Analyse learner’s work
If a teacher can make a quick analysis of the learner’s different types of work that he/she submits in the process of comprehending a lesson, then the teacher will be able to work accordingly. A teacher must look into the homework given to the student, quizzes performed by the student, and also small tests that are conducted after a part of the topic has been completed. The teacher will be able to gather knowledge about the students’ knowledge of the subject, their attitude towards the topic, and their approach towards the same. The analysis will assist the teacher to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of the learners and the modifications that the teacher can do in order to enhance the learning of the students.
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2. Ask higher order thinking questions
To develop the cognitive understanding of the learners it is very important to ask questions of higher-order thinking skills. This will allow the learners to think and assess rather than just simply answer direct questions. Higher-order thinking questions include ‘how’ and ‘why’ a certain incident has occurred or a phenomenon has taken place will surely enhance the learning skills of the students.
Asking questions is a fast and smart way when it comes to conducting formative assessments. As a teacher, you should be aware of the questions that will compel your students to think critically. This will involve them in an in-depth study of the lesson or unit.
You can give the students a little time so that they can grasp the questions perfectly and answer accordingly. Asking these questions is a real quick way through which you can clearly make out whether your students can critically think for themselves thus enhancing their cognitive skills rather than just rote learning answers.
3. Group activities
After the completion of a lesson, you can involve your students in group activities. This type of activity is considered to be a fast and effective way to conduct a formative assessment. You can pair your students or divide them into groups, then ask questions related to the topic learnt. You can ask them to not only write down their answers but also discuss them with their peers. Throughout the discussion, the involvement of your students will make you acknowledge their learning capability and you will also be able to spot the learners who are actively participating and the ones who are not and modify your teaching accordingly.
Students consider this to be one of the interesting ways of performing an assessment. They will be able to assess their own performance once the discussion is over and critically evaluate themselves. Children can learn in an effective way when they assess themselves, hence this is not only a smart way to formative assessment but also an impactful one.
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4. Exit tickets
Exit tickets are an effective way to conduct formative assessments. In this type, the teacher poses a question at the end of a class and asks every student to write down their individual to write down their answer in small tickets and exit the classroom. Through this assessment, the teacher will be able to find out the comprehension level of each student.
The exit ticket makes every student’s answer confidential. This helps the teacher cater to each student personally and cater to their needs. The teacher here performs scaffolding to make the students acquire the knowledge according to their cognitive level.
5. One-minute papers
One-minute papers are an easy and smart way to do formative assessments in class. In this kind of assessment, the questions asked by the students are about the central idea of the lesson, the concept which surprised them, or any other area which they find difficult to understand. In this form of assessment, the educator can also make their student predict what might happen in the next lesson in order to gather knowledge about their understanding of the lesson.
One-minute papers are easy to conduct and are not marked by the teacher, hence no sense of competition arises and the students feel free to discuss their problems regarding the lesson.
Formative assessments should be done in a consistent and effective manner to get the best results from the students. A teacher will be able to track the performance of the students and make necessary adjustments while acting as a scaffold in their cognitive development. There are a variety of methods that you can use to do a formative assessment but the above-mentioned are the easiest and most effective ones. As an educator, one must always try and conduct such formative assessments for the learners’ growth.