Checking for Understanding- Formative Assessment Techniques: Review and Analysis

Checking for Understanding Book from ASCD

I just finished reading Fisher, F. and Frey, N. (2007). Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment Techniques for Your Classroom. Alexandria,VA: ASCD.

A mini- summary of the some of the formative assessment techniques:
– Oral Language-accountability talk, non-verbal cues; value-lineup; retellings; think-pair-share; misconception analysis whip around
– Questions – non-verbal support; response cards; hand signals; audience response systems (clickers); reciprocal questioning; Socratic seminar
– Writing -Interactive writing; read-write-pair-share; summary writing; RAFT;Projects/
– Performances – Readers’ Theatre; Multi-media presentation; electronic and paper portfolios; graphic organizers; Inspiration; foldables; dioramas; public performance

I appreciate that the authors
– identified concrete ways in which teachers can assess for student understanding through the language skills of speaking, writing, and
– provided several classroom examples for each way of assessing
– included numerous rubrics and student examples
– provided much research on each topic

I felt that they
– did not stress the assessment of standards
– focused primarily on whole class assessment for understanding
– assumed that all teachers can observe for students’ misconceptions and lack of knowledge while they are teaching. As teachers are teaching, they are trying to call on students, keep track of other students, keep the topic moving toward the achievement of the goal, keep track of materials, etc. Teaching is a huge juggling act and sometimes teachers can not do everything (such as keep track of misconceptions, lack of knowledge) in a meaningful organized way while they are teaching.
– did not provide tools to help teachers keep track of their assessments of understanding
– focused primarily on the isolated classroom teacher . I would have like to have heard about team’s working together to compare their findings on their classes and teams working together

What was your reaction to the book?


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