Observing Students as Part of Formative Assessment

Varying Structure

How do you observe your students as they demonstrate a standards-based process or skill? How do you record that information so that you can compare that observation with another? How do you use that observation and subsequent ones to help the student close any learning gaps they have in the standard?

Your observations are to be factual and non-judgmental. They are to be consistent across all the observations.

These observations can be
1. Completely open ended:What did you notice about the students performing the standard-based task? Example: You observe your science students as they set up a lab.

2. Semi-structured: You base your observation on a part of a subgoal. Example: You observe if your students ask questions during small group Social Social discussion.

3. Very structured: You observe in detail for numerous very specific standards-tasks. Example: You observe if students include elements of setting, character, problem, and solution as they retell a story. You may even rate each element on a proficient to non-proficient scale.

You facilitate this observation process when you use a computer (PDA, table, laptop or even desktop) as you enter your information. Your word processed (database or spreadsheet) comments are legible. By using the “find and replace” command you can replace your codes with full statements. These records do not get lost as paper can. You can easily compare your standard-based observation on a specific student over time.

How do you facilitate the observation of students through technology?


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