The only way to know how well the students are doing is for constant formative assessments or check-ins. If we do monitor students’ progress, then we have to have strategies ready to help the students who are progressing. I suggest that we should do three or more formative assessments each period. At present I teach a Composition and Research course at a college and, specifically, we are doing classification essays. Students self-check to see if for their chosen topic, they have three classifications and that those classifications do not overlap. They see or hear several examples of classifications that do or do not overlap. They have time to make changes. Then peers look their papers to see if they have three classifications and if there is any doubt that two classifications may be too similar. The peers circle the two classifications that seem similar and put a question mark next to them. The peers talk to the writers to explain what they perceive as the overlap. The students have time to make changes. At the same time, I walk around and comment on any students’ paper that is lacking three classifications or that seems to have overlaps. I suggests ways to avoid the overlap such as changing the classification name to be more general such as “music” to “entertainment” or ways of narrowing the classification from “fast cars” to “sports cars”.
During each class the students self-assess themselves, peer assess, and I assess at least three times each class. Every class every student becomes successful; no students get stuck in their learning gap.
How often do you have formative assessments in your class?