This semester I am teaching College Composition. I find that my students’ quality of work has improved drastically since I use formative assessment. In the last essay unit, the classification essay, the students spent over half of the time in formative assessment, mostly peer review. We peer review each part of the pre-writing phase, starting with a narrowed topic. Students constantly get feedback on their work according to the assessment checklists. Their feedback is not a free-for-all, write whatever you want about the students’ writing; their feedback focuses directly on the assessment checklist. They can give feedback since they know whether the person has included a certain aspect such as a classifying verb or the evidence name. I feel that they are about 90% accurate using the checklists. In fact, I look over the previous peer-assessments before I actually assess the essay. Since students have to have different students peer assess their work, they have different “eyes” to see their work. Since each student gets feedback at least eight times during the writing process, I find that when I assess their papers, I do not have to focus on the big issues (thesis, topic sentences, sufficient evidence, and detailed examples) since the reviewers already helped the person with these. Each time we spend in formative assessment is time spent in helping students be more successful. In a survey using Google forms, my students said that they made many changes (4.2 out of a five point where 5 =many many changes). Also, they said that only 2.8 times in the past had their essay been reviewed twice or more.
How do you use build in formative assessment time for student success?
My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.
Also, my book, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.