We all want our students to be learning at the higher levels of thinking. However, they first have to learn lower level information. For example, Spanish students want to converse in the language but until they learn basic vocabulary and grammar such as the present tense; they cannot converse. We can change the format of class so that after we have introduced the lower level learning and have them practice it enough to know whether they understand the concept, then we can have them practice the lower level learning at home.
If we have them use an online program that “drills” them, shows them the right answer, and shows them how to get the right answer, they can immediately know how well they are doing and be given the opportunity to improve. They do not have to wait until the next day (or in terms of a college course five days or week) to find out if they can do this lower level thinking. Since the teacher has put in the program a full explanation of how to get the right answer, the students can overcome their learning gap (formative feedback aspect of formative assessment). They can redo the program to verify that they can do this lower level activity well. They feel successful. They have practiced this learning in the safety of their homes.
Then, in class, the teacher can move the students to higher levels from the lower level. For example, the Spanish students can tell what activities they do that day, can describe the various activities of their family members, and ask others what they things they do during a day.
So how do you practice lower level learning so that students know immediately if they are right or wrong and if they wrong, do they learn how to change their thinking to get right answers? How do you use formative assessment to move your students forward in their learning?
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.