Archive for the 'assessment for learning' Category

Self-Assessment as Critical Skill: Formative Assessment as a Stepping Stone

I am painfully aware that helping students to be able to self-assess is a slow task. On the other hand, I realize how critical this skill is as a lifelong skill. Unless students can self-assess, they will not be able to improve on their own. I certainly do not want my students dependent on me for the rest of their lives to make sure that they are “correct”. I want them to be able to determine for themselves what they are doing and how well it helps them to get to their desired goal. They should be empowered to make their own decisions about the things they do. They do need our help in developing from very structured self-assessments  (Right or Wrong for lower level answers) to evaluating their decisions without any given criteria. Students need to transition through this process.

Formative assessment provides a wonderful stepping stone to self-assessment. As students learn to assess others, they learn what is important about the learning, how that learning can be demonstrated, and  how to identify and implement formative feedback.  They develop the skill to objectively look at their own work. They understand  that they have the techniques to improve.  As one of my English students said, ” I’m learning to look at my own paper as I do when I peer review another student’s paper.”

How do you help your students to be able to self-assess? Do you use formative assessment as a stepping stone?

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.

Students vote to improve -Formative Assessment

I teach a freshmen college  English course. I’ve been using formative assessment throughout the course.  We do at least five very structured formative assessment peer reviews before we even write a draft (Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment).  During today’s class, we  peer reviewed a draft of their contrast essay.  I asked the class to vote whether they wanted 1)  to hand in their essays the next class which was just before  the vacation or 2) to do another  peer review  and have the essays due after Spring Break. I told them I would do whichever they wanted.  90% voted to have their essays peer-reviewed again. They wanted more formative feedback so that their writing could improve!  One student even boasted as he showed me  his peer-reviewed draft, “Look at all the ways I can do better!”

How do you use formative assessment to constantly assess students and to “instantly” help them to improve?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

“Fake” Formative Asssessment by Companies

When I do formative assessment workshops, I always include a section on what formative assessment is not.

Many school districts are buying into systems that supposedly do formative assessment.  Usually these systems test students every 4-6 weeks and often  provide a list of what skills the students have and do not have.  The programs may provide “remedial” work to help the students.    How many schools district would tell their athletic coach to wait until 4-6 weeks  to assess  the strengths and areas for growth for each player?  Coaches want their players to improve each practice.  How many school districts would tell their teachers not to assess students until every 4-6 weeks?   Classroom teachers need to be the ones to assess and help their students on a daily or weekly basis.

How many schools would want their coach to say generic statements like “work harder at passing  the ball” without giving the players better strategies for  passing the ball?  Unfortunately many systems provide just vague feedback such as “Organize  ideas”.   These systems do not offer students a choice of strategies; they simply provide one way of learning the material or do not even provide a strategy. Many systems just drill  the students.

Unfortunately, much of what “sells” for formative assessment is in fact just summative testing.

I define formative assessment as ” based on the students’ present learning condition, providing strategies so  the students can immediately begin to  achieve the desired goal”.  The classroom teacher is the heart and soul of formative assessment. Formative assessment takes place as part of the normal  classroom. It happens constantly in the classroom.  The teacher always  focuses on what the students are learning and how to help them better learn.

Here’s an article that gives some additional information.   http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/11/10/12assess.h30.html

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.

Do we help students improve?

I recently talked with a student who had taken a college remedial writing course. Each week in the course she wrote an essay on a writing prompt such as “My weekend”.  Her instructor  plastered her paper with corrections such as “Tenses!” or “Watch your grammar”.  However, this student  did not understand what the exact  tense problem was or how to correct it.   Each week she repeated the same errors. Her instructor did not review whole class errors.   This student did not learn any new pattern or formula for writing  the essays. She only did one type of essay.  She learned how to write better by asking her  friends.

Do we really help our students to improve? Do we give them meaningful formative feedback that helps them improve? Or do we leave our students sinking in their own learning laps? Do we provide them with several strategies from which to select? For example, my formative assessment book on writing, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, offers many different strategies for each phase of the writing process.  Formative assessment provides continual improvement and success for students.

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.

Improve FL Speaking Fluency With Formative Assessment

NYSAFLT  Conference Oct. 16, 2010

If we want students to be speakers of the language, then we have to let them speak more in the classroom.  Engage them in real language use.

Formative Assessment my definition: The process of helping students to immediately move forward from their present diagnosed learning to the expected learning.

Formative Assessment components:

Student does something in the language →

Is monitored →

Is diagnosed (determine present status and assess the gap between the present and expected learning; identify a strategy to improve) →

Is given formative feedback →

Has time for improvement →

Is re-assessed to show improvement →

Celebrates success

Formative assessment  create a culture of success, of constant improvement

Two Formative Assessment videos from the UK:

Secondary Assessment for Learning

Modern Foreign Languages Peer Assessment


Formative assessment advantages and concerns. You do not grade formative assessment or it becomes summative. It is critical that students be given a new strategy or a new way to think about the learning.

Success or Failure Grading?

Importance of Peer assessment. When peers assess peers, students can talk more in class and get more feedback.

Speaking Assessment: Identify the specific language function and level.

Student 1 speaks for a minute while Student 2 records number said. Student 2 reports back to Student 1 and gives additional suggestions. Student 1 practices the improvements.

Student 2 speaks on another topic  for a minute while Student 1 records number said. Student 1 reports back to Student 2 and gives additional suggestions. Student 2 practices the improvements.

Record the information on this baseline.

Students may need teacher given strategies if they do not show sufficient improvement from peer-to-peer help.  The  teacher has to have a large variety of strategies, each of which leads directly to the students’  being successful.

I have worked on 16 different speaking assessments and each one has about ten different strategies for the students.

Tuttle, H. G. (2009). Formative Assessment: Responding to Students. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.

Hopefully, my book, Improving Students Speaking Through Formative Assessment, will be out in late April. To be put on the mailing list, email me at htuttlebs@gmail.com

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.

Formative Assessment Time = Success Time

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.

Formative Assessment Class Culture

Formative assessment requires a specific culture in the classroom.

For example, I tell my students that my job is to help them constantly improve.

I remind them that in this formative assessment class, I am a coach.  I will look for what they are doing well but, more importantly, I will look for how they can improve. An athletic coach constantly watches his/her players and constantly gives suggestions for improvement.

In addition, I will only ask then to improve when they can be given a  new strategy or approach that will enable them to overcome their learning gap.

I let them know that when I call on them, I will give them feedback.  If they want to become better in the class, they will offer their answer no matter how wrong  they think their answer is. Once I hear their answer, I can help them to become better.  If they keep quiet, I cannot help them. My feedback will focus not on what they did wrong but on how to do it correctly.

I remind them that they will be constantly assessed and be constantly  given strategies. For example, in the pre-writing phase of their essays, there will be seven assessments. Each formative assessment helps ensure they are on a success track.

I tell them that we build on successes.  We do something well, then we build on that successful learning  to reach the next learning goal.  Students feel very different in a class where they know that the teacher and their fellow students are there to help them improve in their learning.

Finally, I inform them that they are expected to do well in the course since we build on and reward successes.

What is your class culture?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

Grading for Success or Failure

A critical question is whether we, as teachers, focus on grading for success or failure.

I think most of us grade for failure.

Jaime has done four science labs. In the one in Oct., he got a 20, in Dec, a 40, in Feb., a 60 and in May, an 80. His last lab score was an 80. He improved from a low 20 to an 80. So what grade do we give him? Do we total his scores (20 +40 +60 +80 = 200) and divide by the number of labs (4) to get the average of 50? Or do we give him a grade of 80?

Also, Luisa was in the same science class. Her grades were 80, 80, 80 and 80.  Her last lab was an 80.   Her average is an 80.  She showed no improvement throughout the year.

Both Luisa and Jaime ended up with the same last lab grade.  Do we reward one  student more than the other?

What does your grading reveal about your focus on success or failure?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

Dead or Alive Students?

Recently a fence between my neighbors and my house fell down. As I walked around the huge tree in the backyard near the downed fence, I noticed that the tree was rotten on the back side.  I called three tree specialists. Two said to cut it down. The third agreed it was rotten but then stated that the tree was still alive. It had healthy branches. He could trim it so that the rot would not cause the tree to come down. The tree could continue to live and grow.

I wonder how often we have  “cut down”   “rotten” students when they have failed tests,  not completed their homework, or not done in class work.   We may think, “They’ll never get it…They are always lost…They will fail… They are beyond help.”   However, if  we nurture them through formative assessment  they can overcome their “rotten” parts.   We can  use technology to provide additional resources for them that present the learning in a different manner so that they grow in their learning.

Do you view students as “dead wood” or as “thriving trees”? How does your classroom actions show this? Try formative assessment to help your students become successful learners.

My new book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

What Did I Learn From Giving the Final? What do I Do Differently?

I recently gave my Spanish final. After correcting each part, I put the grades for each part onto the final sheet and totaled up the score to get their final exam score.  However, the process for me was far from done. I then opened a spreadsheet, created a column for each category of the test and a column of student names.  I then entered the students’ grades for each part of the final and had the computer calculated the class average and the percent of that average out of a perfect score such as (class average of 22.4 out of a perfect score of 25 for a 90%).  I found out that   my students achieved a class average of  85% for speaking, 90% for listening, 76% for reading,  and 77% for culture, and a 62% for writing.  I instantly thought of  what I could do differently next semester to help the students do better. I focused in on their writing which was their lowest score.  I have decided that each week that they will write at least five sentences. I will correct their sentences more frequently (at least once a week). I realized that I have to help them understand the critical difference between the preterite and the imperfect tense since most students mixed up the two tenses in the each tense specific writing on the final.   I also thought of several strategies to improve their reading such as writing more questions for them to answer about the book “conversations”; have them practice answering questions words in class so that they are sure of the type answer. For example, the Spanish question word,  Donde,  has to be answered with a place; and have them find similar words in the question and the answer.  My goal is to increase each  of these two lowest scores so that they both are in the 85% for the next time.   I realize that I have to give my students different strategies than I gave this semester’s students. I will give formative assessments frequently to measure their growth. I look forward to the challenge and their success.

So what does your final tell you about the different strategies you might need to give your students of next year?

My  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book,  Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Moving Away from Finals to Final Improvements

I do not give finals.  I do give students an  opportunity to show me how they have improved in the course. They show that the formative assessment done on their work leads to greater achievement.

For example, in my English Composition and Research college course, students select two essays that they have written and received three formative feedback on, identify how they will make the improvements on an essay improvement sheet,  and make the improvements in the essay. As an illustration, students receive three formative feedback on their essays that focus on the most critical areas for improvement such as their lack of details to prove the essay. They either receive an example or are referred to some examples.  On their essay improvement sheet, they copy the suggestions for change and then they  show how they will change  their previous sentences to include detailed examples.  They make these revisions to their paper.   When they hand in their “final” essays, they highlight in green all the changes that they made from the  previous version. They get graded on their formative  improvements based on the previous essay.    Their “final” essay grade replaces their original essay grade.

Such a “formative assessment final” drastically changes the usual concept of a final.

So what type final do you give?

My  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book,  Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Using Writing Formative Assessments for At-Risk students

Recently I received an email from someone who had purchased my Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment.  She said that she was, at first, shocked by how I had objectified English by breaking each part of the writing process down.  She said that she had assumed that her students “knew” all the basic things about writing. However, when she began to use the book’s formative assessments for each part of the pre-writing process, she quickly found out that they did not. She  realized that they became stuck very early in the writing process and, therefore, did not move forward.  She told me that she never thought about giving students different strategies to overcome their writing gaps; she just assumed their present writing strategy was effective.  She used some of the book’s  various strategy to help them.    She commented that she could see success in her students as they used the strategy.  She ended up by saying that she was now aware of how much structure students need to be successful and how these formative assessments provided that structure.

Obviously, I felt good about her comments.  The writing formative assessments  that I included in the book were ones that I have used  in a college writing course that I teach. Some of the students in the class dropped out of school in six grade and am now working on their GED as they are taking college courses. My job is help these “at-risk” students  to go from six grade writing to college level writing in one semester.  Through the use of constant formative assessments I can guide them from where they are to where they need to be so they can  write college-level academic essays. The writing  formative assessments build in student success and  build in student confidence in their writing.

My  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book,  Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Opening Students’ Minds in Formative Assessment

I had the good fortune to present a full day  formative assessment workshop to a great group of teachers on Friday. They listened, asked questions and created their own formative assessment materials.

During the workshop, I stressed that after we have presented the information and students demonstrate that they do not “get it”, we need to either drastically paraphrase the information or give an entirely different strategy for learning it.  During the workshop, I used several metaphors

Students have a one channel TV.  Although they have the option of many different stations, they stick to one only. When they do not get any reception on that one channel, they do not switch to another way. We have the responsibility to show them how to use the other stations so that they can move forward in their formative assessment.

Students get stuck in a rut when they cannot understand what we present. That rut prevents them from moving forward. We have to help them get out of the rut by providing them with a new strategy for understanding the learning goal. That formative assessment strategy enables them to start back on their learning.

Some quotes about a closed mind or looking at a problem in only one way.

“If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”

“Our first problem is not to learn but to unlearn, to clear out some of the old assumptions (ways of thinking and doing).” G. Steinem

“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”  V Hill

“Half of being smart is knowing what you’re dumb at.”

“It is not a disgrace to start over, it is usually an opportunity.”

“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.” F Zappa

“A closed mind is like a closed book; just a block of wood”  Chinese Proverb

“A closed mind is a good thing to lose.”

How do you open your students’ minds so that they can learn the critical learning goals in your subject?

My  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book,  Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Formative assessment keeps students from getting stuck in pot holes

The more I teach and the more I observe other teachers, the more I see formative assessments as avoiding or filling in the pot holes as soon as they show up in students’ learning.  Our students can only hit so many pot holes in their learning before they get an educational flat and cannot continue.  If students do not get the help to overcome these pot holes, then they give up. The students know when they hit a pot hole but they do not know how to avoid it in the future.  If we do not give them a new strategy, then they will continue to hit the same pot hole in their learning. They will get stuck and not be able to proceed forward in their learning.  Let’s keep students on the road to learning, not stuck  in their learning gap pot holes!

Formative Assessment books by Harry Grover Tuttle

Do We Know the Students’ Exact Progress in the Learning Standards At Any Moment?

Every teacher should know at any given moment where their students stand in regard to state standards, state assessments, or even the “final”. We need to focus on our students’ learning progress and how we can help the students to improve from where they are to where we expect them to be. Waiting until the end of the year for students to take a pre-state assessment and then cramming down not-learned concepts make no sense.

When we start with the end in mind (Covey and Understanding by Design), we identify the precise learning we expect of the students and we create assessments that measure not only the end product but the many steps in their progress toward the learning. These mini-formative assessments help us to know at any moment where our students stand in terms of the end assessment. By using a technology as simple as a spreadsheet, teachers can keep track of their students’ formative assessments, give students new strategies to use to be successful, and, after much practice, re-assess the students to see growth.  Student learning is about continual growth toward the end learning.  If we want students to achieve the end learning goal, we need to constantly assess their progress and provide new strategies for success.

Do you know where your students’ exact progress right now in your course toward the state standard or assessment?

My new book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Build a real class learning community

Teachers can create a class community such as everyone knowing two things about everyone else in the class without having a learning community where students continually work together to better each other.   Likewise, teachers can have students work together (Student A does this/ student B does that….) without really collaborating (interacting and changing the individual or group’s ideas) .

I would propose using formative assessment to build a class learning community. When students continually help each other by peer-reviewing and offering new ideas to others, they  have a learning community.  For example, in pairs, the students have peer-reviewed each other’s brainstormed evidence for an English essay and the teacher has given the original authors time to make appropriate changes. Then they continue being formative by creating groups of three to four.  In turn, each author reads his/her thesis and his/her brainstormed evidence; the group has the responsibility of adding three to four new pieces of evidence to the original list. After they help the first person, they rotate through the group.  Each group has a single purpose: to help each author to have three to four new pieces of evidence.  Those groups are truly learning communities

What learning communities do you have in your class?

My new book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Show your students their success

When students receive a “C” on an assignment and then an “B” on the next, they know that their grade went up but they do not usually know why. And they probably do not know what new skill or strategy they need to move up to an “A”.

An alternative approach is to use a learning goal based checklist so that students can see the subgoals that they have mastered as a concrete measure of their success. Likewise, they see the subgoals that they have yet to master.

For example, in English, a rubric can  be turned into a checklist such as this one for an introductory paragraph

___ Has an attention getter such as a quotation, question, startling statistic, or an anecdote

___ Bridges to the thesis (Makes a connection between the “bigger” attention getter down to the level of the thesis)

___ States the thesis (For a contrast paper,  includes the two items to be contrasted and uses a contrast word or phrase)

The teacher marks each item  with a plus (proficient)   or a minus (working on).  Students can easily see what they have been successful on and what they need to improve. Students or peers can assess each others’ work with these easily defined assessment items.

My new book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Continuous Assessment

The British have used the term continuous assessment or assessment for learning for many years.  I like the term continuous assessment since it implies that students are continually being monitored and given feedback to improve. Continuous assessment differs from the “unit” test or “every five week” tests that do not provide feedback directly to the students and that do not occur on a daily or weekly basis  in the classroom. Continuous assessment changes our approach to the classroom; we spend more time observing students for their learning progress and giving them new strategies rather  than “teaching”.  We measure our success by how successful the students are as they learn  the essential goals of our course. We know that students will improve throughout the year and we reward that growth instead of counting their early attempts (such as the first essay of the year) equally with their final achievements. Their grades represent continuous improvement.  Continuous assessment returns us to our initial reason for being teachers; our students show that they now have the profound learning in our subject that we wanted to share with them.

My new book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, my book

My book, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available at

http://tinyurl.com/writingtuttle.

The book provides a systematic approach of observing students’ written work, diagnosing ( strengths and gaps and identify strategies to overcome the gaps),  giving feedback, allowing time for growth and reporting the growth within your classroom.  This formative assessment book breaks down the writing process into specific steps so that you can help the students be successful at each step.  The students build on their successes, not their failures. This book contains numerous strategies to help the students overcome each learning gap in the steps of the writing process. Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment applies theory to the classroom in a practical easy-to-do approach.  Formative assessment creates a truly student-centered class where the goal is for each student to be success in a very interactive manner of self, peer and teacher reviews.

I developed the book by using the techniques in my writing classes.  My this year’s writing students are at the same level of writing after their first essay as past students were at the end of the course!

My new book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

How Many Formative Assessments Do You Do Each Period?

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?

Harry Grover Tuttle's two formative assessment books

Your Class Calendar and Formative Assessment

Most teachers have class calendars or schedules.  I’m wondering how much formative assessment is mentioned.

I guess that middle and high school teachers formatively assess (diagnosis a student gap, give a specific strategy to overcome that strategy and re-assess for success) less than  10% of the assessment time and  do summative assessments 90% or more.

How different it would be if teachers put formative assessment in their class schedule to show that formative assessment was a regular part of learning.

An English teacher may have for the writing section of class (Pre-write topic for contrast paper and have teacher, peer or self assessment of topic, narrowed topic, thesis, brainstorm, categories of proof,  graphic organizer or other organizer).

A science teacher may have the students write  a lab report draft (Teacher, peer or self assessment of lab report essential parts via a check-list;  compare findings with other students’ reports and report differences)

When students see such assessments, they know that their work will be reviewed, strengths and gaps will be identified, and they will be given precise strategies to overcome their gap and show improvement. They see that the class will help them move forward instead of just receiving a summative  assessment of a  “D”.

Try changing your class calendar to include formative assessments and see the difference in student learning.

Harry Grover Tuttle's Two Formative Assessment Books

Change to Assessment from Grading

Very often teachers use the terms grading and assessment interchangeable. However, they are very different.

When we grade, we give a “final” score to something such as a B and an 83. Usually when students receive a grade, they know that learning that material is over; they do not have to think about improving on materials in the unit. Also, they often receive one grade on their work during the unit.  Likewise, students will likely receive a holistic grade, one grade for all the various parts of the whole work. Grades stop the learning.

On the other hand, in assessment, particularly formative assessment, students do not receive a grade on their work; they do receive a few critical suggestions for improvement. Students know that they will use  this  formative feedback to improve. In addition, they know that they will receive many assessments on this topic.  Furthermore, if  teachers use a rubric, the teacher uses an analytic rubric where the students receive indicators for many major components for their strengths and specific comments on how to  bridge the learning gap.  Formative assessment moves the student forward in the learning.

Can a student receive just assessment up to the final grade? Yes.  I teach courses in which the students are assessed every class. They do not receive a grade each class. Do they know how they doing in their learning-both their strengths and their learning gaps. Yes! Do they constantly improve throughout the course? Yes.

Try assessing instead of grading to see how much more beneficial it is to the students and to you!

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Formative Assessment and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment by Harry Grover TuttleFormative Assessment and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment by Harry Grover Tuttle

My book. Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment will be available from Eye-on-Education in the Fall.

Spoiling our Students Through Formative Assessment

My wife and I spent the week taking care of our 15 month old grandson, Rowan. We now understand what it means to spoil a grandchild.  Like other grandparents, we did not buy special toys or clothing; we did not keep him up past his bedtime; and we did not take him to special places.  We did spoil him by devoting our complete attention to him. We did not focus on working, taking care of the house, etc; we only focused on him.

Every teacher should spoil the students in their classroom.  The teachers should be so prepared for class that when class starts the teachers can focus their complete attention on the students. How are the students responding to the instruction? Which students are “getting it” and which are not?  What learning problems are emerging?  What instant strategy can be implemented right now to help the students overcome their learning gap? We need to change our perspective from what we teach to what the students are learning. We need to  become  attentive parents/guardians who constantly look for clues of learning strengths and learning gaps.  We need to be nurturing parents/guardians who can treat  any “illness” as soon as we see it.  We do not want any student to bleed out while they wait overnight for us to figure out a solution to their illness.

Let’s spoil our students so that they achieve more in-depth learning!

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Formative Assessment and RTI

According to Response Through Intervention (RTI), the most critical part of the interventions is Tier One where 80-90 percent of the students are in the regular classroom. The teacher uses baseline data, instruction, monitoring, diagnosing, and feedback with more assessments to see if students are showing growth in critical skills. Tier One is an excellent time for formative assessment.  Teachers can observe if the new strategy or modification of a strategy is making a difference in the students’ learning. The constant cycle of instruction, monitor, diagnosis, feedback and assessment in RTI is also the cycle for Formative Assessment. Tier One teachers who use formative assessment have more interventions on a regular basis in the classroom.

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Frequent Formative Assessment: Road Trip Metaphor

Recently I’ve been thinking of learning as a road trip.  Our students start out on the trip but soon they may take a road that does not lead to the  destination. In many classes, the instructors do not find out that the students have been on the wrong road until the weekly quiz or even the unit exam. Formative assessment helps to monitor students as they drive. Students do not have to take the same road (differentiation) but they do need to end up at the same destination. Formative assessments helps  identify students who have wandered off on dead-ends, have  being caught going around traffic circles, or have taken roads that lead in the opposite directions from the destination. Formative Assessment shows them how to get back on a road that leads to the destination and then monitors that they are continuing on that road. Formative Assessment can monitor when students have stopped for an extended break. Formative Assessment celebrates their success as they arrive at the destination.

How do you use Formative Assessment to help your students reach their destination?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Quality Learning in Education

Long ago when I began a new job, my superintendent suggested I go to TQM training which was being done via videoconferencing. I learned much and changed my department into one that applied TQM to increase our effectiveness while providing high quality service. Then the TQM movement was criticized for being too business like and it quietly disappeared from education.  Ironically, many of the TQM ideas and tools have been renamed into more “acceptable” terms such as “continuous quality improvement” (CQI) or “data driven”. The premise in TQM is that you identify the quality that you want and you constantly measure to see if you are obtaining that quality. If not, you change your actions to achieve that quality.  TQM builds in success structures (many graphic organizers came out of TQM).  Movements such as formative assessment can be seen as TQM applied to student success.

How have  you identify the quality of learning you want in your students? How do you build in success measures so that students reach that level of quality in their learning?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Baby Walking and Improving Student Learning

My grandson is beginning to walk. He takes about ten steps and then falls down. He crawls over to the nearest table/chair and gets up again. He does not get discouraged about failing to walk many steps. He walks some more and falls down again.

How do we help our students to not get discouraged about their failures?  Do we use the “fail forward” mentality that a failure is simply an indication that we tried something that did not work and now we can try something that can work?  A mistake is an opportunity to learn. When students see their answers and work  as work in progress, they are more willing to take chances and move forward. When we do not criticize them but help them to see how to improve, we encourage them to see failures as stepping stones as opposed to stop signs.

How do you show your students  that learning from  mistakes is a sign of growth?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Revisions and Formative Assessment

I find that if I ask students to revise their work based on my formative feedback, some of them do make the changes  and others do not.  However, if the students have to create a Change sheet, they do make the changes.  In the Change sheet, they list the original learning problem, tell what they did to improve, and include an example from their most recent work.  As I look at their revisions, I first look at the original rubric, then their Change sheet, then put their previous work and their revised work side by side. I look for the changes in their revision. I look to see if they have changed all of the items for each formative feedback. For example, if I asked a student to improve his/her topic sentences, I look to see if all the original poorly done topic sentences have changed. If students have made the revisions for the three major areas of feedback and, therefore, reached the level of proficiency or above proficiency, they receive a new higher grade.

How do you help your students to improve?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Having Students Go from Proficient to Above Proficient Through Improvements

In my Oral presentations (speech) class, I’m grading their final speeches on how much they have improved from when they originally gave the speech. They have to show me their original speech, the rubric in which I indicated their strengths and gaps, and a sheet which explains how they are overcoming their gaps. Their final (two speeches that they select from those they have done) are graded on improvement.  If they show the three  improvements, they get an A. For each learning gap that is not changed into a strength, they loose ten points.  So far students have shown drastic improvements, their speeches have gone from being below proficient or being proficient to being above proficient. They have learned to support their speeches with image-based PowerPoints that drive home their messages. When we raise the bar and prove ways for students to improve, they go over the bar!

How do you have your students improve and become above proficient?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Color Coded Rubrics For Formative Assessment

If your rubric has a limited number of concepts, you might consider using  color coding. As you assess student work, you use a certain color highlighter for each major concept in the rubric (for example, for writing, red for  thesis and topic sentences, yellow for evidence, green for details,  etc.)  When you see a strength, you use that color marker to put in a Plus(+) sign next to where you  highlight the actual strength  Likewise, you can put a minus (-) sign next to a learning gap such a sentence that is missing a  transition and indicate where the transition should be.  Since each color corresponds to your rubric, you do not have to write out the type of learning strength or gap.  You indicate the category by its color and then you can write a formative feedback comment more quickly.

A variation is to use a certain colored highlighter for above proficient (green), proficient (blue), developing yellow), and beginning (red)  levels in the student work. For example, if students write an introduction at the proficient level, you highlight it in blue. If their conclusion lacks a restatement of the thesis, does not include the categories of proof, , and does not have an extender, you highlight it in red.  Students can do a color scan of their papers to see their levels of proficiency.

Help your students to improve by adding  color to their work

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students


RSS Education with Technology

  • Tech Integration Teacher, What time is it? August 23, 2016
    When someone asks what time it is, that person wants to know the time, not the history of the clock, not how a clock works, and not what other types of clocks there are. Classroom teachers want to help their students improve their academic learning through technology. Sometimes they need help with technology so they go […]
    hgtuttle
  • Curriculum Focus, Not Technology Focus July 28, 2016
    In my public school career I have been a classroom teacher, a technology integration specialist and a technology administrator. In my technology role, I served under the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction. She had a simple mission: Improve students’ academic learning. My mission was equally simple: Improve students’ academic learning through technology […]
    hgtuttle
  • Students React to Digital Badges: Pros, Cons and Interesting June 22, 2016
      ISTE 2016 By Harry Grover Tuttle, Ed. D. College World Language Students’ Preferences Digital Badges – 52%        Paper Certificates – 48% World Language: Can-Do Digital Badges Digital Badges Pro- – Breaks down proficiency more – Shows all badges at once – Is more attractive – Is more appropriate since we use […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Naming the Badge October 29, 2015
    Once teachers have selected what learning and what digital badges (individual or category badges; see previous blog), the teachers encounter another decision. What will they name each badge? Will they use the full name of the Common Core Standard or the national proficiency? For English, under “Speaking and Listening,”will they write out SL.2 “Integrate and […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Better Than Grades? October 19, 2015
    Teachers understand that the grade in a course consists of many different factors such as homework, participation , projects, tests, etc. Blodget observes that sometimes grades reflect attitude, effort, ability and behavior (http://www.academia.edu/9074119/Grading_and_Whether_or_not_Grades_Accurately_Reflect_Student_Achievement). Equally important, a letter […]
    hgtuttle
  • World Language Students Use of Mobile Devices in the Classroom October 5, 2015
    Do world language students use technology n the classroom? Do their  teachers go beyond having their students use technology simply for the drill and practice in vocabulary and grammar? Students can use laptops and mobile devices to hear authentic language, read authentic texts, read tweets about famous performers, see up-to-the-moment culture,  watch video […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Individual or Categorized Learning Badges? September 12, 2015
    The idea of digital badges sounds appealing for the digital children in classes. As teachers start thinking about digital badges, they have to figure out what badges will be awarded. The teachers can award social or academic badges. If teachers decide to use academic badges, then the teachers may base their badges on the Common […]
    hgtuttle
  • English +Common Core +Mobile = Success (ISTE2014 Poster -details) June 30, 2014
    Here are the ten examples I showed at my English + Common Core  + Mobile ISTE 2014 Poster Session: Based on CCSS Anchor Statements: L.2 Take a Conventions Mobile Online Quiz  to pick the  incorrect sentence from four choices (capitalization) SL.2  Evaluate audio recording of a  book chapter on mobile and predict for next chapter. […]
    hgtuttle
  • Global Cultural Learning Using Mobile Devices (ISTE Mobile MegaShare Presentation) June 28, 2014
    Based on my presentation at ISTE 2014 Mobile Megashare Why teach about other countries? Location: Large view to small on maps. Culture or culture. Find six similarities in a  mobile picture from another culture (“Wars are caused by differences, not similarities.”-Tuttle.) Tell one piece of information from each different Internet visual from a place in that […]
    hgtuttle
  • English + Common Core + Mobile = Success in Learning Poster Session at ISTE 2014 June 25, 2014
    In my ISTE Sunday 8-10 am poster session, I demonstrate many diverse mobile activities to help students achieve the English Language Arts Common Core Anchor Statements through mobile devices. The mobile activities focus on free common tool apps that are available on both the Android and the iPad. The students use the apps as a seamless […]
    hgtuttle

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