Archive for the 'Assessment' Category



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

Clear Glasses to See Learning Gains from Technology

Almost all of   technology workshops that I have attended share the same trait. They all present the “positives” of the technology in education.  They talk about the wonders of the new technology and they show how to use it.  These workshops are rose-colored glasses workshops.   They do not talk about what might go wrong and they  do not tell how to overcome these problems. For example,  I have attended numerous workshops on 1-to-1 computing but no presenter has every talked about the problem of students surfing the web instead of doing their work.   I observed a class where students had laptops;  over 60% were  surfing or playing online  games instead of being on task. If the teacher had moved to the back of the class where he could have seen the laptop screens, he might have observed this mis-use of technology.  Likewise, if the teacher had built-in accountability such as  the students having to show him their concept maps  fifteen minutes into  the period, he  could have detected who was doing class work and who was not. Likewise, if his assignment was a challenging one that was unique to his geographical area, the students could not have copied/slightly modified already existing concept maps.

We need to move from the rose-colored glasses presentations and workshops about technology-based learning  to clear glasses presentations and workshops so that students see learning gains instead of their wasting valuable classroom learning time.

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

Close but Not Really Formative Feedback

Example A:

At the end of each class, a teacher has her students  do a cumulative task on their whiteboards. She looks over the whiteboards and then gives the whole class the  feedback  of a repeating the rule she has already said.

Formative Assessment or Not:   She does diagnose each student’s answer in a formative manner.  However, she directs her feedback to the class and not an individual.  She does not give a new strategy but only gives the same general rule such as  “remember the order” that she has previously used in class. If the students do have the answer wrong, they probably do not understand the general rule so repeating that rule does not help the students.  Saying a rule  louder or more often does not help students who do not understand the rule.

Example B:

During the class, a teacher has her students do a task on their mini-whiteboards. She looks over their answers and quickly regroups students.  Each group has a specific task to do.  Some do enrichment, some have formative feedback for their overcoming a specific gap, and others meet with the teacher for more in-depth help in overcoming the gap.  Each student gets the appropriate feedback so he/she can overcome the learning gap and move forward.

Example B shows formative assessment in action.

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

Really Effective Technology or Not?

This semester I decided to try something different in my writing class.  After giving them a pre-assessment (writing an in-class essay), I determined that this  class was at the same level as last semester’s students.  My change for this semester was that  I taught the whole semester without using a single PowerPoint.

In all the previous semesters, I have had a PowerPoint presentation  each night that had illustrations,  certain words in different colors,  many visuals, etc.   I had noticed that my night class often went to sleep when I turned down the lights and used the PowerPoint.  Even though I asked them many questions and did interactive things, the class seemed lulled.  This semester it was just me and the whiteboard with the lights on.  I did have different colored markers. I did full up the board and erase it several times during the class.   I felt that I had more eye contact (could see their reactions better)  and more interactivity with the students (could show other  strategies when they encountered a problem)  rather than being the button-pusher for the next PowerPoint Slide.

The informal results  based on this semester’s last in-class essay  compared to the previous semester’s was that this semester’s students did just as well (really slightly better)  than last semester’s students.  The lack of PowerPoint did not negatively impact the students; in fact, they did better without it.  Teacher methodology (focusing on students’ present learning status)  matters more than technology!

How do you know if technology is a truly effective tool in your class?

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

Making Final State Exam Review into Formative Assessment for Higher Scores

I was talking to a teacher who has been reviewing for the  state assessment (New York State Regents) since January. I asked what he has done. He has taken a part of the regents exam and has had students do some practice activities. When I asked how his students were doing, he responded that they seemed to be doing fine. I asked how he knew and he answered that they did all the activities.

I suggested a different approach.  He can  pre-assess each part of the regents to find out  in which parts the students presently do well and in which parts they need improvement. If all students can do a part well, then they do not need to practice it.   Then once the teacher knows which parts are areas of weakness and determines what the actual gap is, the teacher finds  a new strategy or a new way of thinking about that specific learning  goal. The students use the new strategy on practice activities.  One or more  of the practice  activities become a formative assessment to determine well they are doing. The teacher diagnoses whether students have learned the goal to the desired level or whether they need another strategy if the initial strategy has not work.  When the teacher constantly is monitoring, diagnosing, giving feedback, and allowing time for improvement, students move forward.  Students who use formative assessment in their state exams will score much higher!

How do you “review” for the big state test or the final?

Formative Assessment books by Harry Grover Tuttle

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

Aligning activities and end goal

When a  colleague was teaching a remedial English course, she was told to focus on the creative aspects of writing.   Those beginning college students needed to able to write academic  papers for college, not to write poetry and personal narratives.  They would  become good academic writers by focusing on the standard forms of academic writing  of writing such as contrast and argument papers.

Although this is an extreme example, I wonder how often teachers forget the real purpose of the students’  learning and have their students spend time doing something that does not directly lead to learning that goal.    A question to ask  is “How does this directly and efficiently lead students to being proficient in this skill?”  I remember watching a social studies class where  ninth grade students were coloring in the countries of South America, each country in different color.  The real purpose was to learn where each country was on the map but they spent about a third of the class on coloring.    Locating  countries on a map is a memorization activity so do memorization activities such as study a map with the names shown for  half the countries  and then , see a map without the names and put the names in.  Likewise, in a modern language class, students do not improve in their speaking ability by doing grammar drills. A student can be proficient in grammar but not  be a proficient speaker.  Students become more skillful in speaking as they speak more in class through structured activities.  Likewise, English students do not become better writers by just reading and answering questions about long literary essays.  When educators take students through the writing process with a focus on the specific type of writing, then these students become better writers.

So how does what your students do directly and efficiently lead them  to being proficient in a specific skill?

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

A Writing Miracle With Timed In-Class Writing

In my college writing class,  for their last graded essay, the students have been writing in-class timed essays.  We started out with just doing the pre-writing organizing, moved to writing one period and revising  the essay the next period , and finally to a one period in-class timed essay.  About 80% of the students did as well, if not better, than their usual essay writing in which they spent 2-3 weeks per essay.  Most students were shocked at the high quality they could produce in one period.   Along with the essay, they had to hand in their graphic organizer with each essay- which included not only the thesis, evidence, and details but topic sentences, transitions, synonyms,  attention getter and an extender.   They found that the more time they spent on their organizer, the quicker they could “write” their essay.  Their  “writing” consisted of taking their ideas from the organizer and writing them out in full sentences.   Some students did not finish their whole essay but with their completed graphic organizer I could see what ideas they had.  The students had improved all semester so that they could reach this point. Their constant formative assessments help them to overcome their major and minor learning gaps.

In their class evaluation, numerous students mentioned that we should do more inclass  timed organizer and writing. They felt successful!

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

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

Assess students’ academic learning, not Web 2.0 technology

I thought that we have moved beyond focusing on the technology to focusing on student academic learning.  I thought that back in the 90s.  However, I find evidence even today that technology still has become the true focus rather than student academic learning.  Whenever I look at the rubrics for an Web 2.0 tool, I see that the vast majority of rubric items focus on the “mechanics” of the technology. They do not focus  on the students’  academic learning.

My writing teachers never graded me on the mechanics of a pencil. They wanted to see if I could write something worthwhile. As I went to college, no one graded me on the mechanics of word processing; they did grade me on how I could demonstrate my content learning. Yes, I do agree that we need basic word processing skills  but those technology skills must not be confused with academic learning.

What new academic skills are students learning through Web 2.0 tools?  What new ways of thinking are they developing and how do they demonstrate those ways of thinking?  Does each Web 2.0 tool add a different dimension of learning?

Let’s demystify Web 2.0 learning by focusing on student academic learning, not on the technology!

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

Assessing Learning with Web 2.0: Social Bookmarking

I was talking to  teacher who was so proud of the social bookmarking his students had done. They had collected over 60 links about the topic they were studying. I asked him if they had agreed on what tags they were going to use; he said that they used whatever tag they wanted.  Next,  I asked him what categories they had divided the links into; he said that the 60+ links were neatly organized in one long list.  Then, I asked how much they had annotated (explained about the importance of each link); he proudly said that they listed the title of  each website. Finally, I inquired how they students used these bookmarks;  he mentioned that the activity was to collect them.  He was so excited about using the Web 2.0 tool of Social Bookmarking.

In my opinion, he wasted his students’ time. The students did not  learn about the academic topic; they learned how to collect information.  They did not know the topic in a deeper or more comprehensive nature  anymore than when  they started their social bookmarking.

Even if each student found two links about the learning topic  and compared and contrasted the information  on those two links, they would have learned so much more in a very little time.

How do you use social bookmarking?

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

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.

Assessing Web 2.0 Projects Through Bloom And Time

I offer the following mini-assessment of any Web 2.0 project as a way to refocus our attention on student learning rather than the Web 2.0 tool.

Take the highest level of Bloom achieved during the project

1- Knowledge                                  2. Comprehension

3 – Application                               4. Analysis

5.5 Synthesis                                   5.5 Evaluation

and multiple it by the number of days in the project.

So, if Susan produces a Social Studies podcast that simply restates (Comprehension) information about George Washington after five days, her score is 2 (Comprehension) x 5 (days) or 10.

If Pablo produces a Social Studies podcast in which he goes through the problem solving steps that George Washington went through and evaluates his final solution (5.5) in two days, his score would be Evaluation (5.5) x 2 = 11

Based on this analysis, a two day project of higher level thinking rates a higher score than a longer project. Let’s focus on student learning!

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.

Assessing Learning With Web 2.0: Videoconferencing

As students use Web 2.0  tools such as videoconferencing/Skype, etc. to interact with peers and experts, we need a tool to assess their learning. This digital age learning rubric focuses on expert videoconferencing.

Harry Tuttle's Web 2.0 Videoconferencing Rubric

Harry Tuttle's Web 2.0 Videoconferencing Rubric

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

Reponding to Your Students

Assessing Learning with Web 2.0: Blog/Wiki Rubric

As more and more teachers have students use blogs or wikis,  the teachers benefit from having a rubric that assesses student learning rather than the mechanics of a blog or wiki. This rubric focuses on the communication skills that students demonstrate in using a blog or wiki.

Harry G Tuttle's Web 2.0 Blog Wiki Rubric

Harry G Tuttle's Web 2.0 Blog Wiki Rubric

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

Reponding to Your Students

Assessing Learning with Web 2.0: Movie Producing/YouTube

As teachers begin to have their students produce videos and share them about learning topics, teachers can benefit from having a digital age rubric that assesses the learning and not the mechanics of producing a video. Here is a Web 2.0 rubric on producing a video that focuses on 21st century skills.

Harry G. Tuttle Web 2.0 Movie/YouTube Rubric

Harry G. Tuttle Web 2.0 Movie/YouTube Rubric

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

Reponding to Your Students

Assessing Learning with Web 2.0: Images/Visuals/Flickr

When we apply critical thinking to how we use images/photos/flickr in Web 2.0, we can assess how well our students communicate.

The following rubric applies the “Universal  Intellectual Standards” by  Linda Elder and and Richard Paul which was modified by Gerald Noisch in his Learning to Think Things Through.

Tuttle's Web 2.0 Assessment for Images
Tuttle’s Web 2.0 Assessment for Images

Assessing Learning With Web 2.0: Social Bookmarking

Teachers often have students do social bookmarking so students can share information with the teacher and other students.  Here is a rubric to assess this digital age learning.

Harry G Tuttle's Web 2.0 Social Bookmarking Rubric

Harry G Tuttle's Web 2.0 Social Bookmarking Rubric

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

Reponding to Your Students

Assessing Learning with Web 2.0: Partnership for 21st Century Assessment

As teachers look at possible projects involving Web 2.0 tools, they can pre-assess using general 21st century skills assessments.  Furthermore, they can use these general assessments during and after a learning experience.

Assessing 21st Century Skills in the Classroom Using Partnership for 21st Century concepts

Hotchalk, Jan 10 2009

http://www.hotchalk.com/mydesk/index.php/hotchalk-blog-by-dr-harry-grover-tuttle-on-teaching/538-assessing-21st-century-skills-in-the-classroom-

According to the Partnership for the 21st Century website, the 21st century skills has four major categories: Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes; Learning and Innovation skills; Information, Media and Technology Skills; and Life and Career Skills

Learning and Innovation Skills Assessment (Use 4 (weekly) -3 (every 5 weeks) -2 (every 10 weeks)-1 (once a year) -0 (does not happen) scale

Creativity and innovation skill

____ Demonstrating originality and inventiveness in work. Example: _________________________

____ Developing, implementing and communicating new ideas to others. Example: _________________________

____ Being open and responsive to new and diverse perspectives. Example: _________________________

____ Acting on creative ideas to make a tangible and useful contribution to the domain in which the innovation occurs. Example: _________________________

Critical thinking and problem solving skills

____ Exercising sound reasoning in understanding. Example: _________________________

____ Making complex choices and decisions. Example: _________________________

____ Understanding the interconnections among systems. Example: _________________________

____ Identifying and asking significant questions that clarify various points of view and lead to better solutions. Example: _________________________

____ Framing, analyzing and synthesizing information in order to solve problems and answer questions. Example: _________________________

Communication and Collaborative Work

____ Articulating thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively through speaking and writing. Example: _________________________

____ Demonstrating ability to work effectively with diverse teams. Example: _________________________

____ Exercising flexibility and willingness to be helpful in making necessary compromises to accomplish a common goal. Example: _________________________

____ Assuming shared responsibility for collaborative work. Example: _________________________

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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