Posts Tagged 'Assessment'

Digital Badges: Naming the Badge

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 evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally” as the badge name? Will they use an abbreviated word name such as “eval media”? Or will the teachers use a number code such as SL2 or SL2media? Teachers may enter the full badge name in a badge program but how long will the actual name be when displayed on the screen with other badge names? For example, if a badge program lists all the badge names going across the screen, then each badge name may only show the first seven characters. Are the students familar enough with the abbreviated standard or proficiency name that they recognize it and know what it means when they see it? If the students cannot recognize the name of the badge learning, then the badge program is not effective for them.

Each badge name needs to be unique. If more than one standard or proficiency addresses the same or very similar topic, then the badge names have to distinguish between the two. In the NCSSFL-ACTFL (Modern Language) proficiencies, a Novice Low proficiency states “I can introduce myself to someone. I can tell someone my name.” while a Novice Mid proficiency states “I can introduce myself and provide some basic personal information.” Teachers will name each badge so that the difference is obvious to the students

What digital badge names will you use?

Digital Badges: Better Than Grades?

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 grade does not mean the same thing among grade level teachers. Does an “A” in Mrs. Brown’s 7th grade English class in Roxo Middle School equal an “A” in Mr. Cooper’s 7th grade English class in the same school? (tuttle, https://eduwithtechn.wordpress.com/2007/02/09/classroom-grades-dont-reflect-student-learning/)

The final grade in a course or even a ten week grade probably does not reflect the actual academic learning.These grades may not reflect the academic standards (Common Core, standards or proficiencies) for that course.

Badges allow teachers to focus specifically on student standards or proficiencies. A writing teacher may want badges to represent the various phases in the writing process. For example, a teacher might award an “idea generation” badge that indicates that the students can use at least two different brainstorming techniques to generate ideas for their writing. An “organizer” badge reflects that the students can use a graphic organizer or chart to plan out their writing. A “topic sentence” badge indicates that the student can consistently (three body paragraphs in the same essay) use topic sentences that introduce the purpose of the paragraph. An “Introductory paragraph” badge will demonstrate that the student can successfully write an introductory paragraph for two essays. A “revision” badge can show that the students can improve their writing by revising their own writing based on their own analysis and  incorporating the formative comments of teachers or peers.

These writing badges represent specific writing proficiencies. Most students in their writing career have probably just obtained a letter gade on their writing which does not identify their strengthens. They probably have not received an overall writing grade. Their teachers may not have indicated the students’ growth over time in writing. However, badges quickly identify the students’ writing proficiencies and to-be-developed proficiencies.

Do you use grades or badges to measure your students’ progress on the standards or proficiencies?

Three books of interest:

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment
English Common Core Mobile Activities ebook
Formative Assessment: Responding to your Students

 

Assessment and Mobile Learning Questions

Technology can play a critical role in the learning process.  Here are some questions about assessment and mobile learning to think about as you plan for your mobile learning.

Who/ What  will assess the students’ mobile learning?
A) the same mobile app that the student worked on
B) a  different mobile app
C)  the teacher corrects a paper and pencil quiz
D)  an online  program evaluates learning
E) the teacher assesses the students’ paper, presentation or project that incorporates learning from the mobile device
F) some one in the class, school,  or another school assesses the learning.
G) some one outside the school, from the community, an organization, etc. assesses the learning.
H) the students self-evaluate and reflect on how to improve

Will the assessment be?
A) summative ( a final grade)
B) formative with  specific feedback and an opportunity for improvement

My ebook, 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.

My three formative assessment books, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, are available at   http://is.gd/tbook

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml.  I have developed 27  Spanish activities and 4 Modern Language Visual activities in which students begin to express themselves in the modern language and to  move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Academic Online Poll/Survey Guidelines to Improve Student Learning

Many teachers have begun to use online polling or survey tools in their classroom.  The clicker movement has become transformed into a multitude of  e-polling  tools such as those described in Web 2.0 Survey and Polling Tools.

Some general guidelines for a learning poll in a classroom.

1) Decide on the purpose of the poll.  Is it a pre-assessment, in-progress assessment, or a final assessment?

2) Focus the poll on a single  specific learning concept.  Do not do a poll on all Spanish foods  but on  the subcategory of  breakfast foods.  Avoid sampling polls that cover many different learning concepts.

3) Ask critical essential  material.  Go for the truly important learning , instead of the trivial learning.  It is more important to know what type poetry a poet wrote rather than how many husbands she had.

4) Ask higher level questions  Which of the following  sentences uses an analogy?  or

5) Keep the wording  simple. Avoid negative questions.  Avoid long  questions or statements. Avoid long multi-line possible answers.  Although open-ended questions often allow the students more flexible in how they answer the question, these open-ended answers are hard to analyze for overall class performance.

6) Keep the poll to 10 or fewer questions.  Make it a quick poll to take.

7)  Decide whether to give the poll as homework or in-class.  If done in-class, is it a review of yesterday (or the past few days)?  Is a poll given after  in-class instruction and some practice?  Decide when it  fits in the lesson to give you the best picture of students’ learning?

8) Decide if the poll is anonymous or whether the students identify themselves.  If students identify themselves, then you can keep track of their progress.   If students identify themselves, make sure your poll program can store the data.  Some poll programs have polls that disappear after a certain amount of time. Does the program allow you to manipulate the data such as sorting or ranking?

9) Decide if you will share the class results with the class or whether you will be the only one to look at the data.  If you share the results with the class, does the poll program produce an overall graph with no names or identification of individual students?  For example, the poll may show a graph of how many A,  B, C, and D answers there were for an individual question and  highlight the correct answer.

10)  If you are using the poll for class improvement, do you  provide new strategies for students to overcome the learning gaps shown in the poll? If  you explain the “wrong” answer in the same way that you have previously explained it, then students who are presently confused will still be confused.  Do you have a new different strategy for students to learn the material?  How soon after giving the poll will you give the new strategy? (Research says the sooner, the more effective.)  Do you have students practice the new approach?

11) If at least 20% of the students do poorly (below 80%) on the  poll,  do y0u re-poll students within a few days to see if they have overcome their learning gaps? Can they show that they are proficient?

12) Decide if your next online poll will be this subcategory of the learning goal at a higher learning level, another subcategory of this learning goal, or a new learning goal.  Hopefully, students will see the polls as a logical progression of their learning.

How do you use polls in your class?

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml

I have developed many  Spanish activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Problems with Institutional Assessment

Assessment dominates education from K-12 through college.   There are different types of assessment, formative (helps students improve) and summative (grading of students).  However, institutional assessment  involves the bigger picture of how an institution or a department is doing academically.

In institutional assessment, teachers enter data into a  mega-database. For example, teachers may enter their students’ grades  on each section of the final. Then someone, often a department head,  analyzes the overall results using the online data, to assess the student learning across specific courses and across the department.

Institutional assessment has some basic flows
1) Most institutions have not identified a specific  enough curriculum that can be assessed.  Many contain very general statements of learning.  For example, English might state that  students will write a well-written essay. Has the English department specified what constitutes a well-written essay?  Likewise, a Modern language department may have the curriculum statement  “The student should speak in sentences that have relatively simple structures and concrete vocabulary”.  What does “speak” mean?  Does it mean to be able to talk about one’s life, to hold a conversation. to repeat from memory?  When there are only general  learning statements, there cannot be any  meaningful assessment.

2) If departments have identified specific learning goals, what is the priority of those learning goals? For example, in English the purpose of writing is to communicate ideas or feelings.  Shouldn’t the organization of ideas be more important than the spelling?  Or does spelling/grammar have the same assessment weight as organization?  Likewise,  in  Modern Languages, are all skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) treated equally in assessment weighting even though both in class and in the real world, people listen and speak almost double the amount that they read and write?  Have the specific learning goals and their priority been communicated to the teachers/students through a department website/wiki?

3) The departments do not have exemplars that show the quality that they expect of students.  Does the English department share  electronically with all English teachers essays that show what constitutes a high level paper,  an acceptable paper, and a non-acceptable paper?  Again, are these exemplars on the department website for each course?  Does the Modern Language department share audio files of  a good ten sentence conversation through their website or an their department app?

4) They have vague assessment tools.  The English department has a generic rubric (has good organization,  conveys ideas, etc.) that can be interpreted differently by different people.   What type of essay will be the written? An autobiographical essay requires a very different approach than a contrast essay.  In Modern Languages, how will writing be assessed – holistically or analytically?  If different educators can come up with different scores for the same student, then the assessment tool does not accurately measure learning.  Teachers can receive a digital image of the rubric and work assessed using that rubric.   How well does the assessment tool match up with how the information was taught in class?  Is the assessment tool such as the final developed  at the  competency level or at the highly competent level?  Students may be competent but not highly competent

5) The departments do not do a thorough analysis to get at the root problem once they have discovered a gap.   If the students do not achieve well, was it due to the  students’ lack of effort, a misunderstanding of  how to answer the  assessment question, a specific word in the  assessment question,   the thinking level of the test question,    the structure of the assessment item,  the textbook, the textbook’s powerpoints,  the teacher’s explanation, the homework, or  the online work?  Usually much additional exploration is needed to determine the real reason for the gap. Once the  department identifies the gap, what  specific strategy will help the students over come this gap?  Will the department suggest  technology-based strategies that appeal to students such as Youtube videos, interactive websites,  interactive apps  and that help the students directly overcome the gap?

6) Most important of all, how does the institutional assessment help  students improve in the course right now?  Most institutions assess once a semester.  After the analysis, the department  focuses on  what changes will happen in the future year.  Unless regular assessment is done in small intervals  throughout the year and changes made almost instantly, then the assessment does not benefit  the present students.  Next year’s students may be very different than the students who took this assessment.  Classroom teachers need access to the online data and analysis so they can take class time to provide  the students new learning strategies.  Then, students can be successful learners!

How does your institution assess  student learning?

My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask  a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs),  Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group),  Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs),  and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Analysis of Learning with Mobile Learning

Use the following grid to analyze student learning based on  how you will be or are using mobile learning.

If you are planning for mobile learning, how can you modify your present plan to maximize learning with mobile learning?

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

My formative assessment books: Formative Assessment Responding to Your Students,   Student Writing Through Formative Assessment Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment. http://bit.ly/Tutbks

My 20 Spanish spontaneous speaking activities are available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Using Technology to Prepare Student to Do Well on Finals

We want our students to do well on the class final, department final, school district final, state final or national final.  However, often it is not what our  students know but how they will be tested that determines their grade.

Here are some techniques to use technology to help prepare students for finals so that they can perform well.

1) Give them self-correcting online assessments that mimic  parts of the final.  For example, students can do  several reading comprehension passages  in a program like Quia.  The program instantly tells them whether they are right or wrong. You can build in hints/strategies so that the students can learn  how to get the answer correct such as “Answer the question word ‘Where’ with a place.”

2) Have a wiki where students can post comments on their strategies for doing well in  each section of the test. One student might write “(For the reading passage) I underline the question word in the question and then I underline the answer in the passage.”

3) Have a texting-based program for the class where anyone can text questions as they do  final practice activities. Other students can explain how to get the answer.  For example, one student texts  “Can’t figure out the answer to ‘When do they go to the movies?”‘ since no time is given. and another student responds, “After eating supper tells when something happens; after is a time word.”

4) Use a Power-Point like program that not only quizzes students but then sends them to appropriate online resources if they have incorrect answers.  For example, if students incorrectly identify a math problem, the PowerPoint shows them to a math video explaining that concept.

5) Identify the most common errors that students will make on the learning goals in the final and have the students, in groups, prepare a short one to two minute video explaining those concepts.  They can make these videos not as full explanations but as cheat-sheet videos in which they emphasize the most critical parts.  For example,  Spanish students may review how to ask questions in the preterite tense in the “you” form and how to answer them in the “yo” form and they may review the most common verbs such as “to go” to get ready for a speaking final. They can post these on the school server so that other can access the videos whenever they want.

6)  Use a QR code to send them to a Google Form short 5-10 item quiz based on a final test section.  As soon as the students finish the mini-quiz, show them the class (not individual) results and go over, in class, strategies to overcome  the common mistakes that students made.

Do you know now how your students will do on the final?  Use technology to assess them and help them improve.

I have 20 Spanish spontaneous speaking/fluency activities at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook   Formative Assessment Responding to Your Students,   Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment  Successful, and  Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

Final In the Course What is it really?

We are within a few weeks of  finals.  Some good questions to ask are   What is a final?  What learning do we want the students to  show on the final?

A history teacher  tells his students that the final is on  Chapters 1-15 and all they have to do is know that information. Obviously, the students become overwhelmed because they do not know what is really important in the chapters.  They do not know the format of the final – multiple guess or essay writing? They have no idea of how to study for the final.

Teachers give paper and pencil finals, scantron finals or online computer scored.

Let’s look at some possible types of  written final (not project based):

Wikipedia  defines a final as a big unit test.  The final covers the same material that has been previously covered and in the same way but covers more of it in one exam.  An American History final is just  parts of previous tests;  instead of 50 questions, the students have 200 questions.

– Some teachers give a put-it-all-together test in which students have to integrate what they have learned during the course.  For example, an 8th grade  Science final involves students reading and critiquing an experiment on the health of a local stream.  They have covered everything previously in individual sections such as  the biological or physical aspects but they have not had to go to the big picture of the whole stream.

– Some teachers create a final that consists of  the final improvement on previous work.  For example, students have revised a Contrast essay previously in English class and they do a final revision as  their final.

– Some teaches create  a final that goes  far beyond what the students  have learned in class. The final  includes brand-new material such as many vocabulary words  the students have never seen and it may ask  them to do tasks that they have never done before in class. For example, in class students have only answered literal questions on  reading passages  but the final has mostly inference reading questions.   The final generally does not test the regular forms but focuses on all the irregular forms or exceptions.  Only the A+++ students might pass this final.

Some questions about a final:

Do the  students know what precise learning goals will be on the final? Do they know which learning goals are the most important for success in the final?
Do they know how these learning  goals  will be tested such as multiple guess or try to fill in the blank?
Does the final reflect the same level of learning as  done during the course?
Do the students have a sample final that mimics the final  both in content and format?  Do they have an online practice that explains the wrong answers?
Is the final an opportunity for the students to show how much they have learned?

What type final do you give?

I have 20 Spanish spontaneous speaking activities at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Online Grading For Communicating Students’ Learning Problems and Successes

Administrators want accountability for learning in schools.  One way to build greater accountability is for teachers to use online grading programs that give students and their parents access to the  grades.  For example, the teachers can use the free program of Engrade or a commercial program such as Blackboard.

As soon as the teachers enter  a grade for any assignment, the overall grade is updated. If students know their updated grades on a regular basis, they can decide how to improve.   Parents who have access to  their students’ online grades do not have to worry if their children are correctly relaying their grades; they can help direct their children in areas for improvement. For example, when students and parents see a grade of 40/100 for homework, the students and their parents become aware of a critical area for improvement.  When students and parents know grades on a daily/weekly basis, they feel on top of things; they do not complain that they did not know the grade until the five week period.  Administrators and guidance counselors get less complaint phone calls about grades when students and parents receive constant updates on class grading.  When students and parents see on-line grades as they are entered, they can nip any problem in the bud.  Students can do much better in school.

Likewise, administrator have greater accountability since the teachers become constantly aware of the overall progress of the students.  As the teachers enter the most recent quiz grade, they see the previous quiz grades  as well as the overall quiz grade. The teachers see the class average on each quiz so they can decide if they have to re-teach  the concept in a different manner.  Administrators realize that when teachers use online grading programs, these  teachers  have up-to-the-moment feedback on how well or poorly the students are doing.

How does your school communicate grades to students and parents so the students can be more successful?

I have 15+ Spanish spontaneous speaking activities at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Formative Assessment and Technology Tech Forum NY 2011 Presentation

Dr. Harry Grover Tuttle
htuttlebs@gmail.com

Formative Assessment:The process of helping students move immediately forward from their presented diagnosed learning to the desired learning goal.

Formative Assessment Process:
Student responds → Monitor → Diagnose → Feedback → Improvement Time → Success

Clearly state the learning goal and desired level of success

Use Exemplars to raise the bar of learning

Pre-test (“I can” forms for self assessment; content quizzes). Use digital forms such as Google Formsand Quia.

Formative Assessment and Technology
Student Responds Monitor Diagnose Feedback Time Success
-Digital form is best
– Write on wiki or blog- Sound or video recording
– Take pictures of
– Record data using spreadsheet, Google Form, digital checklist, online program such as Quia. – Compare against digital exemplar with specifics- Compare against digital checklist or formative rubric-Identify new strategy from digital library -Orally give through avatar (Voki), audacity or screen cast; face to face
– Refer to website that shows new strategy (QR code)
– Suggest explanatory PowerPoint made by student or teacher
– Read word processed info, text, or tweet
– Go through digital exemplar
In-class time  or screen cast – Eportfolio
– Wall of Fame
– See changes in spreadsheet graph
-Celebrate!

His Books on Formative Assessment (Eye on Education)
Formative Assessment: Responding to Students
Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment
Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment

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.

Web 2.0 Use May Not Be Formative Assessment

As I look at articles, blogs, and conference sessions, I see titles like

Formative Assessment Through Clickers

Formative Assessment Through Cell phones

Formative Assessment Through the Class Blogs/Wikis

Formative Assessment Through Online Quizzes

Formative Assessment Through Twitter

Formative Assessment Through Flickr

These people are generally  using Web 2.0 tools to monitor students, the first stage of formative assessment.  They collect information about where the students are  academically.

However, formative assessment moves from the monitor stage to the diagnosis stage.  How does the students’ present status compare to the desired learning goal?  If there are learning gaps, what strategies will help the students overcome those gaps?

If teachers or Web 2.0 programs do not offer improvement strategies based on the students’ specific learning gaps, then formative assessment does not occur.  Formative Assessment is much more than just seeing how many questions the students can answer;  it helps students to improve through providing new strategies for learning.

For example, if students take an online quiz about a certain learning goal, what happens next? Do the teachers diagnosis the results to see how individuals do on each item? Do the teachers determine which minor goals the students have yet to learn? Do the teachers determine which strategies will best help each student? Do the teachers give formative feedback to each student? Do the teachers build in class time for the students to practice their new formative strategy?  Do the teachers re-assess the learning?

Tuttle's Stages of Formative Assessment

Do you use Web 2.0 tools to go beyond the monitoring of students to a full formative assessment?

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.

Backward/inverted Teaching and Formative Assessment

The Journal Recently ran an article on backward or inverted teaching where the instructor has the students watch a teaching video as homework and then in class they go over problems and the teacher does more one-on-one work with students.

As the students watch the 30 minute  instructional video, who is checking to see if they are comprehending  the video? Are there self-checks built into the video? What happens if a student gets lost at the beginning?  What happens if a student does not understand a major concept?  The students  have to wait until the class for which they will have to do homework.

Such backward teaching seems to go against the current formative assessment approach of constantly monitoring students and helping them to overcome the learning gaps that appear as the lesson develops.  According to formative assessment, students should be helped with their  learning gap as soon as it appears; the students are immediately diagnosed and given appropriate feedback to overcome the gap. The longer the time between the gap and the feedback, the less effective the feedback.

I think that backward teaching can be done well  if appropriate formative assessments are built in just after new concepts or ways of thinking are introduced in the video. Probably a video teacher does not want to go more than ten minutes without doing a check-in on the students.  The teacher might want to go over commonly made mistakes as he/she presents the lesson.  When students know they are “right”, they feel more confident about their learning. When they begin to have doubts, they learn less.

How do you use teaching videos/clips in your class?

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.

Improve learning through a screencast program.

Some uses of a screencast/screen capture program such as Jing. I prefer the paid version ($14.99 a year).

* Create a mini- teaching lesson so that students can view it 24/7.

* Create a mini-teaching lesson that you will teach  more than once. Instead of  your having to say the same information for five classes such as explaining the fall of the Spanish empire, create a movie to show.  Save your voice.  In addition, you can observe the students as they watch the movies.

* Provide a video as homework. You can create short videos that prompt the students to think or do something about a topic before the next class.  Foreign languages teachers can provide a picture and have students practice answering the video questions about it.

* For a project, do a screencast of the instructions and assessment so students and parents can be sure of what is expected. For example, walk the student through the “comparing two works of literature” project.

* Create a screencast of some exemplars or model work so students can understand the high quality of learning expected. You can narrate what makes each work exemplary. A Social Studies teacher can tell  how a “history in our community” screencast represents several different historical time periods.

* Produce a formative feedback movie in which you suggest and show several ways to overcome a common learning gap. Students can view this as often as they want as they practice their  new strategy in the privacy of their own homes.

* Narrate or provide appropriate sound  over your PowerPoint so that you can emphasize certain points by changing your voice quality.  Simply record your voice as you go through the screencapture of the PowerPoint.

* Make a video in which you  narrate  a series of pictures.  A science teacher can narrate a walk through a bog to explain each part.

* Make a screencast of how to use a new program. For example, you show your students how to use the  new class wiki.

* Capture a short  first part of a show from a DVD, NetFlix, Hulu, etc , a middle part  and a near-the-end part  that are all on the same topic such as the  Mexican economy  so you can show all three together without having to search for the next part.

* Record some short  instructional movies for when you are out.  Your sub can show the movies and you’ll still be teaching the class the way you want it!

* Have students make their own Jing movie in which they peer teach.  Students can record themselves as they explain  a difficult concept. They can come in a few minutes early, record their planned out video, and show it in class. Also, Jing can be part of a learning station in the class where student groups  produce their peer teaching movie.

* Interview people in the community who use your subject area content  and show students that video. For example,  a builder talks about the various angles in building a house.

How have you used a screencast program in your class?

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 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

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

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

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.

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

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


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

Blog Stats

  • 786,930 hits