Posts Tagged 'Success'

Healing Learning injuries: The Immediacy of Formative Feedback

If a student has hurt herself and is bleeding, we do not say, “Wait a few days and we will take care of your bleeding.” We help stop the bleeding immediately.  However, when a student bleeds academically by showing a serious learning gap, we often delay the necessary treatment.

When a student displays a learning gap such as  not being able to write a topic sentence in a composition, we  immediately apply the treatment of providing the student with different new strategies.  We do not simply re-give the student the  original strategy that was unsuccessful for the student.  We have a list of different strategies on the class website, blog, wiki, a handout, or a QR code.  We write these strategies in student-talk and provide examples.  For example, a topic sentence has a topic, like “the school baseball team”, and a strong position or viewpoint  about the team such as “will win this Friday”.  The complete topic sentence becomes “The school baseball team will win this Friday.”
We provide a  variety of differentiated ways for the students to learn the missing concept of a topic sentence such as  a written explanation.   We can ask students to put a box around the topic and put an arrow ( → ) over the position. Also, we can offer the student  a variety of other ways of learning this concept such as    Youtubemovie, a podcast, and  a visual.  The student selects which formative feedback she feels will help her the most. Then, she practices that new strategy so that she improves.

Through the  immediacy of formative assessment, we heal the student  in their learning.  The student does not become injured for the rest of her learning.

Tuttle’s 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

Constant Peer Review on the Same Essay Improves Student Writing

I  teach a college composition course.  We spend much time in peer reviewing (probably 70% of class time) in a formative assessment process. Today the students had their 6th peer review on the same “essay” and we are just up to doing  three body paragraphs.  I asked my students to do a questionnaire on the process we use.  About 15% said that they did not peer review in their high school English classes.  Of those they did peer review, they stated that peer review  focused on grammar, spelling and punctuation. As one student said of our process,  “we  focus on changing idea.”  Most students (80%) had not had more than one peer  review their writing; so far we  have had 6 different peers react to their writing.  As one student mentioned “you get a different view and different aspects about your paper from other people ” and “You receive others’ opinions using the same format you used to write it.”  My goal is simple: for students  to constantly improve in their writing.  Formative assessment which focuses on monitoring and giving feedback continually through the process enables students to improve in each aspect of their writing, starting at the pre-writing phase.  A more thorough description of this process is found in my Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

How often do your students peer review  each other’s work?

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.

Class increase of 12 points over last semester

I give a pre-test and a post test in my Spanish course.  From the pre-test I can measure the students incoming knowledge.  From the post-test I measure their departing knowledge.   More importantly, I analyze the results of each unit test by the various categories on the test. If many students do poorly on a certain section, I reteach it.  The next semester I start out that particular point with  the reteaching material.  I also do many formative assessments so that I can give students new strategies to do better.  This semester my students did an average of 12 points better than last semester’s students.  I have analyzed the final to see the area in which they lost the most points – writing mini-compositions and have begun to figure out ways to help them. We will do more writing in class and on our class wiki. I will focus on the verb forms to tell a story such  as what I did last weekend. I will have them write out their weekend in a chronological order and make sure that they use a different verb in each sentence. We will do mini-writings over several class periods. For the final they do not need complicated sentences; they just need simple sentences that communicate different ideas.  My goal is to increase this coming semester’s average by 10 points over last semester.

By how much will you increase your class average  this coming year?

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.

Why do students’ final grades not reflect their highest achievements?

Many teachers calculate the students’ final  grade by having a grading program or spreadsheet average the four quarters and the final.

However, this averaged grade does not represent the students’ highest learning.

For example, if a student had a 70, 75, 80, 85 for each of the four quarters and 90 on the final,  that average (with equal weighting) is 80. This grade does not represent the students’ achievement which was a 90.

Why do we not award students’ their highest grade as their final grade as in formative assessment?

A future lawyer can take the bar exam as many times as possible.  When the future lawyer  passes, the law association accepts that passing; it does not average in previous failures.

Think of the number of young people who take their drivers’ test several times.  When they pass, they pass. The Department of Motor Vehicles does not average in the past failures. If they did, many young people would never pass the drivers’ test.

A writer  submits a manuscript to a publishing house and  the publishing house rejects it (gives it an F).  Does the next publishing house refuse it since the manuscript had  already been rejected somewhere else?

When will educators not penalize students for previous efforts?   When will educators reward student achievement instead of minimizing the achievement?

How do you grade students for their final grade?

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.

Revision as key to the Writing Process

Revision as key to the writing process

This graphic indicates an interesting aspect of the writing process.  Many students do a revision or possible two of their writing but they do not go through the constant revision that professional writers do.  However, the classroom teacher can build in many more revisions on the students’ work with little effort.

The students can peer review and revise their work as they do it.  For example, students write a thesis statement and then have  a peer assess it and give feedback based on the teacher’s guiding questions.  As the students develop their graphic organizer, other students can look it over for different categories, evidence and details and then the students can revise it.  As the students write their first body paragraph, another student can peer review it using a teacher-provided rubric and then the students can revise it.  The teacher can have writing strategies for that particular part of the writing process  to help the students who need additional assistance  in areas of the writing process or they can find other areas for peer review  as shown in my book Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

Constant assessment and revision improves student writing.

How often do you students receive feedback on their writing during the writing process and then make revisions?

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, Audience and Draft or Best? (Glogster example)

Educators state that Glogster is a great Web 2.0 tool since it makes the students’ work visible to the world.  I assume that the educators mean that the audience will be other students, teachers, and parents. Do students publish their drafts or   final products?  Usually the idea of audience implies that what a student offers to his/her audience is a final product just as musicians practice in private and then perform their best in a concert.   However, in looking at several random Glogster projects in Spanish, I discovered many basic  student errors.  Are educators having their students put their best work up on the web or just putting up rough drafts? Do we want the audience to see the many errors or do we want the audience to see the students’ best work?

The other reason to publish something is for the reaction of others to improve the work.  However, it seems that most Glogster posters are “final” posters. They do not get reviewed by others and then modified. The students simply do the e-poster.

If we believe in the power of audience as an essential element of Web 2.0, then we need to help our students give their best performances and not just their practice. Let’s improve the quality of our students’ work on the Web and therefore, help others to learn from our 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.

10 Reasons to Use Online Practice Quizzes (Formative Assessment)

Students benefit greatly from being able to take online practice quizzes. These quizzes focus on the critical lower-level thinking learning for the students. The students can practice these activities on online quizzes, therefore, freeing up class time for higher-level thinking activities. Here are some reasons based on my use of Quia.

1) Students do not have to wonder if their answer is correct or not as they answer a question, the quiz programs tells the student.  Students get immediate reaction to their answer; they do not have to wait until the next class which may be 24 hours, 48 hours or more away.

2)  The online quiz program focuses on parts of the learning goal details that students might have overlooked.  Spanish students soon realize that they need an accent on a the preterite tense  such as hablé.  English students see that difference between “metaphor” and  “analogy”.

3) Students can read the teacher-provided strategy for improvement for each wrong answer.  The students do not just know that they are incorrect but they see an explanation of how to improve. They learn how to do it right;  they improve through formative assessment.

4)  Students can begin to use their new strategy  as they encounter a problem using the same concept that they just missed. They can verify if they are applying the strategy correctly.

5)  Students can answer without  feeling badly about having a wrong answer as can happen in a class. No other student knows.

6)  Students can retake a practice  quiz as often as they want to improve their score. The program can be set to keep the highest score.  If the practice quizzes are truly formative, then no grade will be taken.  Students will demonstrate their learning in classd and on  summative tests.

7)  Teachers can quickly analyze in what areas students are successful and in what areas they have demonstrated  learning gaps. They can select an appropriate learning strategy for each student for class.  The teachers can use the online quiz’s graphing analysis to see if any learning gaps are class wide. Such real time data improves the formative assessment process.

8)  Teachers do not lose time in going around the  classroom physically checking in homework. I figure that I save 10 minutes for my college class. 10 x 30 classes = 300 minutes, 5 additional hours of class time, or 3.7 additional class periods. Therefore, teachers have more time in class to help students improve and to work on higher level skills.

9)  Likewise, if teachers do go around the room checking in homework, they do not have the time to check each individual answer of each student. If students do twenty five questions, the teachers can only glance over the homework. The teachers probably do not have time to explain individually to each student which answers are incorrect and what strategy will work for each incorrect answer.

10)  Both  students and teachers can see the students’  progress over time as they see the online quiz scores.  In addition, teachers may notice patterns such as Tom does well on vocabulary quizzes but has trouble on grammar quizzes; teachers can then determine how to help Tom with his general learning problem of grammar.

How do you use online quizzes as part of your 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.

Check Lower Level Learning Immediately (Formative Assessment)

We all want our students to be learning at the higher levels of thinking.  However, they first have to learn  lower level information.  For example, Spanish students want to converse in the language but until they learn basic vocabulary and grammar such as the present tense; they cannot converse.  We can change the format of class so that after we have introduced the lower level learning and have them practice it enough to know whether they understand the concept, then we can have them practice the lower level learning at home.

If we have them use an online program that “drills” them, shows them the right answer, and shows them  how to get the right answer,  they can immediately know how well they are doing and be given the opportunity to improve.  They do not have to wait until the next day (or in terms of a college course five days or week) to find out if they can do this lower level thinking.  Since the teacher has put in the program   a full explanation of how to get the right answer, the students can overcome their learning gap (formative feedback aspect of formative assessment).  They can redo the program to verify that they can do this lower level activity well.  They feel successful.  They have practiced this learning in the safety of their homes.

Then, in class, the teacher  can move the students to higher levels from the lower level.  For example, the Spanish students can tell what activities they do that day, can describe the various activities of their family members, and ask others what they things they do during a day.

So how do you practice lower level learning so that students know immediately if they are right or wrong and if they wrong,  do they learn how to change their thinking to get right answers? How do you  use formative assessment to move your students forward in their learning?

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

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

“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.

Formative Feedback Through Technology

Some ways to for teachers to give formative feedback as part of formative assessment  to students through technology. The feedback has to lead to the students’ direct and immediate improvement on the specific goal. Within the formative assessment process, students need “personalized” feedback which focus on their specific learning gaps.

– Orally with audio/screen capture programs

– Add in comments in digital word processed documents

– Refer to YouTube etc. video made by teacher, peers, or others

– Suggest a specific website that explains it in another way

– Provide an exemplar to re-examine from class website, wiki

– Develop “PowerPoint” quizzes that explain the wrong answers to understand the right ones.

You can view some other ideas at

http://formativeassessmenttechnology.pbworks.com

and add your own by joining the wiki at

https://formativeassessmenttechnology.pbworks.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.

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.

Why use technology at its lowest level?

A friend recently attended a conference that had many technology sessions for his subject area. He heard phrases  like “the technology motivates them”,  “the students  like being able to make choices about the background”, and “they like to create.”  He did not hear about how students learn  with the technology!  We have to move from the “isn’t this wonderful!” phase of technology  to the  “how does this increase student learning?” phase of technology integration.

His epiphany was made even more obvious when  he  realized that teachers had students use the lowest of learning  for the technology.  Students did Knowledge /memorization activities. They practiced the spelling of words instead of using/applying the words in sentences.  In another case, students used Wallwisher to write a simple phrase or sentence about the topic.  They did not have to justify  their statement.  They did not react to other students” phrases by agreeing or disagreeing. We can  structure the learning experience so have students think at the highest levels (Bloom’s)  through the use of technology!

How do you use technology in your classroom?

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

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

Improve FL Speaking Fluency With Formative Assessment

NYSAFLT  Conference Oct. 16, 2010

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

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

Formative Assessment components:

Student does something in the language →

Is monitored →

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

Is given formative feedback →

Has time for improvement →

Is re-assessed to show improvement →

Celebrates success

Formative assessment  create a culture of success, of constant improvement

Two Formative Assessment videos from the UK:

Secondary Assessment for Learning

Modern Foreign Languages Peer Assessment


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

Success or Failure Grading?

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

Speaking Assessment: Identify the specific language function and level.

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

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

Record the information on this baseline.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Formative Assessment Time = Success Time

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

How do you use build in formative assessment time for student success?

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

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

Formative Assessment Class Culture

Formative assessment requires a specific culture in the classroom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your class culture?

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

Reponding to Your Students

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

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

Grading for Success or Failure

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

I think most of us grade for failure.

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

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

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

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

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

Reponding to Your Students

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

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

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

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

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.

Textbooks – Not sufficient for students to be proficient.

I recently had the opportunity to examine three textbooks all written at the same time.  They all claimed to be standards based.

I was shocked by the differences.  Each had the same critical information but one textbook  just showed the essential information and then had an exercise, another explained how to do it but provided no exercises, and the third talked about it generally. Even though I teach the subject, I found many of the exercises confusing or not focusing on the standard.  None of the textbook had sufficient information to guide the student from knowing nothing about the topic to be able to use the information.   To accompany the information, one had up to many colorful pictures, a second had quotations, and the third had news articles.

How can a book claim to be standards-based if it does not guide the student from the very beginning stages through to the proficient stage?  A book has to explain the information so the student understands it,  see the specific forms, and uses these forms in meaningful ways. Hopefully, these books will provide  formative assessments that permit the student to assess how well he/she is doing and to learn a new strategy to overcome any gaps.  Let’s convince textbook publishers to move from  seeing the  “cuteness” of the subject to moving the student forward to success.

How well does your textbook guide the student to success?

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

Build a real class learning community

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

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

What learning communities do you have in your class?

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

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

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

Reponding to Your Students

Show your students their success

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

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

Reponding to Your Students

Continuous Assessment

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

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

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

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

Reponding to Your Students

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, my book

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

http://tinyurl.com/writingtuttle.

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

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

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

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

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

Reponding to Your Students

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


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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