2 Quick Ways to Conduct Formative Assessments in Your Classroom
More and more of today's teachers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of 'personalised learning'. Gone are the days where children who struggled to learn at the standard pace were told, "Tough luck!". Now, educators are trying to make sure that every child in the classroom learns as much as they can, even if they can't learn as fast as their classmates.
Of course, in order to ensure every student achieves competency in every subject, you have to assess them on each topic. However, formative assessments -- those used for teacher benefit only, rather than formal grading -- can be time consuming, and there are only so many school days in the year.
With that in mind, here are 2 ideal ways to conduct formative assessments quickly and easily, so you can spend more time teaching and less time reading essays and marking quizzes.
Whiteboards are one of the most useful tools in any teacher's arsenal, and they can even be used for formative assessment. Purchase enough individual whiteboards (also known as personal whiteboards) for every child in your class. These can be used as the beginning or end of the lesson as a formative assessment tool. As a teacher, all you have to do is ask the whole class a question about the subject matter. Your students write down their answers, then raise their boards on your say-so. Within seconds, you can quickly see who's grasped a subject and who hasn't. Then, all you need to do is mentally or physically note who needs extra help, and visit them during the course of the lesson once everyone's started working. To save extra time, you can even write the day's question or questions on your own whiteboard at the front of the class before the lesson begins, so students can write their answers as everyone settles down.
The Traffic Light Method
Formative assessment doesn't have to be conducted at the beginning or end of the lesson. It can also be done during learning time using the traffic light method. This method involves giving each child in the class a set of three cards at their desk -- red, yellow or orange, and green. Red means 'I don't understand at all', yellow or orange means 'I'm struggling', and green means 'I get it'. You could also use pictures of faces -- sad, neutral, and happy. Over the course of the lesson, students should leave a card face up on their table that corresponds to how they feel about their work. That way, the teacher can make their way around the room helping those who need the most assistance first, ensuring everyone gets the topic before class ends. Aside from being a formative assessment method that doesn't take time away from the lesson, this also teaches children about self-evaluation -- an important skill in education.