Formative Assessment

Apps that gave immediate feedbackWhat helped with formative assessment was providing applications that gave immediate feedback, such as Quizizz, Formative, and Google Forms.

When everyone is in class together, formative assessment happens in all kinds of ways: do-nows, exit tickets, quick show of hands, a teacher circulating and observing student work as they complete it. Assessing student learning in those quick, ongoing ways changes dramatically during remote learning. However, the need for formative assessment increases during remote learning, so that teachers can fully understand how students are engaging with and comprehending the material being presented.

Focused college student sitting in cafeteria taking notes while using laptop. Young brazilian woman doing research for business at coffee shop. African american girl sitting in cafe using computer and writing notes."rDistricts and schools should identify common assessment strategies to create coherence and familiarity across classrooms. These strategies can include a shared tool, like Kahoot! (highly rated by Common Sense Education), or a simple pedagogical technique, like asking students to enter their response in the private chat or with a simple thumbs up, sideways, or down. Common strategies can decrease the fatigue parents and students feel when faced with different technology platforms and logins in each teacher’s class, and students build fluency around certain shared strategies. Using quick assessment tools can also save teachers time, given that many teachers feel overwhelmed with the amount of work they get from students during remote learning.

Only 26%
of teachers and administrators received support and/or strategies for using formative assessment to support student learning online

Guiding Questions

  • What common assessment expectations do teachers share across a grade and school? How are teachers being supported to use formative assessment to identify learning needs?
  • What structures and strategies work best to allow teachers to analyze those assessments collaboratively?

Professional Development Connections

Professional development should help teacher teams, grade teams, and departments to collaborate on reviewing formative assessments to improve them and to understand the data they give to teachers.

Use these selected strategies and resources
Strategies Resources

Formative assessment techniques

Set common expectations across subject areas and teacher teams to use proven formative assessment techniques such as:

  • Schoolwide exit tickets—For example, teachers could consistently ask students to summarize their progress on a group project or to write about what made a podcast powerful. The information they provide shapes a teacher’s understanding of the students and helps with planning for the next class.
  • Schoolwide low-stakes quizzes using tech tools like Pear Deck and Quizlet Live to help students get a sense of where they are, how well their study strategies are working, and what they need to do next.

Formative Assessment in Distance Learning (Edutopia) includes:

The Science of Keeping Kids Engaged—Even From Home (Edutopia) includes gradeless retrieval practice and formative assessments as part of continuous learning.

Make Formative Assessment More Student-Centered offers cheat sheets, video tutorials, apps and websites (Common Sense Education)

Formatively Assess Students provides digital tools (New Visions for Public Schools)