Saturday, September 13, 2014

Formative Assessment Strategies in My Classroom

Formative assessment has been a buzz word in education for the past several years.  Basically, formative assessment is a check for understanding and provides important feedback to the teacher about what students know and what they don't know.  Sometimes this is written assessment and sometimes it isn't.

I have been working hard to try to incorporate more formative assessment in my classroom and wanted to share some of the strategies that have worked for me.

First is the thumbs assessment.  After teaching a concept and before students begin to work independently, I will ask them to give me a

Thumbs Up (I get it!), 

Thumbs Down (I'm totally lost), 

or a Thumbs to the Side (I think I get it, but I may need help). 

A quick glance around the room at the thumbs and I know which students I need to check in with to possibly reteach.

Similar to the Thumbs assessment is the 0 to 3 quick check:
Love this idea for quick formative assessment of learning! Helps determine which kids may need more structured intruction

Another quick formative assessment I use that gives me a little more insight into my students' thinking is the Learning Journal.  At the end of the day, I will give a writing prompt based on what we learned today:
  • Model 3,274 
  • Write one thick and one thin question about what we read in science
  • List two adjectives to describe our main character and explain your thinking
  • Show two different ways to add 32,448 and 51,486
A quick walk around the room at the end of the day shows me what students have learned and again, who needs another review.
If you are looking for some formative assessment ideas, I encourage you to check out this website and view the Google Slideshow. 
What are your favorite formative assessments that you use to check for understanding?  Please share!


  1. I love using whiteboards for students to do quick problems and hold them up. I can easily see who has it, who is still working on it, or who has not a clue just yet. :) I do the thumbs up/down too but a lot of them just like to give a thumbs up even if they aren't sure. We're working on self assessment... :)
    Mrs. Bentin's Blackboard

  2. I also use the thumbs up method and REALLY like the 3, 2, 1, 0 idea. I am going to try that one. Another idea I've used with some success is writing a question or problem on the board and have students write their answer on an index card. I can view this later if needed and see who I need to work with the next day.

  3. Formative assessment is the big, big thing this year in Florida. They have added tons of formative math assessments on our online system for the state that aligns with each standard. We are also using learning goals and progression scales for each of them. I'm wrapping my head around everything. What if buzz word was a buzz word. lol!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'


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