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How and Why to Innovate With Formative Assessment in Your Classroom

How and Why to Innovate with Formative Assessment in Your Classroom

According to Jasper Fox Sr., veteran educator and ASCD Emerging Leaders Class of 2015 member, formative assessment is a powerful tool that helps the teacher “gain insight into the varied levels of comprehension within each class.”

He defines formative assessment as ongoing and diagnostic, and provides several examples of what it is:

  • An in class discussion gauging student understanding before a unit of study
  • Providing written feedback on a writing activity before it is due

In order to successfully implement formative assessment in the classroom, Fox has several suggestions for his peers.

For one, he argues that teachers should be grading less. “The trademarks of a quality formative assessment program include timely, descriptive and personalize feedback,” he says.

And this is best done, he says, without putting a grade on an assignment to end the learning process.

In order for less grading to be possible, Fox emphasizes the need for the teacher practicing a formative assessment program to communicate more. Ongoing and thorough feedback is critical to formative assessments, he says.

“Conferencing individually on a regular basis allows this consideration to be focused and become an ingrained part of the classroom culture.”

But Fox labels the “biggest, and arguably most important, innovation” of formative assessment is its focus on growth and “progress towards comprehension.”

By challenging the view on how to measure student understanding, Fox says innovative programs like formative assessments will “foster lifelong learning in our students.”

Read the full ASCD In Service post here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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