Top Tips for Fast Formative Assessment that Works

You’re teaching your heart out. All of a sudden, you look in their eyes and wonder if they understand. But in due time, you decide enough of them know the material and it is time for a test. After they take the test, you start grading. In a moment, you realize that while one or two know the material, that you were hopelessly unaware that most of them needed some more teaching. I’ve been there and it is one of the worst feelings of teaching. When it happened to me, I felt like quitting. I felt like a failure. But no more.

fast formative assessment that works

Now, when I teach difficult concepts like binary numbers, I can teach them and know in the moment what they know. No more waiting. No more guessing. That’s because, formative assessment is in my toolkit and I’m empowered to poll the whole class with a click.

As shown above, we can do better than the old fashioned guess and stress mode of teaching and testing. Formative assessment is here.

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Different from summative assessment, the goal of formative assessment is to know what they know as knowledge is forming in their minds. Equally important, the point of formative assessment is NOT to take another grade. While you might be tempted, DON’T DO IT! (Unless they all surprise you and make perfect scores!  Then, by all means take a grade and do a dance while you’re at it!)

As an illustration of the many ways you can assess formatively, Steven Anderson and I continue in the second episode of a three-part series on formative assessment. (See the first episode with Tony Vincent linked below.)

Given the points I’ve made already, I believe that formative assessment is one of the key tools for the 21st-century educator’s toolbox.

GradeCam: Today’s Sponsor is a Formative Assessment Wonder

Formative assessment options can save you time. GradeCam is a quick grading tool for formative AND summative assessment. You get instant feedback on what students know. GradeCam lets you print out bubble sheets, use your smartphone, to take a picture of your students’ quizzes, and GradeCam will grade the quizzes for you! GradeCam allows you to quickly collect and assess student learning in the moment and adjust your lessons in real-time. GradeCam also works with laptops, desktops, tablets and any device that has a camera connected to wifi. GradeCam can also quickly transfer all of the scores into a grade book

If you visit Gradecam from this blog post, you can get a 60-day free trial. You can also listen to a bonus episode I recorded about the “Biggest Formative Assessment Mistake that People Make” with Tony Vincent. 


Easy Grading with Gradecam

Show Notes:

  • What story can you use to introduce formative assessment to teachers?
  • Is there a trap teachers fall into of thinking they have to grade everything?
  • What is the central purpose of formative assessment?
  • How can teachers use formative assessment to self-assess their own teaching?
  • Are there some fast easy ways to use formative assessment?
  • What are Steven’s favorite formative assessment tools?
  • Episode 1 in this Formative Assessment Series

Who is Steven Anderson?

Steven W. Anderson @web20classroom is the director of instructional technology for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in Winston-Salem, NC. He also regularly travels the country talking to schools and districts about the use of social media in the classroom. He has been the recipient of the Twitterer of the Year Award, and in 2012 he was named an ASCD Emerging Leader, which recognizes young, talented, educational leaders in their field.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to edit and post it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.)

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