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Utilizing Formative Assessments
I am interested in designing a course centered on formative assessment. Many times I see a reliance on multiple choice quizzes and exams which are great for assessing knowledge but may not be the best way to assess student learning and understanding. There are times when knowledge assessment is necessary but an expansion of instruction to include frequent assessment with feedback and opportunity for students to revise their thinking is beneficial.
My experience is in post secondary education, with proprietary career colleges. Many times the larger chain schools want standarized curriculum so they can prove to their accreditors that all students receive the same education regardless of the location or state. I will keep in mind that many teachers in this course are teaching in high school or elementary school and will provide a wide range of options to accomodate a variety of student levels as best I can.
I have created a brief survey about assessment as part of my learner assessment, please take a few short moments to fill it out. I would be forever grateful for your honest answers. (I won't tell) Below is the link to take you to the survey. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=drE9_2b0lm1C9bzPiJgSZLZw_3d_3d
I wish to define formative assessment and to explore a variety of different methods that can be used for formative assessment. While the term assessment is used, not everything is intended to be graded but provides a chance for the student to receive feedback on their learning.
- defining formative assessment and explaining its purpose
- variety of formative assessment options can include:
- reflective journals or other writing assignments
- case studies
- designing formative assessment
Through the brief survey conducted, half of the respondants use more than tests and quizzes for assessment. One strategy that was mentioned more than others was the use of reflective journals and discussion. From the survey of students in this class, I found a rich assortment of assessment strageties coupled with quizzes and tests.
In Gagne's text chapter 7 covers objectives and while this course is about assessment, the objectives for a course or lesson will help determine the best assessment strategy to use which could be a mix of different things. The specificity of the objectives can provide a clear picture of what assessment should be used or can provide flexibility when determining appropriate assessment.
Course Description and Objectives
This course will discuss formative assessment and provide background to the elements of formative assessment including rubrics. Learners will reflect on current assessment practice and will design formative assessment(s) based on current lesson or course objectives.
After completing this course, the learner should be able to:
- Understand formative assessment and the reasons for its use
- Reflect on current practice in assessment strategy and current research on formative assessment
- Analyze current assessment choices for existing lesson, unit, or course
- Design a new assessment choice modeled on formative assessment for an existing lesson or unit
Based on the above objectives, there are several prerequisites that will need to be possessed by the learner. In this course, an understanding of course objectives should be possessed since the way they are written can lead to assessment choices. Experience with rubrics will also be helpful since rubrics make up an important part of formative assessment.
- Understand the construction of course objectives and how they can lead to clear assessment choices
- Willingness to try new assessment methods
- Understanding of rubrics and how they are used in assessment
The course introduction will have a brief mention as background on course objectives and rubrics which are prerequisite skills needed to fully understand how to use formative assessment. The introduction will also serve to frame this course with initial information on the benefits of formative assessment and set the stage for the course.
Unit 1 What is Formative Assessment?
- Understand the difference between formative and summative assessment
- Learn the elements that comprise formative assessment
- Consider the beneficial reasons to use formative assessment
Unit 2 Examples, Cases, and Reflection on Current Practice
- Explore examples in the area of formative assessment
- Analyze current assessment strategy related to a given lesson
- Reflect on current assessment practice using an existing lesson of choice
Unit 3 Design a Formative Assessment Plan
- Prepare a formative assessment plan for an existing lesson or unit
This process has been a difficult one for me since I am not teaching. The topic is a great one and formative assessment is something that I try and ensure is in every lesson that I help create. The elements are there, I just never realized it had a formal name.
After reading the feedback from Brooke and Jianwei, I have made some changes to my Unit 1 and also changed Unit 2. I have loaded an updated Curriculum Map above so if it looks new, its not, just modified. I think I may be writing too much but I am going to keep going because like any student who might look at this course, I myself am a student so I am providing the information needed to fully understand the topic as much as possible. I can not cover everything of course- there is so much out there on this topic- more than I ever thought I would find. I also added a new resource today that I found on a web journal. I will use it in Unit 2 for examples of formative assessment, along with some of my own ideas and examples.
Resources Used and Read
Boston, Carol (2002). The concept of formative assessment. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 8(9). Retrieved May 5, 2008 from http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=8&n=9.
Chappuis, S., & Chappuis, J. (2007). The Best Value in Formative Assessment. Educational Leadership, 65 (4), 14-18.
Gagne, R. M., Wager, W. W., Golas, K. C., & Keller, J. M., (2005). Principles of Instructional Design. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Thomson Learning.
Heritage, M. (2007). Formative Assessment: What Do Teachers Need to Know and Do? Phi Delta Kappan, Oct 07, 140-145.
Kaftan, J. M., Buck, G. A., & Haack, A. (2006). Using Formative Assessments to Individualize Instruction and Promote Learning. Middle School Journal, 37 (4), 44-49.
Mayer, R. E., (2003). Learning and Instruction. Teaching By Giving Productive Feedback (pp. 238-272). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.
Montgomery, K. (2002). Authentic Tasks and Rubrics: Going Beyond Traditional Assessments in College Teaching. College Teaching, 50(1), 34-39.
Nicol, D. J. & Macfarlane-Dick D. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31 (2), 199-218.
Priestley, M., & Sime, D. (2005). Formative assessment for all: a whole-school approach to pedagogic change. The Curriculum Journal, 16(4), 475-492.
Taras, M. (2002). Using Assessment for Learning and Learning from Assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 27(6), 501-510.
Wiliam, D., Lee, C., Harrison, C., & Black, P. (2004). Teachers developing assessment for learning: impact on student achievement. Assessment in Education, 11(1), 49-65.
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