Formative Assessment in PBL Math

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Image borrowed from University of Ontario, website

Entry Event

  • Have you ever finished with a unit of instruction, only to realize you 'lost' half your students on lesson one!?
  • Have you witnessed your students furiously copying your every word (pauses, coughs, errors and all), only to discover that they can only regurgitate the information?
  • Do you ever notice that in your practice assessment tends to only occur at the end of a unit of instruction, offering few opportunities to correct conceptual mistakes (such as violating order of operations)?
  • Do you wish to acquire learner feedback more frequently during instruction?

If your answer to any of the above questions are 'YES', then you are ready for the mini-course ahead. Within this course, you will go through the steps of the design process, view examples of formative assessment implemented in a math project-based learning environment, and will work to design your own lesson to implement formative assessment opportunities. The course itself will reflect the formative assessment practices it discusses.


Assessment is often tied with a 'numerical' grade and never referenced again, especially by the students. How many of us have seen students receive the typical feedback such as a quiz, homework, or anything graded and then toss it immediately, perhaps not so hopefully, into the recycling bin? Testing is a common discussion among teachers of all disciplines whether it is with regard to how often we are assessing, the validity of the assessment or standards, or what we are learning from the assessment results. Assessment, however doesn't have to come with a price-tag for the student or the teacher; this is where formative assessment can be a useful instructional classroom tool.

Course Objectives

  • Define and explain what formative assessment is and the benefits of using it in the classroom.
  • Identify various types of formative assessment as illustrated through authentic examples
  • Design formative assessment opportunities to enhance learning in an identified instructional area.


  • Product rubric
  • Student will re-design a lesson of instruction to meet the rubric criteria and the course objectives (identified above)
  • Student will implement this unit of instruction [if applicable]
  • Student will reflect upon this experience identifying how they satisfied or did not satisfy the rubric.

1: Formative Assessment- What is it & why use it?

Phase Objective:

  1. "To many of today's teachers, assessment is synonymous with high-stakes standardized tests. But there is an entirely different kind of assessment that can actually transform both teaching and learning."