Sometimes it can be difficult to know whether students are really “getting it” as you move through a unit or lesson. Formative assessments provide in-the-moment insight into student comprehension. Here are six formative assessments that can be administered as you’re teaching to help guide instructional strategies. These assessment ideas also encourage students to take an active role in their learning, which can generate greater motivation and improved academic achievement.
Here is an easy quick check that you can put together over your lunch break. Simply make a grid on chart paper, enter your students’ numbers (or names), and laminate. Then you can use dry erase pens to write out questions for each student and have them fill in their answers. This is a great tool because it enables you to tailor the difficulty of the question to each student’s proficiencies, and you can use the chart over and over.
Exit tickets are a tried and true way to assess student comprehension. 3-2-1 exit tickets instruct students to write three things they learned from the lesson, two questions they still have and one idea or thought that resonated with them. Access a free printable download of the ticket by clicking here.
3. Have Students Draw a Picture or Make a Model
Testing whether students can visualize a math problem can provide great insight into their levels of comprehension. This quick check works well with fractions, story problems, and any other math problem that can be represented visually.
4.Have Students Write a Word Problem
Having students write a word problem requires they have a deep understanding of the concept. Start by clearly explaining how to write a word problem, and then give an example. The problems students write will demonstrate whether students truly understand what you’ve just taught.
Students thrive on feedback and truly engage in learning when feedback and time for reflection are part of the teaching process. Museum walks are a great vehicle to facilitate these constructs. Working in groups, have students create posters boards that demonstrate a math concept in real life. Then ask students to provide feedback about each group’s projects using sticky notes. Teams can then revise their projects to make their explanations and work clearer.
Get inspired to try a variety of quick checks with this formative assessment cheat sheet. Included are ideas such as using index cards, hand signals, exit cards, and more.
The best formative assessments not only help teachers understand their students’ comprehension, but they also empower students to take an active role in their learning. Try out these ideas and switch it up to explore which strategies work best for you and your students.
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