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Formative assessment

Giving feedback for learning

Hello colleagues, In a 2006 Schoolies cartoon by John P. Wood, a dog and a boy are sitting in school. The dog turns around and shows his homework to the boy. The teacher has written the words "bad dog" on the dog's homework. The dog says to the boy, "I'm gonna need more specific feedback on my formative assessments."

Using conversation to assess learning

Hello colleagues, We hear a lot about the importance of formative assessment, which is sometimes referred to as assessment FOR learning. In fact, formative assessment is something excellent teachers do almost instinctually. We are always paying attention to learners and checking on how well they understand. We do this through questioning the whole class as well as questioning and listening to students one-on-one. 

Effective and Ineffective Praise

Hello colleagues, I recall reading about how praise can sometimes actually be harmful. In our role as teacher's, our words really do matter. As Dr. Debbie Silver writes, "Effective feedback starts with carefully selecting words that are honest, specific, nonjudgmental, and specifically chosen to help the student figure out how to get better. It should inform them about their progress. It should not judge, label, accuse, excuse, or even praise [emphasis added]. It provides instructive knowledge that will enhance the student’s performance."

Registration opens for LINCS Formative Assessment online courses

The LINCS Professional Development Center is taking registrations for the facilitated online course that was developed as part of the Teaching Excellence in Adult Literacy (TEAL) initiative:

·         Formative Assessment (TEAL), April 24–May 15, 2017

Explore strategies for conducting informal and ongoing assessments of your adult education students’ progress and use that information to adjust your teaching to ensure that all students learn in this online course.

Using Video to Assess

Hello colleagues, Have you ever used video to assess students' learning and/or to have adult learners assess themselves? If so, how have you structured such activities, and what were your evaluation criteria? Take a look at the graphic image below which is an excerpt of one that appeared in a recent Education Week blog by Lisa Westman. Westman discusses seven ways to use video with kids, at least three which could be adapted for use with adult learners, too.

Sharing results of the Formative Assessment Tools Micro Group

Hello everyone,

I'm pleased to be able to share the results of the group that worked on trying out formative assessment online tools with their students during the months of January - April.  Below you will find the breakdown of the tools reviewed, along with the link to the spreadsheet that contains the reviews; I've also included a TinyURL for the spreadsheet for your convenience. 

I would very much like to see some discussion based on these tools and their reviews:

Openings available for the online course--Teaching Excellence in Adult Literacy (TEAL): Formative Assessment: Writing

The LINCS Region 1 Professional Development Center is offering a writing section of the TEAL Formative Assessment online course. There is no charge to take the course, but we ask that you commit to actively participating and successfully completing the course if you register for the course. You must have an active LINCS account for the LINCS Learning Portal. Registration is limited to 30 participants.

Teaching Excellence in Adult Literacy (TEAL): Formative Assessment

No Hands Up and Other Assessment Strategies

Hello Colleagues, Asking questions is probably the most commonly used approach to assess student understanding. According to Dylan William in a blog entitled "The Right Questions, The Right Way," "[t]he whole idea that students should always answer teachers' questions correctly is actually rather odd." Wiliam goes on to explain that "if the students are answering every one of the teacher's questions correctly, the teacher is surely wasting the students' time.

Technology and Study Skills


In the LINCS Reading and Writing CoP I have just launched what I hope will be a substantive discussion on learning to learn (study) skills  I have also posted some questions there about note-taking that I would also be interested in having your thoughts on:


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