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Formative assessment

"No opt out" technique

Hello Colleagues, A friend recently recommended Doug Lemov’s (2010) book Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that put Students on the Path to College. Many of the techniques Lemov outlines for K12 teachers focus on how to manage teacher-led whole class discussion, with teacher questioning designed to assess students’ understanding of content.

Cooperative learning and assessment

Hello Colleagues, Among my favorite instructional activities are those that can be used to assess how much students have learned. One I use a lot, most recently in the citizenship classes I’ve been teaching, is the classic cooperative learning technique called “Numbered Heads.” In Numbered Heads, students work in a small group of three or four. Each student is assigned a number. The teacher poses a question and indicates which student in the groups is responsible to answer the question. For example, all those with #3 are expected to give the answer.

Formative assessment of reading components


Daphne Greenberg and others of us (e.g., National Research Council, 2012) have noted the challenges with current adult standardized, norm-referenced assessments of reading components. Usually these assessments are used in the summative sense. We have concerns about the psychometric qualities of the standardized measures. Daphne's presentation last week at an American Educational Research Association session reminded again of these issues at many levels of instruments and the process.

Student-generated Questions About Texts

Hello Colleagues, Having students write their own questions about what they are reading can be a great way to start meaningful, textually rich discussions.  Take a look at this video

Mini White Boards

Hello Friends, I'm currently teaching a citizenship class. As part of the naturalization process, individuals must be prepared to write a sentence in response to a dictation. For example, a candidate might be asked to listen to the USCIS officer dictate the sentence, "The White House is in Washington D.C." and then write what they hear. Candidates only need to write one sentence correctly, and they are given three chances to do so. To prepare for this task, I use mini white boards and markers. I dictate a sentence, and students write what they hear.

Teacher's Anecdotal Records

Hello Colleagues, Welcome to spring!

Checklists for Students and Teachers

Hello colleagues, There is an interesting discussion about using checklists as tools for both students and teachers taking place in the College and Career Readiness Standards group. If you are not already part of that group, you may want to check it out!

Cheers, Susan

Moderator, Assessment COP

"Instructional" Rubrics

Hello Colleagues, How have you used rubrics in your teaching? Have your students found these tools helpful? Have you ever engaged students in helping to create a rubric? If so, how did that go for you?

Changes to Formative Assessment Group

Greetings LINCS Community,

Watching and listening for what doesn't happen, and isn't seen or heard

Assessment colleagues,

Thanks to Meagen Farrell who has re-blogged this important formative assessment piece by Grant Wiggens

Although the context is K-12 education, there is a lot here for any teacher who is interested in observing closely what is happening in her/his classroom (a key veriable in teacher quality).


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