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Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment that Works

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Sandra Clough

on 30 October 2013

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Transcript of Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment that Works

Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment that Works
Using Writing to Check for Understanding
Why use formative assessment?
Most of the checking for understanding done in schools is ineffective. We assume that students self-regulate enough to be aware of what they do and do not understand. (Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment Techniques for Your Classroom.)

"Any questions?" "Do you understand?" "Does that make sense?"
What is formative assessment?
An important step in the teaching and learning process:
identifies and confronts misconceptions that can interfere with learning
improves learning
provides students with a model of good study skills
What formative assessment is not:
Final exams, CRCT
End of unit or course exam
For grades, promotion
Used to determine mastery
On-going assessments, reviews, and observations in a classroom.
Used to improve instructional methods and improve student feedback throughout the teaching and learning process
It is assessment which helps us distinguish between teaching and learning.
Understanding by Design
- Begin with the end in mind

- Think about outcomes, goals and objectives - then plan for instruction

-A significant part centers on use of assessments that focus on student understanding.
-Wiggins, 1999
Differentiated Instruction
-Teachers need to use a variety of assessment systems (and regularly check students' understanding) to know whether or not our instructional interventions, modifications, accommodations, and extensions are working.
Why is checking for understanding important?
It's linked to other common educational initiatives.
Closing the Achievement Gap
Because time is of the essence, instruction should be focused to ensure that students are learning, thinking, understanding, comprehending, and processing at high levels.

Checking for understanding is a must!
Model of school reform

-Advocates for precision teaching that is data driven and provides feedback to students to monitor their own learning.
Oral Language Strategies in Checking for Understanding
Accountable Talk
Noticing Nonverbal Cues
Value Lineups
Misconception Analysis
Whip Around
1. Press for clarification
2. Require justification
3. Recognize and challenge misconceptions
4. Demand evidence
5. Interpret and use each other's statements
Resnick, 2000
Value Lineups
Students are asked to evaluate a statement and then line up according to their degree of agreement or diagreement with the statement
After forming a single line, the line is then folded in half so that the students are paired with another student who has a differing view.
Effective Quesitoning Techniques
1. Prepare the question
2. Present the question
3. Prompt Student Responses
4. Process Student Responses
5. Reflect on Questioning Practice

(Questioning and Understanding to Improve Learning and Thinking)
Using Oral Language to Check for Understanding
Accountable Talk
Misuses of Oral Language
Teachers of high performing students talk 55% of time vs. low performing at 80%.

Helping Students Who Respond Incorrectly
-Hold accountable later
Instructional Practices that Promote Participation and Engagement
Response Cards (pre-printed/write-on)
Hand Signals (thumbs up, thumbs down)
Audience Response Systems
ReQuest (Reciprocal questioning)
Socratic Seminar
There is evidence of increased student performance when writing is used as a tool for thinking.
Interactive writing
Summary writing- precis
RAFT- Role/Audience/Format/Topic
RAFT prompt for 6th grade social studies
R: Marco Polo
A: Potential recruits
F: Recruitment poster
T: Come see the Silk Road
Interactive Writing
Individual students, small groups, whole class

Orally agree on message
Students take turns writing on chart paper

Teacher asks students to write a section of the message (letter, word or phrase)
Whole group reads the message aloud and think of what might come next, teacher guiding
Can be used to write
letters, essays, retelling
events in history,
describing a process in
science or math,
listing important words
and phrases
from a reading passage

A short piece that contains
major ideas and concepts.
The emphasis is on word economy and accuracy of the read.

Summary is a process that should be taught and not just assigned.
Using Projects and Performances to Check for Understanding
Don't just assign a project for students to do independently.
Make sure you include:
Learning appropriate goals (Essential question - open-ended, thought-provoking)
Scaffolds for Student and Teacher Learning- have a trial run if possible
Frequent Opportunities for Formative Assessment and Revision
Opportunity for group and individual accountability
PBL and Project Based Learning
Should have an end product in mind
Examples include:
Readers' Theater
Multimedia Presentations
Electronic and paper portfolios
Visual displays of information
=Graphic organizers
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