Mar 25
Forming Formative Assessment

Since I joined our Teacher Education department, I have been doing some online teaching – where the entire course is delivered asynchronously using LEARN.

One of the challenges I have encountered is how to do meaningful formative assessment online. So today I'd like to share a few lessons learned, but first a short review:

Formative Assessment
​Summative Assessment
​Assessment FOR Learning
​Assessment OF Learning
​"A Moving Picture"
​"A Snapshot in Time"
​How can I help my students learn more?
​What have my students already learned?
​Purpose: To improve learning
​Purpose: To prove learning
​Low stakes; low or no marks
​High stakes; for marks

While both are important, I'm convinced that formative assessment is the key to effective instruction. Here are a few tips I have found helpful for doing formative assessment online using LEARN:

  • Allow students to submit draft assignments for feedback before the deadline.
  • Break large assignments up into smaller parts so students get more feedback more regularly.
  • Encourage self-reflection of assessments using the rubric before the deadline.
  • Use discussion posts for no/low marks to see how the class is understanding a particular subject; then use a summary post to affirm or redirect the overall conversation.
  • Give feedback to the entire class. Regular news items can be used to explain parts of an assignment that were done well, and parts that need improvement overall.   
  • Invite students to submit a concept map of how the concepts they are learning relate to one another.
  • Assign a quiz for low or no marks so students can practice.

What are you using for formative assessment online?


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Great ideas, Janine! We alr...

Great ideas, Janine! We already do some of these, but as I begin teaching online this week, I realize how much I rely on nonverbal feedback from my students to gauge their understanding. How many of us have noticed that students' furrowed eyebrows mean something in our communication has gone wrong? But it's hard to see those furrowed eyebrows even in a Webex meeting. The tools that you've suggested, such as quizzes, concept maps, or discussion forums, are good substitutes for the immediate feedback that we may be used to receiving from our students.
Picture Placeholder: Gail Horvath
  • Gail Horvath
 on 3/25/2020 11:16 AM

Gail - you make such a good...

Gail - you make such a good point about how we rely on non-verbal communication cues for our understanding of the students' own understanding. No matter how good the tech tools are that we're using, losing the f2f 'live' connection makes the communication that much more challenging for all parties involved. Good luck with your online teaching this week!
Picture Placeholder: Amanda  Le Rougetel
  • Amanda Le Rougetel
 on 3/25/2020 11:36 AM

This is excellent. I'm goin...

This is excellent. I'm going to post it on our Dept Teams Site.  Thank you both!!!
Picture Placeholder: Michael Whalen
  • Michael Whalen
 on 3/25/2020 12:50 PM

Great point Gail. I also re...

Great point Gail. I also rely on that constant feedback very much.
Picture Placeholder: Michael Whalen
  • Michael Whalen
 on 3/25/2020 1:07 PM