Formative Assessment Models — Easy As Riding A Bicycle

boy-on-bikeWhen I got my first “two-wheel” bike, it was a pretty scary deal. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was filled with “formative assessment.”

My sturdy tricycle didn’t require any balance, not a lot in the way of steering skills, no real braking capability–and the “summative performance assessment” was if I had fun and didn’t fall off. But this new bike measured me every step of the way.

I like to use that example for teachers when I talk about the difference in the two main types of measurement in meeting learning goals.

One way is for us to just keep teaching, and teaching, and teaching–and at the end of the module–give a test. Some students will do well, some not so well, and some fail. (What we used to call the Bell Curve.) That’s a Summative Model, because it sums up what happened. (No, not because “only some students learn.”)

Let’s Try A Formative Assessment Model–And Master CTE Standards For All Students!

In this new model, students are a big part of the measurement. And measurement goes on all throughout the learning process–not just at the end. Learning objectives are posted and each student knows what they must be able to do, and can check off each competency. (Think of those merit badges that Boy Scouts earn.) Here’s a quick 3 minute video that gives you some ideas.

Common Core Formative Assessment Tools

With this model, all students can reach competency with all standards. But it may be messy–since some may be working on different parts of the curriculum at different times, some may be helping others, and some may take a little longer to complete all of the “badges.” Our traditional model assumed that everyone would learn everything in the same amount of time. And when that didn’t happen, we just gave them an “F” and moved on. That doesn’t work anymore.

Here’s a great chart featuring eight ways to include formative assessment in your existing learning:

formative assessment models

Online Tools For Formative Assessment

There are also a large number of online tools available for formative assessment–check out some of these from the NWEA blog:

  • Kahoot - A game-based classroom response system, where teachers can create quizzes using Internet content.
  • Backchannel Chat - Similar to TodaysMeet, this site offers a teacher-moderated version of Twitter. An extension of the in-the-moment conversation might be to capture the chat, create a tag cloud and see what surfaces as a focus of the conversation.
  • GoSoapBox - Free for less than 30 students, this all student response system works with the BYOD model, so no charge for a clicker. One of the most intriguing features for me is the Confusion Meter
  • Lino - A virtual corkboard of sticky-notes so students can provide questions or comments on their learning. These can be used like exit tickets or during the course of a lesson.
  • Poll Everywhere - Teachers can create a feedback poll or ask questions. Students respond in various ways and teachers see the results in real-time. As Steven indicates, with open-ended questions you can capture data and spin up tag clouds to aggregate response. You should note that Poll Everywhere has a limit to the number of users. Mentimeter (which we’ve listed below) does not which makes it a little more functional.
  • Socrative - Engaging exercises and games that engage students using smartphones, laptops and tablets.
  • AnswerGarden - A tool for online brainstorming or polling, educators can use this real time tool to see student feedback on questions.
  • Ask3 - This app for the iPad allows students and teachers to collaborate on lessons both in and outside of the classroom. Questions can be posted to specific classrooms set up in the app, and students can add their thoughts, answers, and thinking to the whiteboard.
  • AudioNote - A combination of a voice recorder and notepad that captures both audio and notes for student collaboration.
  • BubbleSheet - An app that allows students to complete assignments and common assessments using an iPhone or iPad Quizzes up to 10 questions are free.
  • Coggle - A mind mapping tool designed to understand student thinking.
  • Conceptboard - This software facilitates team collaboration in a visual format – similar to mind mapping, but using visual and textual inputs. Compatible on tablets and PCs, Conceptboard can work from multiple devices.
  • Five Card Flickr - Designed to foster visual thinking, this tool uses the tag feature from photos in Flickr.
  • ForAllRubrics - This software is free for all teachers and allows you to import, create and score rubrics on your iPad, tablet or smartphone. You can collect data offline with no internet access, compute scores automatically and print or save the rubrics as a PDF or spreadsheet.
  • Formative Feedback for Learning - An iPad app that is designed to foster and encourage communication between students and teachers. Through a conference setting it uses icons to prompt discussions. Dylan Wiliam, our resident formative assessment expert, says, “Formative Feedback for Learning looks very useful. I can see myself recommending it to others.”
  • Google Forms - A Google Drive app that allows you to create documents that students can collaborate on in real time using smartphones, tablets and laptops.
  • iBrainstorm - An iPad app that allows students to collaborate on projects using a stylus or their finger on screen.
  • I>Clicker - A device that helps facilitate all student response to polls, questions and other teacher-led discussions.
  • iLEAP Pick a Student - Helps the teacher pick a student from the class, and uses turn-based selection so every student is selected before a student is picked again. Supports multiple classes and has a number of selection options.
  • InfuseLearning - A platform by which teachers can engage all students on any device, getting valuable formative feedback along the way.
  • iThoughts - This mind mapping app for Apple’s iFamily® is a great visual tool to help you brainstorm ideas, plan projects and themes, and set goals. As students discuss ideas and possible answers to discussions, educators can visually see the path that their thinking takes, helping to understand how students are learning.
  • Mentimeter - Allows you to use mobile phones or tablets to vote on any question a teacher asks, increasing student engagement.
  • Padlet - Provides an essentially blank canvas for students to create and design collaborative projects. Great for brainstorming.
  • Pick Me! - An easy to use app for the iPod, iPad and iPhone that facilitates random student selection. Can be organized by class for convenience.
  • PollDaddy - Quick and easy way to create online polls, quizzes and questions. Students can use smartphones, tablets, and computers to provide their answers and information can be culled for reports.
  • RabbleBrowser - An iPad app that allows a leader to facilitate a collaborative browsing experience.
  • QuickVoice Recorder - Another free voice recording app for the iPhone or iPad that allows you to record classes, discussions or other project audio files. You can sync your recordings to your computer easily for use in presentations.
  • Random Name/Word Picker - This tool allows the teacher to input a class list and facilitates random name picking. You can also add a list of keywords and use the tool to have the class prompt a student to guess the word by providing definitions.
  • SMART Response VE (for SMARTboards) – A cloud-based software that enables students to respond to planned and spontaneous questions and take quizzes using any of their favorite Internet-enabled devices, from anywhere.
  • Tagxedo - A tag cloud generator that allows you to examine student consensus and facilitate dialogue.
  • ThinkBinder - A collaboration tool that allows students to ask questions and discuss topics in a group, share, create and work together on almost any project.
  • TodaysMeet - This online collaboration tool allows educators to create a “room” in which students can share ideas, answers and thoughts to lectures and lessons. Educators can view student responses in real time for evidence of learning.
  • VoiceThread - Allows you to create and share conversations on documents, diagrams, videos, pictures or almost anything. This facilitates collaborative student discussion and work.
  • Vocaroo - A free service that allows users to create audio recordings without the need for software. You can easily embed the recording into slide shows, presentations, or websites. Great for collaborative group work and presentations.
  • Wordle - Generates tag clouds from any entered text to help aggregate responses and facilitate discussion.
  • XMind - A mind mapping software for use on computers and laptops.

(Note:  This post was first published on the blog at AES Education, where it became hilariously popular.)