Instructional Strategies, Teaching Tips and Tricks

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Fabulous Formative Assessment – What in Looks Like in Action

Formative Assessment is Not for Grading 

I will say it again, formative assessment is not used for grading, but rather is an opportunity for students to learn and for teachers to fill in any gaps –before they are graded. Formative assessment is used before instruction to discover what students know and during instruction to find out students’ level of understanding and just how they are progressing towards a particular learning goal.

Because formative assessment isn’t used for grading, students are comfortable making mistakes and asking for help. They are free to do their work, without the cloud of a grade hanging over them. Evidence suggests that the best students use all information formatively. Struggling students, however, are more apt to have negative feelings after failure. These feelings often get in the way of student learning. For struggling students, the value of any feedback is lost – overshadowed by low grades. Formative assessment offers the opportunity for every student to learn to use and value feedback.

What Formative Assessment Looks Like in a Fifth Grade Classroom

Elizabeth Chapin-PInotti Story Clues + What I Know Equals InferenceClose your eyes and imagine you are a fifth-grade teacher and today’s learning goals include applying reading standards for literature, specifically: RL 5.1.1 and 5.1.2: Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

This is a new skill for fifth grade and students are working on interactive notebook pages for the
novel the class is reading. In their reading, they have analyzed the text and participated in a “Prediction” Think-Pair-Share – to call upon skills they learned the previous year. You are scaffolding on this information to help your students understand “inference.”

As students work, you sit with Billy to discuss his notebook. You have a three-ring binder open to a page with the headings: Child’s Name/Date, RL 5.1 Making Inferences, Teaching Point and What’s Next for this Child? Farther down the page is a sticky note listing five students’ names. These are the five children you will assess today.

Your initial purpose is to follow-up on feedback you provided two days ago based on evidence elicited from an interaction with Billy; in that previous interaction, you determined he struggled with predicting – thus making inference difficult.

You: You are working on inference – you know – coming to a conclusion made by connecting what
Elizabeth Chapin-Pinotti Inferring Worksheet from Fabulous Mr. Fox
you already know with the new information we’re reading in x novel.

Billy:  Well, in the first chapter of the Fantastic Mr. Fox, the mean and nasty farmers eat things they raise: chickens, geese, ducks and turkeys. I know that foxes like to eat these things.

You: Good, so what can you infer from that?

Billy: I can infer that there will be some problem with the fox and the farmers chickens, geese, ducks and turkeys.

You help Billy recognize what an inference is and review his work. As you are working with Billy you are filling out your formative assessment binder.

After you circulate the room, you realize that many of your students just aren’t grasping the connection between prediction and inference, so you pull together a mini-lesson.


You’ve quickly and simply learned what students know and do not know, you have the information tucked away in your binder and should continue to refer to the information in your binder to drive instruction.

Formative Assessment Freebie: The Fantastic Mr. Fox
43- Formative Assessments for Classroom Use
FREE! 2nd grade NBT.1 Formative Assessment!
Book Two: 60 Formative Assessment Strategies

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