Sunday, May 25, 2014

EDUC 7726 Formative Assessment Middle School Math Class

This week we took a deeper look at formative assessments in my EDUC 7726 course.  Formative assessments are widely used throughout education to determine where our students are with a particular topic or content strand.  Teachers use these assessments to modify their lessons to help the students better understand information.

For this week's assignment, we were asked to select 3 different types of formative assessments that teachers could use technology with in their classrooms.  I have used technology in my classroom often, but not as often as I would like with formative assessments.  Since I was on a class field trip this past week as well, I decided to ask my students what type of technology they would be interested using with formative assessments.  They gave me a lot of ideas of things they used in classes before and also some that they have heard about from friends at other schools.  The 3 different types of formative assessments that I have chosen to discuss this week cannot all be applied into my own personal classroom, since my school district does not allow bring your own device (BYOD), but I wanted to investigate some of the ideas that my students have heard about that they would like to eventually use for formative assessments.

For a formative pre assessment, the teacher will create a presentation using PowerPoint that utilizes the TurningPoint system that allows students to use clicker devices to submit answers to questions on the screen.  The teacher will receive immediate feedback of each student's answers.  In addition, the students will see the results after the polling is complete.  The teacher will have the chance to address each question and explain the correct solution.  Once the pre assessment is complete, the teacher can use the data to determine what content areas need to be covered and what prior knowledge the students have and what they might need more background information in prior to the unit.

Throughout the unit, students will use the InteractMath website to complete lesson checks at the end of each lesson.  In addition to being able to print out their results, the students can also check their answers as they go through each lesson and the site provides feedback if the answer is incorrect.  This is great tool for students because of the feedback portion and for teachers since it is already created and aligns with the content material.  There are a variety of courses that are available on the website, which allows for teachers to differentiate if needed when providing instruction.  Although this site is run by Pearson publishing, the interactive lesson checks can be used with any middle school or high school math class.  The chapters might not align perfectly with other textbooks, but the content is the same across math courses.  A teacher might need to do a little front work finding the lesson that correlates with the lesson they want the students to complete.

As a formative post assessment, the teacher will create an assessment using Socrative.  If a school offers BYOD, the students can use their own personal devices to complete the assessment.  The system also provides the teacher the opportunity to open an assessment after school hours and allows students to complete the assessment at home or outside of school not during school hours.  There is a tutorial that can be found on the Digital Texts and Tools website.  This tutorial will walk teachers through the process of setting up an account and creating assessments.

It was important for me to find formative assessments that would not only engage students, but that would also provide immediate feedback to the students and the teacher.  Since most classrooms may not be equipped with enough devices for all students to use at once, it is important for teachers to keep in mind access and availability to technology.  It was also important for me to find programs that offer immediate data that is collected and displayed for teachers to analyze and use for their instruction.

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