Sunday, March 15, 2015

How do you assess your students learning? Summative and Formative assessments in Elementary Schools

A couple of weeks ago I was listing to a #EDCHAT podcast on assessments (formative and summative) while running on the treadmill (one of the best ways I have found to get past the boredom) and it made me think more about how we assess our students in schools.  A few of the discussion points focused on standardized assessments based on geographic locations whether it was an end of course/grade or ISTEP.  These assessments are the most natural summative assessments as teachers and school leaders do not receive scores that impact the students’ learning and most of the data is very vague in assisting with the planning process.  This just strengthens our need to have a way to assess our students that impacts our teaching and more importantly their learning. 

At #NCTIES2015 I had the opportunity to hear from a group of educators from Flat Rock Elementary in Surry County who shared their top 8 ways to assess without a formal test. Here are some of them (I added in Socrative)

Some great tools to use:
QR Codes codes
kubbu (have to log every 180 days) --
Socrative – 3 types of ways of giving the assessments – self paced, groups paced, or teacher paced
Plickers - no ipad app yet just phone
Jeopardy Labs - create jeopardy games with up to 12 teams

All of these tools are good to use with kids, but to truly be a formative assessment and impact learning students need to receive immediate feedback.  Feedback needs to be more than “good or not correct”.  Each of these tools starts the conversation but isn’t the whole conversation.  It is important for our teachers to create assessments that start the conversation and then have the power to extend the assessments and not just move to the next question.  If you just move on the next questions are teachers needed?  I continue to see more and more nicely wrapped educational software and sites that will “fix” students.  Many of these sites are neat and provide great practice for students, but do we want to teach our students through a one-sided computer?  

I hope not…