7 Smart and fast ways to do Formative Assessment

Education plays a vital role in building up a good human being. How much a person knows or we say the level of education inculcated in the student is assessed by periodic checks known as examinations or exams. Exams play a crucial role in maintaining discipline as well as knowledge sharing in a classroom by the teacher.

But, there is a fact that many students, irrespective of their age, find exams of all sorts extremely traumatic. However, exams, despite the uneasiness they cause, are very important for the overall development of a student. Let us now understand in brief detail why exams are important in a student’s life.

Importance of Exams

Here are a few reasons why exams are important:

  1.  Exams indicate one’s ability to communicate

Just because you know a lot of facts does not mean you are good at communicating that knowledge in real life. Since exams are built up in different formats, it allows a student to exhibit if they can even express what they’ve learned or not and in a manner that is clear, brief, and easy to understand by others who may or may not be related to the respective subject.

  1.  Exams provide a balanced assessment

Exams test students in different circumstances – short answers, long answers, essays, multiple-choice questions (MCQs) – so they can present the information they know and how they can apply it. Moreover, exams indicate how well a student has understood a particular subject. It is important to have a fair assessment of a student’s abilities.

  1.  Exams add a responsibility factor

Because exams carry weightage, it is the reason most of the time what compels a student to sit up and learn. Moreover, the consequences of failing the examinations add a much-needed responsibility factor that motivates a student to not lapse.

  1.  Exams identify weak spots

Many people pay surrogate writers to write their essays and develop the quality of the text. There are even instances of students attaching professionals to assist with building project presentations. Classroom-based exams, however, are difficult for any student to cheat on, making them an important way of testing for student evaluation.

  1.  Exams exercise your brain

Exams challenge your mind to search your memory storage for information that is relevant and necessary during the exam – you can think of it just as an exercise for your brain. Research indicates self-testing and self-examining boost the learning process even further as it engages a student actively and fully.

Without exams, many students wouldn’t have the motivation to sit in the classroom, actively participate and learn or retain information, or even present if they are qualified for the career paths they plan for their respective futures.

Types of Assessments

Several types of exams can be used to judge a student’s learning and skills. When it comes to types of assessments, we have two main types of assessments that are used to check how much a student has learned so far. The level of difficulty of each assessment and exam varies with varying standards.

The two types of assessments are:

  1. Formative Assessment
  2. Summative Assessment

Let us now discuss these two types in detail.

  1.  Formative Assessment

The final goal of formative assessment is to monitor student learning to provide proceeding feedback that can be used by the teachers to improve their teaching ways and quality and by students to improve their learning process. 

Precisely, formative assessments help students recognize their strengths as well as their weaknesses and target the areas that need improvement. Also, the formative assessments help the faculty as well to recognize where students are facing difficulty so that they could provide solutions for their problems immediately.

Formative assessments are generally low-pressure. That means a student does not feel much pressure or uneasiness while preparing for it. This also means that they have a low or no point value. Examples of formative assessments include asking the students to:

  • submit one or two sentences explaining the main point of a particular lecture
  • draw a concept map in class to show their understanding of a topic
  • give back a research proposal for early feedback

2.  Summative Assessment

The goal of summative assessment is to evaluate how much a student has learned at the end of an instructional unit such as a session or a particular period by comparing it against some standard or benchmark. 

Summative assessments are often of high value as compared to formative assessments, which means that they have a high point value. Examples of summative assessments include:

  • A semi-annual exam
  • A paper
  • A final project
  • A senior report regarding what the students have learned so far

7 smart & fast ways to do formative assessments

Now, let us discuss some of the ways that can be used to do formative assessments fast.

  1. Entry and exit slip: Those borderline minutes at the beginning and end of class can provide some great opportunities to find out what kids remember. Start the class off with a quick question about the previous day’s work while students are getting settled. This helps to make a quick revision for the assessment.
  1. Easy quizzes and polls: If you want to find out whether your students know as much as you think they know, polls and quizzes can help you get a better knowledge of how much they understand in reality.
  1. Dipsticks: Dipsticks are the so-called alternative formative assessments that are meant to be carried out easily. These can be things like asking students to write a letter explaining a key idea to a friend, sketch to represent the knowledge visually, or do an exercise with a partner.
  1. Interview assessments: You can also try discussion-based assessment methods in the classroom. Casual chats with students in the classroom can help them feel comfortable and simultaneously get a sense of what they know, and you may find those five-minute interview assessments worth conducting.
  1. Misconceptions and errors: Provide the students with a common misunderstanding and ask them to apply the knowledge they gained previously to correct the mistake, or ask them to decide if a statement contains any mistakes at all, and then discuss their answers.
  1. Methods that incorporate art: Try using visual art or photography or videography as a way of assessment. Whether students draw, sketch, create a collage, or sculpt, you may find that the assessment helps them blend their learning. 
  1. Self-assessment: Don’t forget to consult the experts—the kids. Often you can give your course to your students and have them spot their strengths and weaknesses by themselves. This helps in building a self-understanding and self-building attitude in your students.

About the article

Exams play a crucial role in maintaining discipline as well as knowledge sharing in a classroom by the teacher. In this article, we have discussed the types of assessments. We have also discussed precisely some smart fast ways to do formative assessments.

Jack Marque

Digital Marketer with over 15 years of experience. Certified Digital Marketer and Educator by Google, HubSpot, and many other companies. An ex-employee @uber and @zomato

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