Monday, 15 September 2014

Formative Assessment and Learning Intentions

Despite being quite a bit of a procrastinator... and that it's currently lunch time and I was going to use this time to print out bits and pieces for my Y10s on the Freedom Writers... I'll write up some quick questions for printing in a minute for their next session of their second viewing of the film...

Was sent this video by my current mentor Phil about formative assessment. We were asked to watch it in regards to our inquiry and what kind of links it makes. Am interested in your thoughts here as well - please comment about your understanding of formative assessment too.

I actually find the term formative assessment quite difficult to navigate - merely for the fact that it is so scientific. Despite knowing that pedagogy is the art and science of education - the terminology puts me off. Same with summative assessment. It took me a long time to get my head around it after training college and am still trying to find a better phrase that makes sense to me.

Formative assessment is any piece of work that has been assessed to see where the student is at - basically it's prior knowledge stuff - for the teacher to see what they know already - before they start a topic perhaps. That's how I see it anyway.

Summative assessment on the other hand is assessment that is done after the learning. It is where you give the most feedback and feedforward. I see summative assessment as the most helpful as with formative assessment it is ongoing so for me there is a lot more verbal and visual feedback and feedforward and some written feedback.

Please correct me if I'm wrong :)

In regards to the above video - I think that it's important to be aware that every student comes into the classroom with their own knowledge, their own experiences, their own mindsets and understandings. These of course will be different to everyone else and as such they need to be listened to equally and have the opportunity to share their personalised understandings individually and within a group setting as well.

I was just discussing with Feray, another establishing teacher at my kura, about the video Phil sent us and what formative and summative assessment meant for me. She agreed so I think I'm on the right track.

In regards to inquiry and learning intentions - Dylon Wiliam says that it's better to have a question on the board rather than a specific learning. This prompts the students to give their own ideas and perspectives straight away where as having a learning intention (often for me - long winded and needs explanation), takes extra time to write down and I suppose it's often meaningless busy work to start the day.

My best lessons are when we begin at one place with a question, discuss it as a class, develop our ideas, improve and debate our thinking - because that's when true learning is happening. Everyone is giving their ideas and everyone is sharing. That's assuming that you are making sure your introverted and quiet students have an opportunity to speak or share as well.