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The concept of formative assessment does not necessarily have to be associated with traditional teaching and learning. We can use it to diversify and enrich our lessons because formative assessment has a number of advantages for both learners and teachers of English.
What formative assessment is about, how to use it in class and benefit from it — read in this blog.
In a nutshell, formative assessment is when a teacher monitors what students already know while they are still learning. The main purpose of formative assessment is to identify whether your students are successful in learning, and determine how to build their learning and adjust your teaching in the future.
On the other hand, formative assessment is all the tools we can use to check how well students have mastered the material.
It can take the form of a quiz or an individual task, a game, group work, a project, a presentation, Q&A sessions, tests, etc.
All this helps the teacher to assess whether the aims of individual lessons, units/modules, long-term and short-term goals have been met. In addition, such assessment helps keep students on track to achieving language acquisition goals within the curriculum.
1. If you use formative assessment regularly (for example, do a quiz every Friday), it provides an element of regularity and safety for students.
2. Formative assessment can take many forms, so it breaks the monotony of the traditional classroom environment, where the learning-testing-learning system prevails.
3. Formative assessment does not require the use of traditional marks such as numbers (1-12) or letters (A, B, C, D).
Instead, the «pass»/«fail» system or even colours, stars, or other symbols are used. This relieves some of the stress from students and allows them to simply focus on language acquisition instead of grades.
4. Formative assessment has a positive impact on language acquisition.
Say goodbye to boring lessons and hello to engaged students
Each class is a group of different students, with different abilities and levels of English. That’s why we cannot use a universal approach to teach them.
Thus, it is quite a flexible tool in the hands of the teacher.
We have put together some ideas to help you conduct formative assessment in your English classrooms. The main thing to remember is that formative assessment should be simple, because, as a rule, such measures are needed only for checkup, not for actual assessment. The point is to learn about the progress of individual students or the class as a whole.
One of the most effective ways to test comprehension is to give a student the role of a teacher, and ask him/her to teach another student what he/she has already learned. Students will understand what you have taught them when they can successfully teach another student.
Alternatively, ask students to write three test questions that they think relate to the topic of the lesson on their own. This can be a multiple-choice question, a gapfill, or a short-answer question. In the next lesson, conduct a quiz using questions written by your students.
Students can create a large number of projects that will demonstrate their understanding. Short-term projects help students apply higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. These should be small and easy tasks that can take a day, afternoon or even an hour to complete. Here are some ideas for quick projects:
At the end of the lesson, ask students to write down:
To describe a character or a person, students compose a poem that contains:
Place a series of tasks or sticky notes in the classroom. Students walk around the class and write the answers with markers. They can also choose an arrow to «add» to the ideas of their peers or tick the ideas they agree with.
This task is quite fun, and can also help weaker or shy students, because they will see the answers of more advanced peers.
ESL games and activities for the classroom to teach "to be"