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inFormative Assessment

inFormative Assessment
When It's Not About a Grade

Edited by:

September 2009 | 136 pages | Corwin

Use assessment as a powerful tool to inform instruction and learning!

With practical, informed assessment techniques, you can increase your instructional effectiveness and demonstrate improvements in student learning. This research-based book, part of the In A Nutshell series, provides a succinct yet substantive discussion about formative assessments and how they impact the teaching/learning cycle. The authors present results-oriented methods, offer invaluable tips, and examine three types of inFormative assessments:

  • Routine inFormative Assessments to weave into everyday instruction
  • Reflective inFormative Assessments to foster self-assessment for students and teachers
  • Rigorous inFormative Assessments to provide continuous tools that inform teaching practices and student learning

About the Authors
Opening Quote
Part I: Purpose/Goals
Part II: "A Suite of Assessments"
Part III: Background/Research
Part IV: Overview of the Book and Chapter Format
1. Routine Formative Assessments: All Day, Everyday-Flow
Scene of Scenario (for Reader's Theater Activity)  
Define, Describe, and Give Real-World Examples  
Lap Boards  
Traffic Light Cards  
Color-Coded Multiple Choice Cards  
Tongue Depressors  
Name Cards  
Mr. Parnes' Questions  
Mr. Pete's Questions  
Questioning Procedures  
Pose Question  
Allow Wait Time  
Choose a Respondent Using a Random Method  
Provide Some "Save Face" Option  
HOT Questions  
Woven Questions  
Rhetorical Questions  
Hands Up Only to Ask a Question Policy  
Cooperative Learning (Informal)  
Wait Time  
Equal Opportunity to Respond  
Unpacking the Language of Standards/Tests/Instructions  
2. Reflective Informative Assessments: Many Days-Conversations
Scene or Scenario (for Reader's Theater)  
Define, Describe, and Give Real-World Examples  
People Search  
Human Graph  
Rubrics/Checklists (Criteria in Kid-Friendly Terms)  
Little Book of Reflective Tools  
Step Book  
Cooperative Learning Roles and Responsibilities  
Peer Tutors  
Traffic Light Indicators  
Student Portfolios  
Tear Share  
Magic Book  
Mrs. Potters' Questions  
Ms. Poindexter's Questions  
Range Finding Questions (Prior Knowledge)  
Hinge Point Questions (During Instruction)  
Rubric Development With the Class  
Use of Benchmark Papers  
Descriptive Feedback  
Reflective Questions (Metacognition)  
Peer Assessment (Peer Editing)  
Cooperative Learning  
Interactive Conversations  
Teacher - Student/Student - Teacher  
Student - Student  
Student - Self  
Email Buddies  
Comments That Reference Criteria, Instead of Grades  
"There Are _ Wrong. Find Which Ones."  
Focused Marking (One Aspect of Element)  
Grading: Omit Zeros, Omit Averages, Require Students to Do Missing Assignments  
3. Rigorous Informative Assessments: Some Days - Philosophical Shift
Scene or Scenario (for Reader's Theater)  
Define, Describe, and Give Real-World Examples  
Performance Tasks  
Performance Checklists  
Performance Rubrics  
Grading Practices  
Informative Grading  
Informative Grade Book  
Gray Area About Grade Books  
Standards-Based Grade Books  
Color-Coded Grade Books  
Electronic Grade Book  
Electronic Test Creation Software  
Performance Based  
Tests, Test Questions, Test Analysis  
Ungraded Practice Test  
Developing Test Questions  
Test Questions: Fat/Skinny (or Whale/Minnow) Questions  
Test and Work Analysis: Examining Student Work  
Summative Assessment as Informative Assessment  
Philosophical Shift, Between Formative and Summative Assessments  
How Can You Use a Summative Assessment in a Formative Manner?  
Item Analysis  
Robust Distractors  
Application Activity  
4. Closure
Attribution Theory (Dweck, 2007)  
Tomlinson Summary Points

"Fogarty and Kerns provide far more than theory and rhetoric—they have effectively created a treasure trove of tools and ideas that every teacher can and should be using. This is a wonderful resource for mentors, instructional coaches, administrators, and professional development trainers."

Nancy A. Farrell, Staff Development Trainer
Loudoun County Public Schools, Ashburn, VA

"Provides new and veteran educators with clear descriptions of assessment methods and offers a rich array of instructional strategies that can be implemented immediately."

Mary Ellen Kotz, Education Associate for Educator Mentoring and Induction
Delaware Department of Education

"Promotes the kind of reflective practice that energizes teaching, leading, and learning for all. This book is an important resource for professional learning communities dedicated to 1) assessment of students and their achievement, 2) collaborative teams focused on improved teaching and learning, and 3) continuous improvement."

Valerie Hastings Gregory, Assistant Director of Professional Development
Chesterfield County Public Schools, VA
Key features

  • A research-based, "at-a-glance" guide written in a conversational tone with practical ideas and results-oriented strategies
  • Organized around 3 levels of assessments: Routine, Reflective, and Rigorous
  • Each chapter follows the same format and includes:
    • Teachings: definitions, examples, descriptions and explanations
    • Tools: tried-and-true, hands-on manipulatives for promoting assessment processes
    • Techniques: methods for using assessment to inform instructional decisions
    • Tasks: practical applications
    • Tips: cues from experts about what, when, and how to use the information successfully
  • Each chapter features its own spectrum of formative assessment tools and techniques to help teachers assess student work and academic progress in an ongoing, continuous, and consistent manner
  • The closure discussion is focused on the overriding concept that informative assessment celebrates student success and its relationship to student attitudes and confidence

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

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ISBN: 9781412975421