Various tests and quizzes assess the manner in which students are learning the material of coursework. Formative assessment comprises methods and tools that teachers use to judge students’ academic progress, their comprehensive abilities and learning needs during an ongoing lesson, unit or course.
The characteristics of formative assessment are given below:
- Formative assessment is collaborative in nature. This is because the learning progress of a student and the effectiveness of the teaching methods of teachers can be evaluated at the same time.
- Formative assessments are carried out during an ongoing course.
- The learning progress of students is not evaluated against any standardized set of data. Thus, formative assessment is a ‘fluid’ mode of assessment.
- This mode of assessment, eventually, compels both teachers and students to become wilful learners.
Formative assessment includes tests and quizzes that allow improvements in both the teacher’s instructions and the student’s learning during a course or a lesson. An assessment tool becomes ‘formative’
when it is used in an informative manner to deduce the necessary modifications required in the process of teaching and allow students to easily procure knowledge and skills. The following are some examples of formative assessment:
- Classwork and homework
- Demonstration of understanding of a topic through a concept map
- Outlining the main idea of a unit or lesson through thought exchange
- Group works
- Peer reviews
- Class discussions
- Clicker questions
- Submitting work before the due date to get proper feedback from teachers
Maximum efficiency of formative assessments can be drawn by conducting these assessments regularly, either on the basis of a calendar (any day every week) or according to the lesson plans created by a teacher. Formative assessment allows more flexibility to the teachers as it does not include only tests. It also comprises hands-on activities, class games, group discussions, or presentations. An instructor is flexible to mix up activities and ask students to participate in such events to gauge their knowledge or skills.
During the implementation of formative assessment tools, teachers are instructed to
- foster discussions on the feedback obtained through a formative assessment tool and encourage students to confront their success and failures.
- ensure providing clear and concise feedback through one-on-one discussions or conferences to encourage the students to improve their weak areas.
- provide actionable steps to students to create multiple opportunities for them to meet the criteria for achieving success in a course or unit.
- establish relationships with students to boost their confidence and self-esteem and motivate them to improve their learning since cordial relations between teachers and students allow the closure of learning gaps and help students to meet their set learning objective.