Monday, November 07, 2011

Formative Test Lens

Formative tests provide an important lens to student learning and teaching.  A formative test imparts the following information:
  • Specifically what a student grasps and what he/she struggles with.
  • The little things: correct copying, lining up numbers, careful print, following directions.
  • What teaching works--if most or all miss it, that's an instructional issue.
  • Who needs reteaching related to one test, most tests.
  • Students who need alternate teaching strategies and possibly new seating.
  • The classwork/homework learning connection: do test scores match up with classwork and homework scores/performance.
  • Information that informs follow-up teaching strategies.
  • A quick way to report student performance to family members.
Correcting a set of formative tests may take one-two hours.  It's a time consuming task, but a task that positively affects student learning.