Exciting Methods for Formative Assessment You Read that Right!

How do you know they know?

  • Observation of behaviors, actions, and products.
  • Methodology includes formative and summative assessment.
  • Formative deals with assessment during the process of learning.
  • Summative deals with assessing the results of what was learned.
  • Strong instruction includes rich diversity of both.
Formative Assessment Needs to be Exciting

For Your Library

Free methods book
  • Preview ideas pp. 24-27
  • Content ideas pp. 98-103
  • Process ideas pp. 104-119

Formative Assessments for Preview


  • Examining images tied to the content to be studied is always a great preview. Asking questions that start simple and build to complex is also a way to see what kind of knowledge students bring to the table.
  • Getting them into the text and want to check their understanding of key content vocabulary is a challenge in any discipline (science, social studies, etc.) - So create a word cloud from all the vocabulary that is to be studied. Use it as an image and ask questions about what they recognize and don't.
Newton's First Law of Motion

Other ideas include:

  • Having students respond to analogies
  • Creating an entrance slip where students give initial response to essential question.
  • Comparing personal experience with key concepts
  • Using TCI Reading Challenges as a pretest, recording the score, and using it to compare growth later.

Formative Assessments for Content


  • Using graphic organizers for students to take notes. Examples could be venn diagrams, spoke diagrams, illustrated outlines, matrices, annotated images, illustrated timelines (for history), mind maps, T-charts, and sensory figures.
  • Notes should do more than just be a place to hang content. The student should be challenged to do something with the content that demonstrates both learning AND understanding.
Example of Sensory Figure
  • Lesson activities and investigations can/should be used as a formative assessment.
  • HA! The US through Industrialism, Lesson 7: Students participate in a game of Capture the Flag. They compare their experience to the determining factors of the war for independence from Great Britain—examining the strengths and weaknesses of each side, important battles, and other key factors in the conflict—to determine how the British were defeated.
  • Bring Science Alive! 3rd Grade, Unit 4, Lesson 4: Students play a game to simulate birds hunting moths. They gather data during the game. They use the data to construct an explanation for why some moths have a better chance of surviving than others.
  • A variation of the exit slip for 1:1 schools is to post a question on an LMS platform like Google Classroom, Edmodo for students to respond to.
  • If students have access to mobile devices, you could even have them text their response and call it a "Text it Slip."
  • Teaching strategies can be varied to build in formative assessment with rich classroom discussions. Here is a video describing one such strategy:

Formative Assessments for Process


  • Poetry, flow-charts, commemorative markers, book covers, caricatures, illustrated dictionaries, journals, mosaics, perspective pieces, cartoons, posters, report cards, spectrums!!
Many cartoon websites provide students an opportunity to visualize concepts and provide teachers with insight as to how deep students understand material.
  • Having students create simple models can be powerful. Here a student was challenged to create an edible cell model. YUM!
Idea from: http://adventuresinmommydom.org/science-sunday-edible-cell-model-for-elementary-kids/
  • Pict-o-words can be challenging ways for students to process key terms. Take a look at these student examples of different forms of government:
From https://www.pinterest.com/pin/85427724154949140/

Contact TCI

  1. Visit us at http://teachtci.com or email us at info@teachtci.com
  2. Contact Brian Thomas: bthomas@teachtci.com, @Brian_ThomasTCI (Twitter), 877-874-7821
Created By
Brian Thomas


Created with images by flickingerbrad - "student_ipad_school - 146" • craftivist collective - "People and Planet 'Shared Planet' student conference, Manchester, November 2009" • Orange42 - "Waiting for Time to Pass" • erephas - "Hands up!" • Barrett.Discovery - "Insect Exhibit in the Barrett Discovery Lab" • lcr3cr - "science class dissect" • C. VanHook (vanhookc) - "Happy Cast" • jill111 - "stack of books vintage books book" • Prayitno / Thank you for (10 millions +) views - "The Holy Family in Egypt" • George Alexander Ishida Newman - "Juicy Steak" • stokpic - "hands world map" • nateOne - "Thank You"

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