Formative Assessment

Formative Assessment

AITSL STANDARD: 5.1 – Assess Student Learning

Develop, select and use informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative assessment strategies to assess student learning.

The worst a teacher can feel is when they realise that their students just don’t get it.

They go back to the drawing board and examine every part of their planning. Was the assessment not clear enough? Should I have revised more? Did I push them to hard, too soon?

So many questions that can be fealty with fairly easily. This comes down to the way we assess.

Summative Assessment is the final assessment, such as an in-class test. This is a commonly used tool for reporting, but how about those weeks of preparation prior to test? Now, summative assessments are essential to reporting; however, it can be a case of too-little, too late, if students bomb on their test. What you need is formative activities that allow you to see if students understand the content and whether they require further teaching to deepen their knowledge. Formative Assessment is the process of assessing student learning during the learning process. Checkout this helpful guide below:

Below, I have outlined a range of fantastic formative assessments that you could use with students to check their understanding.

Digital Glossary of Terminology

As students are working through their learning and acquiring new knowledge, have them create a glossary of terms that they can use in the classroom. Have them record their terms at the back of their book, or they can create their own bookmark. Either way, it is a visual tool that they can use to keep up to date with their learning.

Brain Dump

A brain dump is simply a type of brainstorm that students can use to get al of their prior knowledge down on the page. Have students record their ideas down on their paper and then have a discussion with students as a whole class. Record their ideas down on the whiteboard. Remember to main the questions accessible for students – it has to be with their zone of proximal development.

3-Way Summaries

This one is a simple one. Summarise a topic using 10–15 words long, 30–50 words long, 75–100 words long.

Venn Diagrams

Venn diagrams are a fantastic tool for comparison. Looking at Bloom’s Taxonomy, it is also a higher-order thinking task that requires depth of understanding. As always, provide students with plenty of discussion time and record their ideas on the whiteboard.


Again, another tool for comparison represented a little differently. Students simply draw a T in their book at label each side (In this example, internal and external problems, respectively). You can then split students up into groups or smaller expert groups where they have to focus on only one section of their task. They then return to the group to share and consolidate what they have learnt.

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