Procedures for Formative Assessment

Tools for Formative Assessment

How does it work?

Concept Mapping

  1. Select the concept/theme you wish students to use as a starting point.
  2. Create a concept map:
    • Identify related key words or phrases. Write down words and key phrases.
    • Rank the concepts (key words) from the most abstract/general to the most concrete/specific.
    • Cluster concepts that function at similar level of abstraction and those that interrelate closely. Start to determine the ways the various concepts are related to each other and write that on the lines connecting the concepts.
    • Arrange concepts into a diagram.
    • Continue identifying the ways the various concepts are related to each other and write that on the lines connecting the concepts.
  3. Add second and third level associations, if appropriate.
  4. After students have completed the concept maps, present your own example to the students and walk through it with them step-by-step, explaining your thinking as you created the concept map.

Important Considerations for Using Concept Maps

  • Concept mapping can be a very demanding cognitive task for students.
  • Concept maps require a large amount of time and energy from faculty to formally assess; concept maps are generally not graded.
  • Large classes may be managed easier if concept map assignments are assigned to small groups.

Other ideas

  • Use a top down approach, working from general to specific or use a free association approach by brainstorming nodes and then develop links and relationships.
  • Assign a concept map as a small group activity to alleviate anxiety.
  • Extend the activity by having students write an explanatory essay based on their maps.
  • Construct a concept map and then remove all of the concept labels. Ask students to replace the labels in a way that makes structural sense.
  • Create a concept map and then remove concepts from the nodes (about one-third of them). These deleted concepts are placed in a numbered list on the map and students choose among them.
  • Provide a list of concept labels (10 to 20) and ask students to construct their maps using only these labels. The focus here is on the linking relationships, and the evolution of structural complexity of students’ knowledge frameworks.

Student-Generated Test Question

  1. In groups or individually, students write 2 (or more) test questions that test concepts.
  2. Questions can be of the following forms (this is up to the instructor): multiple choice, or short answer. Students write the question as well as the answer.

3-2-1 Reflection

In reaction to presented content, students are asked to take a few moments and jot down:

  • 3 ideas or learnings from what was presented
  • 2 examples of uses for how the ideas could be implemented
  • 1 unresolved area / muddiest point

Students are then asked to share their ideas in pairs or small groups. Use the responses to help guide teaching decisions. Consider areas of curriculum that need to be reviewed again or specific concepts or activities that are most interesting for students.

Other ideas

  • Use 3-2-1 to transition into class discussion.
  • Student can complete 3-2-1 as individuals, pairs, or small groups.
  • Make the 3-2-1 questions content specific (differences, similarities, etc.)

Differentiation Grid

  1. Carefully choose your content topic. Make sure the content can be organized in a grid with rows and columns.
  2. Create a blank grid for students to fill in.
  3. Explain the purpose of the exercise.
  4. Let students know how much time they will have, what kinds of responses you are looking for (words, bullets, short sentences), and when they can expect feedback.
  5. Handout blank or partially filled grid. Have students work on in class, individually or in groups. Provide an example grid if this is the first time you are presenting a differentiation grid.
  6. Students complete the grid and hand-in.
  7. Review and analyze results
    • Analysis: Scan the completed grids and compare to your key grid for correct responses vs incorrect responses – focus on patterns in the responses.
    • Results: Record the number of each correct or incorrect response into a spreadsheet or Canvas gradebook where data can be reported in a variety of methods. Look for common misconceptions or errors. This could indicate recall problems, difficultly categorizing information, or insufficient teaching focus on a particular topic or category.
  8. Provide feedback and clear misconceptions at next class meeting.

Muddiest Point

  1. Determine what feedback you want. Do you want to ask a question that encompasses the entire class session or one self-contained segment? Do you want to ask a question related to a specific lecture, discussion, or presentation? Figure out what is of most value or where students struggle the most.
  2. Reserve a few minutes at the end of the class session. Leave enough time to ask the question, have students respond, and to collect the responses.
  3. Let students know how much time they will have to answer the question and when you will follow up with the results and provide feedback.
  4. With so many students using laptops and tablets, it is plausible students will not have extra sheets of paper. Plan on distributing slips of paper or index cards for students to write on.
  5. Collect the responses as or before students leave.
  6. Respond to the students’ feedback during the next class meeting. Share with students how responses will be used as a guide to plan the next instruction.

Other ideas

  • Follow up a traditional muddiest point exercise by asking students what could be done to help clear up the “muddy points” for them.
  • Use a two column response exercise. One side is labeled “crystal clear” and the other column is labeled “muddiest point”. This alternate version helps students reflect on their own learning as they think about what they do and do not understand.
  • Use muddiest point to review work outside of class (e.g. lab or homework assignment).