This video is from the Teaching Channel. (By now you have learned that this channel is my obsession). I was drawn to it because a high school English teacher actually uses this formative assessment strategy. Students use a post-it note at the end of class to write what they learned (green light), their ideas and questions (yellow light), and if anything stopped their learning during class (red light). This is not only data on student learning but data for the teacher about what went well and what didn’t. I would take the red light information and try to avoid it (if it was a distraction, etc.) or work through it (if it was a lack of clarification) the next class. What students learned can help direct the next lesson because you will not have to guess their understanding. This is a fun way of doing an exit slip and I think using this from time to time would change it up. It also provides closure for the students and is easy to administer. This is almost an adaptation of the red, green, and yellow cups from the Classroom Experiment.
Lorrie A. Shepard’s article “Creating Coherent Formative and Summative Assessment Practices” outlines formative assessment practices that are more effective than exams. When students are faced with exams, or one time to shine, they are more worried “about what will be on the test rather than thinking about learning” (Shepard, 2006, p. 41). Grades, which are extrinsic rewards, “can reduce intrinsic motivation” (Shepard, 2006, p. 42). Thus, we need to create a learning culture instead of a grading culture, where students guide instruction and make connections to their interests and prior knowledge (Shepard, 2006, p. 41). Shepard suggests that teachers use pre-assessment, such as KWL charts, provide feedback that relates to the outcomes, allow students to self-assess, and plan with the end goal in mind (2006, p. 42-4). Furthermore, students need time to make changes based on feedback and apply knowledge to new skills and understandings (transfer knowledge) (Shepard, 2006, p. 44).
Shepard (2006) suggested that “replacement assignments and replacement tests or throwing out test scores when learning is verified in later assignments,” allows students to be evaluated fairly (p. 44). I never thought of this but really like the idea; everyone deserves a second chance and some students will take longer to complete an outcome but the goal is simply to complete the outcome, not necessarily all at the same time.
One thing that I have heard often but think is easier said than done, is creating “formative and summative assignments” that are “conceptually aligned” (Shepard, 2006, p. 43). Furthermore, I wonder how much time proper, fair and accurate assessment and evaluation takes. I think it would be best for me to start small and try to implement two proven researched assessment/evaluation practices at a time. I also have to accept that I will get better with practice and time but may need administrative and collegial support at the start.
For more information: Shepard, L. A. (2006). Creating coherent formative and summative assessment practices. Orbit, 36(2), 41.