I spent the morning yesterday at a district instructional coach meeting, and one of our sessions was on formative assessment as a tool for differentiation. Do you get the connection between assessment and differentiation? Formative assessments are assessments that inform instruction (for learning), while summative assessments are assessments of learning. Only by knowing where each student is on their learning path can we truly differentiate their instruction.
As a short side note, we had an interesting conversation as we tried to categorize a list of assessments as either formative or summative. For example, we usually think of a test as summative, but as elementary teachers don’t we still use that information to drive instruction? If I give a unit test on addition and subtraction strategies and Johnny makes a 56, won’t I still use that information to continue remediating Johnny? I sure hope so!!
One more quick comment before you grab a cold soda and enjoy the video. Notice that the teacher knows the most common mistake that students typically make on the type of problem she has given them on this day, and she has addressed that mistake in her instruction to the point that her students no longer make it. That is critical, but it’s the kind of knowledge that can take time and experience to acquire. Want to fast-track that process (I hear lots of people yelling YES!!!)? The book Math Misconceptions is a fantastic resource for better understanding the most common mistakes that PreK-5 students make on every conceivable type of problem.
Okay, time for the video! As always, I’d love to hear your comments.
If you have trouble seeing the embedded video, here is a direct link.