Practical formative assessment strategies for the flipped classroom. Let’s do this!

This post is contributed by Dr. Cathy Box (@cathybox), one of the Flipped Learning Global Research Fellows. She first posted this on her blog HERE

Educators around the world are beginning to see the benefits of the flipped classroom and we’ve seen more and more teachers leveraging the power of technology to improve instruction. In a nutshell, flipped learning is a pedagogical model where the typical lecture and homework elements of instruction are reversed.  Students watch a video before coming to class that serves as the lecture, then they have the opportunity to work collaboratively during class time on their homework or related projects. If you are not familiar with the flipped classroom I recommend that you check out the Flipped Learning Network to learn more. The bottom line is this: in the flipped classroom we have a golden opportunity to take learning to a new level. Rather than spend our time talking, we can spend our time listening…and mentoring…and guiding the learning experience.

This novel approach to instruction and a shift in how we spend face to face time with our students necessitates a change in our assessment practices. If you want to get the most bang for your buck out of the flipped classroom, it critical that you purposefully plan and implement effective formative assessment strategies. My blog post on the Flipped Learning Global Initiative site provides some insight that you might find informative.

Here are several strategies that you can easily implement into the learning environment that are formative in nature and dovetail nicely with the flipped (or any learner-centered) classroom. However, don’t forget that formative assessment aka Assessment for Learning is a process, not a strategy (more details here). Schedule time into your curriculum to implement these strategies. Don’t just use them as fillers or extensions to implement if you have time. Using these strategies with fidelity will result in higher quality work and will certainly pay off in the long run.

Some practical strategies:

TSAR – Think, Share, Advise, Revise – click here for description. This powerful peer assessment strategy improves the quality of work by leaps and bounds. I use it for assignments that are subjective and time-consuming to grade. After students have finished their project or work to be graded, use class time to have them TSAR the assignment. Then allow them the opportunity to make revisions before submitting their final work for a grade. This encourages students to become active partners with each other and with the teacher in the teaching/learning process.

Strong and Weak Work – click here for description. This strategy (adapted from Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning) strengthens students’ evaluative thinking by letting them assess examples of quality and less than quality work. The goal here is to help students attain an understanding about accuracy and quality that is similar to yours. You can use it in several different ways, depending on the kind of learning target you are teaching and assessment method you will use. I use this strategy before giving the students their assignment.

Feedback Form for group projects – click here for the editable handout. Require students to complete the “Our Opinion” section of this form and turn it in with the rough draft of their assignment. Then after a quick assessment of their work, provide success/intervention feedback that describes their strengths and what you think they need to do to improve. Students then work together to formulate an improvement plan and submit to you for approval before completion and a final grade.

Tracking My Progress – click here for the editable handout. Make the learning targets clear and allow students to track their own progress by providing them with a checklist of their I Can statements then have them traffic light where they are in relation to mastery. Use map colors to label their work green, yellow or red according to whether they think they have good, partial, or little understanding of the objective after each checkpoint or opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of the objective. Before the unit is over, they should be able to provide concrete evidence of mastery. If they cannot, then find an opportunity to reteach and close the learning gap until they get it.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes! You can do this….

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