Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment Techniques for Your Classroom

Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment Techniques for Your Classroom

Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment Techniques for Your Classroom

Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment Techniques for Your Classroom

Synopsis

What teacher hasn't sometimes believed that the entire class understands a lesson, even though only a few students are nodding their heads and answering questions? Later, the teacher is dismayed when many students fail a related test. Why aren't students getting it? And, just as important, why didn't the teacher recognize the problem?

Excerpt

By Jay McTighe

Educational Author and Consultant

Anyone who has ever played or coached a team sport already understands the basic idea of this book—ongoing assessment and adjustment are the key to improved performance. Ironically, this principle, well established in athletics and the arts, is frequently overlooked in the academic classroom. Indeed, too many teachers consider assessment as a means of obtaining grist for the grade book, instead of the process underlying progress. Of course, evaluation and grading have their place, but let's not forget the wisdom in the old farmer's quip, [You don't fatten the cattle by weighing 'em.] As every effective coach understands, success in the [game,] in this case, the summative assessment, begins in practice. In fact, coaching involves repeated cycles of ongoing assessment, feedback, and instruction as the primary means for improving individual and team performance. The same logic applies in the classroom.

Checking for Understanding embodies this wisdom, contending that assessment can (and should) serve academic learning, not simply as a means for measurement and evaluation. To that end, the book highlights the importance of formative, or ongoing, assessment and its role in the teaching and learning process. The research and rationale for formative assessment are clearly presented in each chapter.

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