Formative Assessment: Weekly Summaries

In our attempt to give concrete examples of formative assessment techniques, we go back to Debra Dirksen's 2011 article "Hitting the Reset Button: Using Formative Assessment to Guide Instruction" where she discusses weekly summaries.

She discusses having students "complete longer writing assignments in which I ask them to write a weekly summary reflecting on what they've learned from class discussion, activities, and reading during the week. To prompt reflection on personal learning, I ask students to respond to the question: What did you learn personally from class discussion, activities, and readings conducted this week? For evaluation, I ask, "How do you think what was taught this week, in class and through your readings, will work in the real world?" And finally, for transformation, I ask, "How will you personally use the information?" This is an opportunity for students to engage with the material and discover what resonates with them (Taylor 2008). I can also use this information as I design future instruction"

This gets the students to really think about what they have learned that week and allows them more processing time, while giving the teacher the necessary information to assess student learning. I highlighted the three aspects of this assessment to underscore their importance: reflection, evaluation and transformation. All of these factors feed into the students getting beyond mere recall of information and being able to use that information in a different way-a key to really learning.


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