Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Topic: Productive Assessment

10-second review: Having taught the “perfect” lesson on recognizing iambic pentameter, the author asked students to copy just one line of iambic pentameter from any source on an index card. One-third of the class was able to do so. If she had not had the students attempt this application of what she had taught them, she would never have known that her lesson had failed as much as it did. Two-thirds of the students could not reproduce a sentence from any source in iambic pentameter. That’s “formative” assessment.

Title: “Formative Assessment: Can you Handle the Truth?” J Gorlewski. English Journal (November 2008), 94-97. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: “Formative” assessment is used after interim activities. It shows the teacher how well the students understood what had been taught. If the class does not succeed in the “formative” assessment, the teacher can use additional activities to help the students to understand. “Summative” assessment is a final assessment that does not allow for further teaching, as in “high-stakes” testing.

Comment: “Formative” assessment is only common sense—if the teacher can “handle” the truth that a number of students have not succeeded in learning what has been taught. RayS.

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