Methods and Strategies: Formative Assessment Probesby: Francis Eberle and Page Keeley

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Formative assessment probes can be effective tools to help teachers build a bridge between students’ initial ideas and scientific ones. In this article, the authors describe how using two formative assessment probes can help teachers determine the extent to which students make similar connections between developing a concept of matter and a concept of rocks. Both probes require students to consider the properties of size, weight, shape, texture, or form in developing a concept of “matter” or “rock.”

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Reviews (5)
  • on Mon Nov 28, 2016 2:55 AM

This article focuses on how to successfully use formative assessment probes and the benefits of using them in the classroom. Formative assessment probes are a useful tool to help determine student’s prior knowledge and understanding of a concept and also to assess if they are comprehending material during or after a lesson. The article focuses on a teacher that uses formative assessment probes during two separate lessons on rocks and matter. I found the article helpful in showing exactly when and how to use a formative assessment probe and how to connect two similar concepts.

Nicole Marion
Nicole Marion

  • on Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:20 PM

I thought this article was a great way to learn about formative assessment in the science class. The article talks about formative assessment probes and how they are questions informed by standards and research on student learning that talk about students’ ideas and ways of reasoning about well known science topics. The probes can help teachers connect students’ initial ideas and scientific tools. I knew what formative assessments were, but this article helped me have a better understanding of how to incorporate formative assessment into my future science classroom

Carly W
Carly W

  • on Sun Oct 23, 2016 5:52 PM

I found this article to be very informative. After reading this, I feel like I have a deeper understanding of formative assessment. This article helped me understand that probing questions help the teacher determine what students already know and how to begin teaching the concept. I really liked that this article provided a detailed example of how to use probing questions for formative assessment. I also thought it was interesting how the teacher was able to connect classification of rocks with classification of matter. This article really helped me realize the importance of background knowledge when teaching a new concept. Formative assessment probes help the teacher determine the best way to proceed in teaching a lesson.

Kelsey Townsend
Kelsey Townsend

  • on Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:49 AM

I loved this article because it showed me what good probing questions look like. It used a classroom learning about rocks and matter. It broke down the instructional planning and design that the teacher used in selecting her probes, I learned a lot from this article. I really enjoyed the following statement, "Understanding science requires a deeper knowledge than just knowing facts or the names of things." That should be the goal of every educator, to make sure that our students know more than just the name of something.

Javaye Stubbs  (Flowery Branch, GA)
Javaye Stubbs (Flowery Branch, GA)

  • on Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:41 PM

This article was a no brainer for me. I am an advocate of formative assessment probes. The article by the authors of several books about assessment probes explains how they can be used. More importantly, the authors explain in the content of understanding about matter what can be learned by using a probe about rocks and matter and their implications to instruction for the teacher.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

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