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

Journal ArticleDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

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.”

Grades
  • Elementary
Publication Date
1/1/2008

Community ActivitySaved in 918 Libraries

Reviews (6)
  • on Wed Nov 21, 2018 11:43 PM

The probes which were described in this article can be effective tools to help teachers build a bridge between students’ initial ideas and scientific ones. Teachers can use these formative assessment probes to decide the extent to which students make similar connections between developing a concept of matter and a concept of rocks. By working through a lesson on rocks and minerals, students can develop their measurement and observation skills as they apply them to describe the physical properties of rocks. They will record rock data, such as color, size, weight, hardness, texture, and form, then share their observations and compare different rock samples. At the end of the lesson, the teacher can assess students’ mastery of the definitions of rocks through the responses students provide. In the matter unit, the teacher can probe the students’ conception of matter and then try to link their ideas about the matter to their prior ideas about rocks. As a future early childhood educator, this journal article would be extremely helpful for me to teach science to my students. According to this article, understanding science requires a deeper knowledge than just knowing facts or the names of things. We should not only teach the facts or the names of things but also we need to think up effective methods and strategies to deepen students’ understanding of science. Students should learn how to attach new ideas to a framework of scientific knowledge. Teachers need to provide students with opportunities to help them connect science topics when they are related to each other.

Zihan Shao
Zihan Shao

  • 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)


Free - NSTA Members

$0.99 - Nonmembers

Login or Create a Free Account to add this resource to your library.

Share