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Formative assessments are woven throughout a series of lessons structured upon the 5E Instructional Model.
I highly recommend reading this article about the various ways teachers can use formative assessments in their 5E lesson planning. I found page 34 of the article a useful reminder of the many ways I can assessment my students throughout each step of my 5E lessons. The assessment template and exit ticket ideas in the article motivated me to create a formative assessment for a physical science lab my students are currently working on. Thank you Kathleen Adair Creghan and Casey Creghan for a great article!!
Yoli Gonzales (Boise, ID)
This is such a wonderful resource. The examples of assessment in this article can be applied to almost any lesson in science. I highly recommend this to anyone needing more collaboration ideas for their science classroom, or anyone that needs new ways to assess their students.
The NSTA journal article that I reviewed was “Assessing for Achievement” by Kathleen Adair Creghan and Casey Creghan. The article was about how to weave formative assessments into a lesson or unit based upon the 5E Instructional Model to improve achievement scores. The first thing that stuck out to me in the article was when the Creghan’s (2013) stated, “In today’s world of standardized testing, some elementary science teachers may struggle to help students move from active engagement in hands-on science experiences to high levels of achievement on paper-and-pencil tests” (p. 29). This resonated with me because it is so true and not only with science but with other major subjects such as reading and math. A teacher may cover all the required content areas of a curriculum but the students may still score low on their required state tests.
The second thing that stuck out to me was the Creghan’s (2013) discovery which was to “carefully weave formative assessments throughout each phase of the 5E Instructional Model” (p. 29). There are five phases which are engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate. The Creghan’s believed that by going through these five phases it would improve test scores and confidence in the students. This resonated with me because it is something that I could understand. I was able to follow their advice step by step and it step included different assessments to check for understanding. For example, in the first phase, engage, a teacher is tapping into the student’s prior knowledge of science or any other subject by doing a simple assessment activity called “Top Five.” In this activity the students make a list of five things they know about a topic or lesson by writing it in their journal or on a sticky note. A teacher is able to see what the students know and see any misconceptions. The students will be able to find answers to these things throughout the lesson and will be able to evaluate their learning by the last phase.
So this article was simple and to the point about how to weave assessments into your lessons that will help achieve understanding and scores in the long run.
The authors of this article describe how they weave formative assessments throughout 5E lessons on mixtures and solutions. They include detailed discussion on each step of the lessons. A useful chart of assessment ideas for each phase of a 5E lesson is included. Assessing students as they progress through a lesson gives the teacher a guide to help determine how to handle the next phase of the lesson.
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)
The article is definitely worth reading. The author provides examples and checklists along with practical ideas for implementation in the classroom. The "Top Five" idea is an excellent springboard for shared idea "triggers" to develop and deepen articulation of prior knowledge. The checklist provided during the Explore segment of the lesson increases student accountability, ownership, and clarity of project goals. I also like the idea of differentiation based on student progress in the Explain vs. Elaborate segments. Also of value is the addition of student comments on rubrics because the students must evaluate their own performance and communicate their understanding to the teacher. The natural next step is moving from a performance evaluation to the more formal "testing" questions as students often have difficulty translating acquired knowledge into accurate answers on from test back of formal assessment type questions.
The beginning of this article says that, “Science teachers my struggle to help students move from active engagement in hands-on science experiments to high levels of achievement on paper-and-pencil tests. As soon as I read this I thought to myself this is so true. As I continued to read I was looking forward to finding out how to fix this struggle that teachers have through the 5E instructional model. The lesson example that was given in the article really made it make sense on how a teacher could assess throughout a unit so that their students could go from hands-on to paper-pencil and still be successful. I like the thought of having the students tell about the top five to help with understanding what they already know/don’t know during the engage phase of the lesson. Open ended questions while students are exploring are also a great way to assess where they are. By far, my favorite idea was the ticket out the door. I’ve used this idea before, but not like the example that was given. Instead of just using the ticket out the door to see what students have learned, the teacher used this to regroup the students the following day – “Ah-ha” Why didn’t I think of doing this? This would provide a great opportunity to help students who were still struggling (to get the ready for assessment) and to enrich those who already knew it. I do this with pre-tests, why wouldn’t I do this on a daily basis using tickets out the door or other quick assessments I use during a unit?
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