Formative Assessment Probes: Assessment for Allby: Page Keeley

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This column focuses on promoting learning through assessment. This month’s issue describes some of the features of formative assessment probes designed to broadly address all students as well as ways teachers can make further modifications to meet the diverse needs within their own classrooms.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (4)
  • on Sun Feb 09, 2014 1:48 AM

Having a tool to determine what students already know helps teachers adjust instruction from the very beginning of a unit. A Page Keeley assessment probe is just the tool. Each probe covers a different science content area. Many probes are packaged by science categories and published as NSTA Press books. Most of the probes are designed to be used with all age groups and learner types. This article suggests ways to tweak the probes for specific cultures or special needs learner groups. For example, if one has a large student population of Native American children, in the “Is It Food?” probe, the teacher could choose to switch out the majority of food items with foods more familiar to this student population. One teacher created an animated version of a probe to engage her visual learners. She used the Puppy Pals iPad app to tweak the “Chrysalis” probe. The article provides several great ideas for improving the ability of this tool. It allows teachers to see their students’ thinking. As a result, many common misconceptions are uncovered at the beginning of a new unit of instruction.

Carolyn M  (Buffalo Grove, IL)
Carolyn M (Buffalo Grove, IL)

  • on Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:23 AM

The author of this article suggests ways to change a probe to fit cultures such as changing the names in the probe or changing the objects in the probe. To accommodate students with English language limitations pictures can be added to the probes or the wording can be changed. There is an excellent web resource given in the article to help with this. The article goes on to discuss how to adapt the probes to different learning styles. Having read most of Page Keeley’s articles and probes, I would say this is one of the most informative articles I have read!!

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:05 PM

I liked this article because it broke down how to asses your students and how to get to your students to communicate their ideas and their understanding of a material. I learned that we need to change the probes to help students learn better, and we can also add things to the probes to help students better understand the material. I think this goes great with TEK 3.3 A because it shows you how to analyze and evaluate your students. I think this article helped remind me that each student comes in with a different diverse background, and each student knows something a little bit different than the next. I think this article helped me see different ways of approaching teaching different topics to different students.

Hannah Lehman  (Dalhart, TX)
Hannah Lehman (Dalhart, TX)

  • on Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:30 PM

The article “Assessment For All” focuses on the importance of allowing students to share the ideas that help their learning, by using assessment probes. These probes include a wide range of methods of assessment and different ways for students to communicate their ideas and express their understanding and explanations of science concepts in ways that match their development level and abilities. This column emphasizes on the importance of making the learning of science concepts relevant to students’ lives. Each child comes into the classroom having diverse backgrounds and experiences, cultural backgrounds, learning types, and cognitive development. These factors determine how well they learn and understand science concepts. The article says that students must learn science concepts in culturally responsive ways.

Sydney F
Sydney F

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