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Use the backward design process and presentation software to discover what students know.
This article provides excellent background research on the use of the Backward Design model when planning and developing assessment tasks as implied by standards and goals. Besides reviewing the stages of the backward design process, the authors provide a chart composed of formative assessment strategies. Each strategy is placed with particular assessment-tasks: oral-response, written-response, or performance assessment-tasks. Sample formative assessment slides for all three task types are shared. Using interactive white board (IWB) technologies, the authors explain how they incorporate text, digital graphics, sound, and video into a single source to enhance their students’ understanding, address different learning styles, and keep their students’ attention. Even if one does not have access to IWBs, the information on how to create the formative assessment-task slides is useful and could be placed into power point presentations by science concepts or units. I plan to share this article with my science methods classes. It is filled with great ideas for how to continually check for understanding.
Carolyn M (Buffalo Grove, IL)
This article discusses some of the effects that technologies can have on different ways we conduct formative assessments in the classroom. To me, it seemed that the authors were observing assessment through the lens of an engineer, rather like a production manager continuously observing the quality of product output. Very interesting. They sprinkle assessment throughout the lesson, using ubiquitous and varied techniques, kind of like continuous feedback. A lot of the techniques are the same ones we use day in and day out, but often with a new spin. The major drawback is the additions required in existing materials, but they do have the potential to keep the middle school classroom more engaged.
Jennifer Rahn (Delafield, WI)
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