Formative Assessment During My Teaching Career

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During my teaching career, assessment has played a critical role in ensuring that my students’ learning needs are being addressed. In particular, assessment for learning has provide me with on-going information as to how my students are understanding new concepts.

When I first started teaching, the importance of assessment as a part of the teaching and learning process was not considered a priority. However, when I was introduced to formative assessment through the WNCP document (2010), I realized how essential it was to continually monitor student learning using various techniques.

It was then that I also received my own personal exposure to formative assessment while working as a curriculum developer with Inuit Elders. I was bestowed
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When I have my mathematics students participate in an outdoors team trigonometric measurement competition, they all are required to provide feedback by responding to the questions:

What useful contribution did your teammate make to the process? and How could the entire exercise been improved for you?

This gives students an opportunity to provide positive and meaningful feedback to their peers as well as reflecting on the exercise itself.

Another critical aspect of formative assessment is for use in determining student misconceptions before introducing new concepts. I usually give students an initial quiz before I begin my science unit on Light to determine what understandings students are starting with. Even a simple, open-ended question such as:

What is light?

results in incredible insights into student thinking. Then a Multiple choice question such
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In addition, when I noted that one student was having particular trouble due to gaps in his learning, I created some differentiated instructional strategies for him. Without using some of these formative assessment techniques, I would not have known that some students were struggling in order to apply remediation in a timely

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