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Formative Assessment in the Science Classroom

Science teachers have a tough job.  Not only are they expected to teach complex concepts, but they also have to teach students how to apply these complex concepts to new situations.  Science teachers can just stand in front of the class, lecture and hope that the students get it (also known as the “spray and pray” method), or they can try to meet students where they are in the learning process.

Enter formative assessment.  Unlike assessments given at the end of a unit, formative assessments are quick checks for understanding that give teachers valuable insight into the minds of their students.

The key to a good formative assessment is that it is quick and easy, especially in the science classroom.  There are mountains of content to cover, and there is simply no time to waste.  Formative assessments can be given during the last few minutes of class, and the best part is that they don’t need to be graded.  They simply exist to give teachers feedback about how well their students are learning.

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Consider these tools:

Here are some tried and true formative assessment tools that all science teachers can use to better inform their teaching:

Another option is for students to place their exit tickets in colored baskets according to their level of understanding.  This also allows students to take it a step further and self-assess their understanding.

Image source: 1

Image source: 1

So, there we have it: seven simple ways to formatively assess students in the science classroom.  Do you currently use formative assessments?  Are there any other formative assessments that you would recommend to teachers?

Additional Resources:

Linda Dunnavant is a middle school teacher whose blog, “Tales of a Fifth Grade Teacher,” can be accessed here .

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14 Examples of Formative Assessment [+FAQs]

formative assessment examples for science

Traditional student assessment typically comes in the form of a test, pop quiz, or more thorough final exam. But as many teachers will tell you, these rarely tell the whole story or accurately determine just how well a student has learned a concept or lesson.

That’s why many teachers are utilizing formative assessments. While formative assessment is not necessarily a new tool, it is becoming increasingly popular amongst K-12 educators across all subject levels. 

Curious? Read on to learn more about types of formative assessment and where you can access additional resources to help you incorporate this new evaluation style into your classroom.

What is Formative Assessment?

Online education glossary EdGlossary defines formative assessment as “a wide variety of methods that teachers use to conduct in-process evaluations of student comprehension, learning needs, and academic progress during a lesson, unit, or course.” They continue, “formative assessments help teachers identify concepts that students are struggling to understand, skills they are having difficulty acquiring, or learning standards they have not yet achieved so that adjustments can be made to lessons, instructional techniques, and academic support.”

The primary reason educators utilize formative assessment, and its primary goal, is to measure a student’s understanding while instruction is happening. Formative assessments allow teachers to collect lots of information about a student’s comprehension while they’re learning, which in turn allows them to make adjustments and improvements in the moment. And, the results speak for themselves — formative assessment has been proven to be highly effective in raising the level of student attainment, increasing equity of student outcomes, and improving students’ ability to learn, according to a study from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 

On the flipside of the assessment coin is summative assessments, which are what we typically use to evaluate student learning. Summative assessments are used after a specific instructional period, such as at the end of a unit, course, semester, or even school year. As learning and formative assessment expert Paul Black puts it, “when the cook tastes the soup, that’s formative assessment. When a customer tastes the soup, that’s summative assessment.”

formative assessment examples for science

14 Examples of Formative Assessment Tools & Strategies

There are many types of formative assessment tools and strategies available to teachers, and it’s even possible to come up with your own. However, here are some of the most popular and useful formative assessments being used today.

Students break out into small groups and are given a blank chart and writing utensils. In these groups, everyone answers an open-ended question about the current lesson. Beyond the question, students can also add any relevant knowledge they have about the topic to their chart. These charts then rotate from group to group, with each group adding their input. Once everyone has written on every chart, the class regroups and discusses the responses. 

This formative assessment style is quite flexible and can be used in many different settings. You can ask individuals, groups, or the whole class high-level, open-ended questions that start with “why” or “how.” These questions have a two-fold purpose — to gauge how well students are grasping the lesson at hand and to spark a discussion about the topic. 

These written summaries of a lesson or subject ask students to complete three separate write-ups of varying lengths: short (10-15 words), medium (30-50 words), and long (75-100). These different lengths test students’ ability to condense everything they’ve learned into a concise statement, or elaborate with more detail. This will demonstrate to you, the teacher, just how much they have learned, and it will also identify any learning gaps. 

Think-pair-share asks students to write down their answers to a question posed by the teacher. When they’re done, they break off into pairs and share their answers and discuss. You can then move around the room, dropping in on discussions and getting an idea of how well students are understanding.

This formative assessment tool can be written or oral and asks students to respond to three very simple prompts: Name three things you didn’t know before, name two things that surprised you about this topic, and name one you want to start doing with what you’ve learned. The exact questions are flexible and can be tailored to whatever unit or lesson you are teaching.

This is a great participation tool to use mid-lesson. At any point, pose a poll question to students and ask them to respond by raising their hand. If you have the capability, you can also use online polling platforms and let students submit their answers on their Chromebooks, tablets, or other devices.

Exit and admission tickets are quick written exercises that assess a student’s comprehension of a single day’s lesson. As the name suggests, exit tickets are short written summaries of what students learned in class that day, while admission tickets can be performed as short homework assignments that are handed in as students arrive to class.

This quick, formative assessment tool is most useful at the end of the day to get a complete picture of the classes’ learning that day. Put one minute on the clock and pose a question to students about the primary subject for the day. Typical questions might be:

These types of assessments are likely already part of your evaluation strategy and include projects like posters and collage, skit performances, dioramas, keynote presentations, and more. Formative assessments like these allow students to use more creative parts of their skillset to demonstrate their understanding and comprehension and can be an opportunity for individual or group work.

Dipsticks — named after the quick and easy tool we use to check our car’s oil levels — refer to a number of fast, formative assessment tools. These are most effective immediately after giving students feedback and allowing them to practice said skills. Many of the assessments on this list fall into the dipstick categories, but additional options include writing a letter explaining the concepts covered or drawing a sketch to visually represent the topic. 

A majority of students enjoy games of some kind, and incorporating games that test a student’s recall and subject aptitude are a great way to make formative assessment more fun. These could be Jeopardy-like games that you can tailor around a specific topic, or even an online platform that leverages your own lessons. But no matter what game you choose, these are often a big hit with students.

Interview-based assessments are a great way to get first-hand insight into student comprehension of a subject. You can break out into one-on-one sessions with students, or allow them to conduct interviews in small groups. These should be quick, casual conversations that go over the biggest takeaways from your lesson. If you want to provide structure to student conversations, let them try the TAG feedback method — tell your peer something they did well, ask a thoughtful question, and give a positive suggestion.

Allow students to take the rubric you use to perform a self assessment of their knowledge or understanding of a topic. Not only will it allow them to reflect on their own work, but it will also very clearly demonstrate the gaps they need filled in. Self assessments should also allow students to highlight where they feel their strengths are so the feedback isn’t entirely negative.

Participation cards are a great tool you can use on-the-fly in the middle of a lesson to get a quick read on the entire classes’ level of understanding. Give each student three participation cards — “I agree,” “I disagree,” and “I don’t know how to respond” — and pose questions that they can then respond to with those cards. This will give you a quick gauge of what concepts need more coverage.

List of Formative Assessment Resources

There are many, many online formative assessment resources available to teachers. Here are just a few of the most widely-used and highly recommended formative assessment sites available.

FAQs About Formative Assessment

The following frequently asked questions were sourced from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), a leading education professional organization of more than 100,000 superintendents, principals, teachers, and advocates.  

Is formative assessment something new?

No and yes. The concept of measuring a student’s comprehension during lessons has existed for centuries. However, the concept of formative assessment as we understand it didn’t appear until approximately 40 years ago, and has progressively expanded into what it is today.

What makes something a formative assessment?

ASCD characterized formative assessment as “a way for teachers and students to gather evidence of learning, engage students in assessment, and use data to improve teaching and learning.” Their definition continues, “when you use an assessment instrument— a test, a quiz, an essay, or any other kind of classroom activity—analytically and diagnostically to measure the process of learning and then, in turn, to inform yourself or your students of progress and guide further learning, you are engaging in formative assessment. If you were to use the same instrument for the sole purpose of gathering data to report to a district or state or to determine a final grade, you would be engaging in summative assessment.”

Does formative assessment work in all content areas?

Absolutely, and it works across all grade levels. Nearly any content area — language arts, math, science, humanities, and even the arts or physical education — can utilize formative assessment in a positive way.

How can formative assessment support the curriculum?

Formative assessment supports curricula by providing real-time feedback on students’ knowledge levels and comprehension of the subject at hand. When teachers regularly utilize formative assessment tools, they can find gaps in student learning and customize lessons to fill those gaps. After term is over, teachers can use this feedback to reshape their curricula.

How can formative assessment be used to establish instructional priorities?

Because formative assessment supports curriculum development and updates, it thereby influences instructional priorities. Through student feedback and formative assessment, teachers are able to gather data about which instructional methods are most (and least) successful. This “data-driven” instruction should yield more positive learning outcomes for students.

Can formative assessment close achievement gaps?

Formative assessment is ideal because it identifies gaps in student knowledge while they’re learning. This allows teachers to make adjustments to close these gaps and help students more successfully master a new skill or topic.

How can I help my students understand formative assessment?

Formative assessment should be framed as a supportive learning tool; it’s a very different tactic than summative assessment strategies. To help students understand this new evaluation style, make sure you utilize it from the first day in the classroom. Introduce a small number of strategies and use them repeatedly so students become familiar with them. Eventually, these formative assessments will become second nature to teachers and students.

Before you tackle formative assessment, or any new teaching strategy for that matter, consider taking a continuing education course. At the University of San Diego School of Professional and Continuing Education, we offer over 500 courses for educators that can be completed entirely online, and many at your own pace. So no matter what your interests are, you can surely find a course — or even a certificate — that suits your needs.

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Formative Assessment for Science Literacy

Published On:    September 07, 2021

Updated On:    

Formative assessment gets teachers closer to an often-elusive goal: understanding how well students are learning material while they're still in the process of learning it. Often, assessments of student learning are conducted at the end of a lesson or unit in the form of a test, quiz or essay. On the other hand, formative assessment offers quick, real-time insight into how well students are absorbing and comprehending science material. Educators preparing for a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction – Science Education will want to become familiar with formative assessment as one potential tool for guiding their teaching. Formative assessments are non-graded feedback tools. They can be thought of as " check-ins ," helping a teacher guide the next few days of instruction. Has the class absorbed the material yet? Do certain areas need clarification? Are some students struggling while others are ready to move on? Formative assessments ideally take up little instruction time. Instead, they're efficient touchpoints for gauging students' comprehension of scientific concepts and shaping upcoming lessons accordingly.

Formative assessment is contrasted with "summative assessment," which is a test, essay or project given at the end of a unit or lesson to assess how much students have learned , rather than how much learning is taking place. Tests and projects are often individual, graded assessments that don't offer students an opportunity to adjust or improve their comprehension of the material. In this way, formative assessments are more oriented towards improving student learning while it is still happening.

Benefits of Formative Assessment

Formative assessments aren't just for the instructor's benefit. They also provide non-graded feedback to students about their own science learning . This type of assessment can help students realize when they're stuck or confused before the panic of an exam sets in. They may also identify students who are easily grasping concepts and who might be ready for a next-level learning challenge. Research has shown that students who self-regulate their learning are more likely to develop feelings of empowerment and autonomy.

There's also evidence that formative assessments can help students retain information. Judith Dodge, author of 25 Quick Formative Assessments for a Differentiated Classroom , writes that "in the rush to cover more, students are actually learning less. Without time to reflect on and interact meaningfully with new information, students are unlikely to retain much of what is 'covered' in their classrooms."

Formative Assessment for Science Education

Formative assessment can take many shapes — from basic "exit ticket" notecards to interactive online polls. Here are a few strategies that science instructors can incorporate into their classrooms:

Exit Tickets: One of the most affordable and straightforward methods involves only notecards and pens. " Exit tickets " involve asking students to answer a question or apply a science concept in written form on a notecard, which they turn in to the teacher as they leave the classroom. Participants can then sort the cards into three groups: those who understand the material fully, those who are almost ready to apply the material, and those struggling to grasp the material. Teachers can then assess which students need more help and gauge whether the whole class needs to review the material.

Think-Pair-Share: Another popular and low-cost tool involves asking the classroom a question based on the day's science lesson. Students are invited to write their answers and ideas on a piece of paper and are then split into pairs to discuss their individual answers. (During this time, a teacher can visit with each pair to assess individual students' comprehension.) After discussion together, the students are invited to present their conclusions jointly to the class.

Basketball Discussions: Most classroom discussions are like ping-pong — the teacher asks a question and a student answers. A basketball discussion encourages discussion between and among students, and it can even incorporate an actual basketball or hacky sack to make it a tactile experience. In this assessment, the teacher questions a student, who then asks another student a question (passing the ball, if a physical one is used). That student answers, then asks a question of another student, and so on. This is a technique for science instructors to engage students beyond the typical "hand-raisers" and gain insight into how much material the class has absorbed from a lesson.

Learn more about The University of Texas at Arlington's Online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction – Science Education program .

Edutopia: 7 Smart, Fast Ways to Do Formative Assessment

NWEA: Developing a Student Exit Slips Strategy for Formative Assessment

Reading Rockets: Think-Pair-Share

Scholastic: What Are Formative Assessments and Why Should We Use Them?

Storyboard That: Unknown Story

TeachHub: How to Teach Students Self-Regulation

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Assessing with Purpose: Formative Assessment in Science

What is formative assessment, and what makes it so powerful? According to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), formative assessment is defined as a process used during instruction to elicit evidence of learning to improve student understanding. HMH’s senior assessment specialist Amanda Bratten describes it like this: “ Formative assessment allows teachers to collect real-time data to inform next steps. It’s low stakes (no grades), timely (happens in the middle of learning), and helps to improve the teaching and learning process.“

Teachers can use real-time data gained through making observations, questioning and prompting students, or evaluating classroom discourse, to assess learning and get students back on track.

Though state-level assessments are essential, classroom-level formative evaluations provide vital information pertaining to teaching and learning. They help teachers plan their instruction and allow students to reflect on their thinking. HMH Into Science includes dynamic formative assessments to monitor student progress and guide instruction.

How does HMH Into Science use formative assessments?

Educators can use the carefully designed formative assessments featured in HMH Into Science units to support teaching and learning. In HMH Into Science, the instruction and assessments require students to make sense of phenomena or design solutions to problems to drive their learning.

Instruction in HMH Into Science is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which present three distinct dimensions to learning science: Science and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas. These dimensions, when combined, engage students and help them build an in-depth understanding of science. They also provide educators a range of opportunities to observe and record evidence of student learning using formative assessments. Moreover, the science and engineering practices and the crosscutting concepts give students the chance to make their thinking visible.

What are formative assessment examples for science?

Formative assessment using science and engineering practices.

HMH Into Science features strategically placed formative assessment call-out boxes throughout each grade-level teacher guide. These call-out boxes prompt teachers to ask questions that will enable their students to use science and engineering practices to figure out and explain phenomena . For example, a call-out box may prompt a teacher to have students “discuss what forces make a rolling ball slow down.“ Students would then make use of various science and engineering practices as they attempt to explain the phenomenon.

Engagement in these practices gives teachers insights into student understanding and progress and aids in teacher decision-making for instruction.

Formative Assessment Using the Crosscutting Concepts

The National Research Council’s Framework for K–12 Science Education defines crosscutting concepts as “concepts that bridge disciplinary core boundaries, having explanatory value throughout much of science and engineering.“ These concepts give students “an organizational framework for connecting knowledge from the various disciplines into a coherent and scientifically-based view of the world.”

Crosscutting concepts support student sense-making and help them make connections across all disciplines. Using crosscutting concepts in prompts or questions allows teachers to focus their students’ attention on specific aspects of a phenomenon and eliminate “noise.”

The below performance-based assessment, “Water Collection” from HMH Into Science Grade 5, features a problem in which a student wants to use water collected from the roof as drinking water for his pets. The student is presented with a system model of a solar still. The concept underlying the solar still is based on the idea that matter is made up of particles too small to be seen (NGSS 5-PS1-1). Students must structure their thinking through the lens of the crosscutting concept of systems and systems models. Additionally, students must focus their thinking on a specific aspect of the phenomenon, in this case, that matter is made up of very small, unseen particles that change from one state to another.

formative assessment examples for science

Formative assessment in science engages students and promotes their thinking. It also informs teachers’ instruction. Read more about the formative assessment activities and prompts built directly into HMH Into Science, and how they support teachers and their students, in the white paper below.

formative assessment examples for science

Looking for hands-on science lessons and activities for Grades K–5? Explore HMH Into Science , a phenomena-based science solution.

Next Generation Science Standards and logo are registered trademarks of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of, and do not endorse, this product.

The information in this blog post originated from a white paper by Peter McLaren, NGSS Writing Team Member, Executive Director of Next Gen Education, L LC.

For insights into how to structure questions and prompts that engage students about science phenomena, watch the webinar presented by Peter McLaren, The Power of the Dimension of Crosscutting Concepts: Promptin g Student Sensemaking and Discourse .

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75 Formative Assessment Examples

formative vs summative assessment

Formative assessment is a type of assessment that takes place in the middle of a unit of work. It is usually compared to summative assessment which takes place at the end of the learning experience.

The key characteristic of formative assessment is that learning will take place before and after the assessment. The assessment is designed to help students:

Similarly, it helps teachers:

Below are some of the best and simplest examples of formative assessment.

Formative Assessment Examples

1. 1-Minute Check In – Check in with every student in the class for one minute throughout the day to see how they are feeling about their tasks. Use the class roll to keep track.

2. 1-Minute Paper – Students get one minute to write a rapid-fire paper on the topic to try to show their depth of knowledge as fast as possible.

3. 3 Things – Students are asked to quickly list 3 things they want to know more about in regards to their topic, or 3 things they don’t currently understand.

4. 3-2-1 Reflection (aka Exit Slip) – Have students write down 3 big ideas from what they learned, 2 insights (reflective comments), and 1 question they still have.

5. 3x Summarization – Have students summarize the topic in three ways: in 10-15 words, 30-50 words, and 75-100 words. As they step up in word count, they will need to add some more depth and detail to demonstrate deeper knowledge.

6. 5 W’s and H – The 5W’s and H method gets students to write down their knowledge of what, when, where, who, why, and how to demonstrate their depth of knowledge about a topic.

7. Anonymous Feedback Box – Have students place anonymous comments about what they’re struggling with into a feedback box. This will allow students to share their concerns with the safety of anonymity. It helps gather crowd-sourced formative assessment but isn’t good for individual formative feedback.

8. Brainstorming – Have the students come together in groups and write down the key question in the middle of a piece of paper. Then, have them brainstorm ways to answer the question around the central question.

9. Check for Transfer – Have the students transfer the current concept from class to a new context. For example, if students are learning a math problem, check if they can apply it in a supermarket context.

10. Cold Calling – Let students know that you will not ask them to put their hands up to answer questions. Instead, you will call on one student randomly and all students by the end of class. This keeps everyone engaged and allows you to do spot checks of knowledge.

11. Comments on Drafts – Have students submit drafts of their essays to provide formative comments at least two weeks before submission.

12. Compare and Contrast – Have students compare two components of what is being learned to help them demonstrate their current knowledge. For example, in a biology class, you could have the students compare reptiles to mammals based on several key criteria.

13. Concept Map – Have students complete a concept map demonstrating their understanding of how concepts connect to one another in visual form.

14. Corner Quiz – Place letters A, B, C, and D on four separate corners of the room. Students are given a multiple choice quiz on what they are learning. Students have to run to the corner that they think has the right answer, e.g. if the answer is D, they run to the corner with the D on it. The teacher can look to see which students are consistently getting the wrong answer (or following others!).

15. Doodle It (Visualization) – Have students draw a representation of what they have learned in a visual format. This is a great formative assessment task for visual learners.

16. Elevator Pitch – Students give a 2-minute ‘elevator pitch’ speech about how much they know about the topic. In two minutes or less, they need to show you the depth of their knowledge.

17. Extension Project – Give students an extension project to see how well they apply the information in a new and less structured context. An example might be getting them to make a diagram about the topic.

18. Five Whys – Have students to ask ‘why’ five times to see if they can get to the root of their knowledge and understanding on a topic. This helps you understand how deeply they know the topic. For example, if the student says “Shakespeare is the best writer in history” ask why, then they say “because his poetry tells the best stories”, then ask why several more times, until they have fleshed out their knowledge to the best of their ability.

19. Flashcards – Have students answer flashcard questions mid-way through the unit of work to check for understanding.

20. Flip Chart Check In – Students get into groups and write anything and everything they know about the topic onto a flip chart. They then present their flip chart to the rest of the class.

21. Formative Presentation – Have the students give a presentation on what they have learned so far. This can be great for a mid-term check-in so you can help students stay on track and go deeper for their end-of-term assessment on the same topic.

22. Hand in, pass out – Students are assessed on a pop quiz. They do not write their own name on the paper. They then hand in their answers and the teacher passes out the answer sheets randomly to the class. The class then grades the anonymous work they are given. The students are given a chance to grade others’ work. The teacher can take the answer in afterward to see the questions that were most commonly incorrect to see what to focus on.

23. Homework Task – Homework is perhaps the most extensively used example of formative assessment. When you grade your students’ homework you can get a good idea of their level of understanding of content explored in class.

24. Hot Seat – A student sits in a seat in front of their peers and gets rapid-fire questions from their peers to test their quick responses. Great for math quizzes.

25. Hot Topics – Students choose one aspect of what they are learning and present in front of the class for 5 minutes about their knowledge, then take 5 minutes of questions.

26. Identify the Misconception – Give students a common misconception about their topic and ask them to explain what the misconception is and how to improve upon it.

27. Intentional Mistake – Intentionally embed an error into the students’ work or instructions and see whether they can identify it part-way through the lesson.

28. KWL Chart – A KWL chart asks students to write down what they know, what they want to know, and what they learned in the lesson. Have students complete this chart at the end of a lesson as a quick formative assessment that can help you structure your follow-up lessons based on student feedback.

29. Lunch Pass – Ask every student a question. If they can get their question right, they can go to lunch.

30. Metacognition – Have the students reflect on what they did, what they learned, why they learned it, how they can apply it, and what they still are unsure about it.

31. More Knowledgeable Other – Have students sit beside a student who is one step ahead of them and learn from the more knowledgeable student. The more knowledgeable student gives them feedback and assesses their progress, giving formative corrections to help them progress. Often, students who are at a similar level to one another are better at explaining concepts than teachers.

32. Open-Ended Questioning – Ask students questions that cannot be answered with a Yes/No answer so you can gather their depth of knowledge in the answer.

33. Paraphrasing – Give students a piece of information then ask them to repeat the information back to you in their own words to see if they understand it.

34. Peer Assessment – Have students grade each other’s work. This allows students to see other students’ work to gather whether they’re on track and how to improve.

35. Photo Assessment – Have students take photos of things they think best represent their current level of knowledge. Students might take photos of their current projects. Then, have them write descriptions underneath that explain what they currently know about the topic.

36. Pop Quiz – Give the students a quiz at the beginning, middle, or end of a lesson that involves just 5 to 10 questions that can allow you to see how much they know.

37. Postcard – The students write a postcard or letter from one historical figure to another describing something. For example, psychology students might write a letter from Bronfenbrenner to his wife explaining his Ecological Systems Theory .

38. Prediction and Hypothesis – Halfway through the lesson, have students make a prediction or hypothesis about what will happen by the end of the lesson. This will help the teacher know if the students are starting to understand what is being taught.

39. Prior Knowledge Onboarding Task – Have students write down what they already know about a topic before the first lesson. This will help you know what level you need to start your teaching at and help prevent redundancy in re-teaching things students already know.

40. RSQC2 – RSQC2 stands for Recall, Summarize, Question, Connect, Comment. Students start with recall which involves listing words or phrases that they recall from class. They then summarize the words by putting them all into a sentence that explains the topic. For Question, they list any questions they have that are unanswered. For connect, students write about connections between the lesson and the overall goals of the unit of work. For Comment, students provide a feedback comment to the teacher evaluating their teaching. 

41. Run an Opinion Poll – Poll the students on their opinion of the topic and examine the responses. The teacher can gauge students’ knowledge based on their answers in the poll.

42. Running Records – Have students take notes throughout the class on questions they have and things they don’t understand. As you come around to check on the student, ask them to show their running records notecard.

43. Spaced Repetition Testing – Students are given pop quizzes at strategically placed intervals to help students remember information they may be forgetting. For example, you might give students a quiz after 1 day, then 3, then 8, then 15. The answers from the quiz can help you assess student retention of knowledge learned in class.

44. Sticky Notes – Have students leave a sticky note on their desk with a comment about what they would like to know more about.

45. Student Becomes Teacher – Have the student teach the concept they are learning to a small group of peers.

46. Students Create a Test – Have each student create a 20-question test that they would use to test someone on the topic. Students write the answers to the test on a separate paper. Then, have the students swap mock-up tests with each other and fill out the answers.

47. Submit a Research Proposal – Have students submit a mock (or real!) research proposal stating what they would want to research further into the topic they have been discussing. Get them to discuss what they would research, why they are curious about that aspect, and how they would go about it. This can reveal a great deal of new information about the student’s current level of knowledge.

48. Submit an Essay Plan – For students writing an essay, get them to submit their essay plan for approval. Using this method, you can catch if a student is off track and correct the course so they submit a high-quality essay.

49. TAG Feedback – Have students assess one another by getting them to tell a peer what they did well, ask them a question about their knowledge, then give feedback to their peer.

50. Text Rendering – Students take one quote that they think is the most important or illuminating from an article and explain why they think it’s the best quote.

51. Think-Pair-Share – Students spend one minute individually writing down key points from what they learned. They then pair up with a partner and compare notes. Finally, the pair share what they learned with the class. The class can ask questions and the teacher can assess the pair’s knowledge from their presentation and responses.

52. Timeline (Historical) – Students create a historical timeline demonstrating their knowledge of the sequence of events from a historical process or series of events.

53. Timeline (Lesson Reflection) – A lesson reflection timeline gets students to reflect on their lesson by writing down 

54. Ungraded Essay – Have students submit an essay or essay draft that is not graded. Students submit the essay only for feedback, which will inform their final submission.

55. Venn Diagram – Students use a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast two elements of what they are learning. The outer sides of the Venn diagram show unique features of each element. The overlap shows the similarities.

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Instant Formative Assessment for Teachers

56. Fingers Up – Have students show their level of knowledge by showing a certain number of fingers. One finger means uncertainty and discomfort while five fingers means strong confidence with the content.

57. Hand Thermometer – Students put their hand up only a distance they think they are comfortable with the knowledge. A low hand up shows mild comfort, a medium shows moderate understanding, and a stretched hand shows high confidence in the content.

58. Quick Nod – Ask students to nod if they understand. This can be great as a very fast way to check for comprehension in the middle of a task.

59. Red / Green Cards – Provide students with red and green cards. They can hold up the green card if they are ready to move on to the next part of the lesson or the red card if they’re still confused.

60. Thumbs Up, Middle, Thumbs Down – Have students quickly respond with their thumbs to show levels of understanding or enthusiasm.

61. Traffic Lights – An extension of red/green cards, the traffic lights system also have an amber color for students who are feeling tentative about their progress. For this one, you can pair students who held up green lights with those who held up amber lights to teach each other while the teacher works with students who held up red lights.

62. Two Roses and a Thorn – Have students present two things they are happy or knowledgeable about, and one thing they are still finding “prickly”.

63. Watch Body Language – Students who misunderstand may be crossing their legs, looking away, or frowning.

Self-Evaluative Formative Assessment

64. Self-Evaluation on Marking Rubric – Provide students the criteria you will be using to grade their work (also known as a marking rubric) and get them to self-assess what grade they think they will get.

65. Self-Sort – Have students choose which level they are at in a task: beginner, intermediate, or advanced, and have them select the next piece of work based on their self-evaluated level.

66. SMART Goals Self-Evaluation – Have the students complete a personal SMART Goal template demonstrating what their goals are and whether they think they are on track for achieving it.

67. SWOT Analysis – Have students complete a SWOT analysis that demonstrates what their strengths are in relation to what they are learning, what their weaknesses are, opportunities for improvement for the rest of the unit of work, and threats that they could avoid. This will make sure they stay on track.

Technology Enhanced Formative Assessment

68. Blog About It – Have students write weekly 200-word blog posts about what they learned and comment on each student’s blog comment assessing what they did well and what they need to focus on in the next week.

69. Clickers – Use clickers (instant Yes/No responses – technology required) to provide instant feedback to the teacher on their level of understanding.

70. Forum Comments – Have students submit one forum comment per week to their online discussion board for the teacher to provide a formative assessment and comment on what they did well and how to improve.

71. Padlet – Have students use the Padlet app to contribute their ideas to a virtual notice board to show their thoughts and knowledge to the group.

72. Text the Answer – Have students text an answer to you in 50 words or less once they have completed the task.

73. Twitter Comment – Have students tweet what they learned in class today and tweet a reply to a friend’s comment.

74. Write 1 if you Understand, 2 if you Don’t – This is a task for online lessons. Have students simply write a 1 or 2 in the chatbox. This can also get quiet groups to start contributing in a small no-risk step.

75. YouTube Communities Poll – Have students complete a YouTube poll using the YouTube communities tab.

Related Articles:

Formative assessment are usually informal evaluations that give students an opportunity to pivot and improve based on the teacher’s feedback. A the same time, it’s valuable for the teacher who needs to assess students’ current knowledge and pain points in order to adjust their teaching practices and maximize students’ chances of passing the summative assessment that will occur at the end of the unit of work.

Formative vs summative assessment

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.

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Formative Assessments For NGSS Science Classrooms

Formative assessments are a vital part of any instructional model, and the 5E Model is no different.

Formative Assessment is… … any sort of activity in which the intent is to inform instruction by checking for understanding. Formative Assessment is NOT… … just numbers to enter into the gradebook or something to keep students busy at the end of class.  

These assessments should be used to guide instruction — to determine what misunderstandings still remain, where students need additional practice, and what concepts need retaught.

Formative assessments can also be used to activate prior knowledge to prepare the mind for learning, gauge interest in a topic or approach, or provide opportunity for student reflection.

There are a number of wonderful books on formative assessment for the science classroom, but one of my favorites is Page Keeley’s, Science Formative Assessment: 75 Practical Strategies for Linking Assessment, Instruction, and Learning.  I’ve compiled a few of my personal favorites for you in this post.


PEO strategy for science

Predict-Explain-Observe asks students to make predictions based on their common-sense interpretations of phenomena.  It elicits their prior ideas, gives voice to that understanding through the explanation, and then engages students in the science and engineering practice of designing and carrying out investigations to actually test those ideas.


It is important to target learning goals that can be tested using simple materials. Carrying out a short investigation to test the students’ predictions is key to this technique.

Administration Options:

There are a number of ready-made probes in the Uncovering Student Ideas in Science series by Page Keeley, but you can always create your own.  Present students with a scenario and ask them to make a prediction about what might happen. Then, ask them to explain their thinking — why do they think that will occur? Lastly, carry out that scenario to test student ideas.  Through discussion, students can revise their ideas and generate additional questions to drive the instructional sequence forward.

When you present the scenario, you can have the supplies in front of you or you might use a cartoon or other visual to engage students.  Students may generate their own predictions, or you may provide options to choose from “presented by” characters in the scenario.

Grab my graphic organizer in my TeachersPayTeachers store.

Annotated Student Drawings

Annotated student drawings (ASD) is a strategy that can be used before instruction to assess student’s initial ideas about a phenomenon or after instruction as a way to publicly share their thinking.  Students can also use this strategy to reflect on their own learning, if they are given the opportunity to examine their first drawings and consider how their understanding has changed. To implement this strategy, the teacher will present students with a scientific idea or concept and ask students to create a drawing to illustrate what is happening.  They will use annotations (captions) to provide additional information about what is occurring in their picture – key ideas, important words, so on.

Ensure you have chosen a concept that can be easily illustrated.  This does not mean it has to be visible — asking students to “zoom in” or “zoom out” on something that cannot be seen by the naked eye actually makes a wonderful concept or phenomenon for this activity.  That said, a prompt like “draw a picture to show how the universe formed” may be a bit much for one drawing.

This task can be completed by students individually or in small groups.  If students are working individually, I recommend they keep this drawing in their notebook and return to it to revise or confirm their understanding as they move through their learning activities.  If students are completing these task in small groups, you will want to find a way to hold all students accountable. I have found that assigning marker/pen colors to individual students is one way to determine each student’s contribution to the drawing.  That said, that approach does not account for verbal contributions if students prefer not to write, so you may need to find a method that works for your students specifically. After groups have completed their drawings, feedback from peers can be offered through a gallery walk approach.  Feedback can focus both on the clarity with which the group has explained the concept in addition to the scientific “correctness” of the illustration.

Concept Card Mapping

Concept Card Mapping is another of my favorite activities. It can be used to activate prior knowledge, help them think about the connections between concepts, and make those connections visible.  It is an amazing assessment tool to evaluate if student’s understanding goes beyond the basic surface-level definitions, facts, etc. Also, it is an incredibly low-risk activity that provides opportunities for all students to be successful, because there is no single “right answer.”

formative assessment examples for science

In Concept Card Mapping, a handful of concepts are presented and students identify connections between the cards. They indicate these with lines and notations. For example, if students are mapping the carbon cycle, they might connect “oxygen” and “photosynthesis” with the phrase “is released during.”

This skill should be modeled the first time students participate in a concept card mapping activity.  When modeling, it will work best if you use a familiar topic that students find engaging. I would recommend limiting the number of concepts to 7-10, and keep their descriptions short – one to three words.  The phrase should represent a scientific idea like ecosystem, boiling point, or erosion.

To use Concept Card Mapping, present students with a handful of concepts.  You can place these in boxes on a piece of paper or on sticky notes or on cards that students will glue themselves. Allowing students to move the cards can provide an additional level of analysis.  Students will draw lines to connect the concepts and on those lines, record a note about the connection. This can be used as an individual or group activity. If students are working in groups, determine how you will keep all students accountable. One strategy is to assign each student a different color pen or pencil to quickly identify contributions. Lastly, you can provide pictures in addition to words.  This can help younger students, English Language Learners, or others with reading impairments. You could also provide examples of connectors if students are struggling with ways to describe the connections.

Model Analysis

Model Analysis is an amazing way to tie in the Science and Engineering Practice of Developing and Using Models while simultaneously assess student understanding of Disciplinary Core Ideas.  In Model Analysis, students are given a model or representation — think a diagram of the water cycle, a to-scale three dimensional model of the size of the planets, or a picture of a plant cell — and asked to evaluate whether it is an accurate representation of the object, situation, or concept it was created to convey. By identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the model — its accuracies and its limitations — students are demonstrating their own understanding as well as revealing whether they may still have misconceptions that are reinforced by these representations.  

It is important to preface this activity with a discussion that flawed representations often go unnoticed by teachers, students, and the public at large.  We must be discerning when viewing visual representations of ideas and phenomena, keeping in mind that models and representations always have their limitations. Even when we may make a concerted effort to be as accurate as possible, it is not always possible to represent all features accurately.

Model Analysis can be used with any piece of content that can be represented visually.  You can choose representations or illustrations from textbooks, the Internet, student work, or even pieces of data like charts, graphs, and diagrams.

formative assessment examples for science

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From our blog

Top 20 Formative Assessment Examples for Teachers That Are Fun and Fast

formative assessment examples for science

Reviewed by Meredith Melvin, B.Ed.

Help your students prepare for a formative assessment with Prodigy Math game.

Educators want to improve their instruction to elevate student learning and understanding.

But it can be challenging to teach a lesson or unit that ensures you're reaching a variety of comprehension levels.

This is when formative assessments come into play.

You can use these evaluations to gather information about student needs, progress and comprehension, informing how you teach a skill or topic while doing so.

But to be effective and efficient, formative assessments should align with the content you’re covering and your students’ learning styles .

For example, if your students don’t hesitate to ask questions and share opinions, an assessment rooted in open discussion may be appropriate. It might not work for a reserved group.

Find formative assessment ideas that are best for your students and teaching style

Plus, get a downloadable PDF to keep at your desk for quick reference at the end of the list!

1. Prodigy Math and Prodigy English


Keep making the most of one-to-one device use by using Prodigy to gauge students’ math or English skills .

When they start the curriculum-aligned video game, they dive into a diagnostic test that identifies their strengths and skill deficits to pinpoint their levels of understanding. You can then deliver individualized in-game assignments, which generate progress and performance reports.

With these formative assessment features, it’s worthwhile to try Prodigy's free teacher tools. See how to use Prodigy for formative assessments!

2. Four corners

Encourage physical activity while gauging general student comprehension through this aptly-named exercise. To plan, put a list of multiple choice questions together. Each should have four answers.

Gather students in the middle of the room, reading each question and its possible answers aloud. Students then move to the corner that represents what they believe is the correct answer. For example, the top-left room corner can be option A , the bottom-left can be B and so on.

Depending on how students move, you should gain an understanding of class comprehension.

While this can be a fun activity, be mindful of students following or choosing the same corner as their friends. Consider following up with another formative assessment type to best gauge their comprehension.

3. Three summaries

A teacher offers advice to a pair of students working together to complete a question.

Challenge students to think critically by giving them this processing and review activity.

To check their understanding of a new idea, concept or content piece, ask them to write three summaries. The first should be 10 to 15 words. The second is 30 to 50 words. The third is 75 to 100 words.

By asking students to vary the lengths of their summaries, they’ll have to remember different details as they refine their understandings .

After, collect the summaries to see where knowledge gaps are.

4. Hand it in, pass it out

Run this short exercise to  build topic comprehension.

It starts by posing a question with an objective answer that’s explainable in a few sentences. Without writing their names down, students should answer the question on plain sheets of paper.

As they hand the papers in to you, quickly distribute them back to students at random. Explain what the correct answer is, so that they can grade the paper they’ve received. In doing so, they’ll improve their understanding of the topic.

Conclude the exercise by taking a poll to measure how many papers had the right response.

5. Self-evaluation

Allow students to evaluate their own work, encouraging them to learn their own strengths and weaknesses.

Giving students time to formally review their own written assessments is an easy way of doing so. After completing the assessment, give each student access to an expanded rubric that details expectations. They should grade themselves accordingly.

You can also ask them to hand in their completed rubrics, letting you note concerns that students may have about their own knowledge and comprehension.

6. Partner quiz

Develop  peer teaching  skills in your class  by running partner quizzes, which also allow students to assess themselves.

To launch a partner quiz, pair students together and provide an open question to tackle. As they work to solve it, encourage them to give each other corrective feedback — identifying mistakes and explaining how to reach proper solutions.

Once the pair has answered the question, each student can independently work on a question related to the same concept.

You can collect responses to wrap up the exercise.

7. Highlighter


Assess student understanding of a text-based resource through this solo and small-group exercise.

Each student should read the same written passage or resource, highlighting sentences that stick out as important or interesting. Once everyone is done, divide the class into groups of three or four.

Within their group, each student must share the sentences he or she highlighted. Each group should be able to pinpoint the text’s main idea or theme in doing so, submitting an explanation so you can determine general comprehension levels.

8. Transfer the concept

Help students grasp a new concept  by having them apply it to a different area.

Let’s say you’ve recently taught how to identify protagonists and antagonists in novels. After determining students have a strong command of the concept, watch a clip from a show, movie or perhaps shorter media such as advertisements.

Individually, have them write down who the protagonists and antagonists are to ensure their  understanding isn’t confined to one medium .

9. Think-pair-share


Oversee a think-pair-share exercise to deliver three content-processing activities in one , easily assessing student understanding during the last stage.

As the name of this  differentiated instruction  strategy implies, start by asking each student to  think  about a specific topic or answer a given question. Next,  pair  students together to discuss their findings.

Finally, each pair should  share  their thoughts with the class and accept questions from classmates.

Launch a jigsaw activity to  teach accountability to each student  while checking for understanding of a specific topic.

A mainstay part of  cooperative learning , the method consists of dividing a task into subtasks and assigning one to each student in a small group. Group members then work to become “experts” about the information within their subtasks.

For example, if the group is investigating multiplication, one group member may be in charge of learning more about the multiplication of negative integers. Each student returns to their group after this investigation process, sharing new knowledge.

For assessment purposes, you can require each group to write a short report about the overarching topic you assigned.

11. Stop and go


Allow students to give you real-time feedback as you teach with “stop and go” cards.

Purchasable or assignable as an art task, they’re two-sided cards — one green and one red. As you deliver a lesson, students should hold the green side toward you if they understand everything.

If something’s unclear, encourage them to turn the red side forward. When you see red, stop and clarify — or expand upon — your points until you see green again.

This should help you quickly assess if students are processing content as you deliver it.

12. Virtual classroom

If you’re teaching virtually or have access to one-to-one devices in your classroom, these tools can help you ask students questions interactively, while teaching!

Capitalize on one-to-one device use, if possible, by  automatically sending questions to students as you’re teaching.

With an online platform such as  Socrative , Google Forms and Kahoot! , you can write questions that correspond with your lessons, pre-scheduling them or sending them to students on-the-spot.

Because they quickly and privately respond using devices, you shouldn’t have trouble eliciting answers from those who don’t typically raise their hands.

And since you can send questions at any time using these platforms, they work for quizzes, activities, entry and exit tickets and many other forms of formative assessments.

13. Illustrations

Assess young students’ reading comprehension, or listening, skills  by delivering this  interdisciplinary  formative assessment.  

The activity,  Illustrations , starts by either reading a story passage out loud or having students read it individually. Irrespective of who reads, each student must draw the content depicted in the passage.

If the passage already has an accompanying illustration, you can show it to students afterward. This way, they can see how close they were.

14. Letters through time


Organize this creative writing assignment to gauge comprehension in history class.

Students assume the role of a specific historical figure, relevant to course content, and pair with a classmate from the same setting.

Each student in the duo must write a series of letters to one another. These letters should discuss an event or isolated time period that’s historically significant.

As well as acting as a formative assessment, the exercise can effectively prepare students for essays, reports, long-answer tests and other summative assessments.

15. Entry and exit tickets

Gather information about how well students processed your most recent lesson  by giving them five minutes to write an entry or exit ticket.

As a formative assessment, entry tickets should ask students to reflect on a specific class or exercise from the previous day. Exit tickets should involve students summarizing what they’ve just learned.

Either way, you’ll receive small products that let you easily see how well students processed and retained key content, indicating knowledge gaps.

You can even use Prodigy assignments as entry or exit tickets , by assigning students specific skills and receiving real-time data to determine student understanding.

16. Two roses and a thorn

Determine content for your next class by concluding a lesson, presentation or chapter reading with two Roses and a Thorn -- a quick-to-deliver type of exit ticket and reflection exercise.

Each student must note two topics or concepts he or she enjoyed learning about, and another they didn’t like or still have questions about. They must hand in their responses before leaving class.

If students share the same difficulties or dislikes, it may indicate a need to re-explore a topic or shift your approach to teaching it.

17. Countdown

Deliver this activity if  Two Roses and a Thorn  doesn’t provide enough insight, or  you feel your students need a deeper exercise.

Best used to end the day,  Countdown  requires students to create three distinct lists.

They must state and explain (a) three ideas or concepts they learned, (b) two ideas or concepts that surprised them and (c) one thing they intend to start doing based on what they learned.

Collective responses should indicate if students generally grasped a day’s material.

18. One-minute papers


Inject variety into your end-of-day reflection exercises by asking students to complete one-minute papers.

A solo writing task, you don’t have to take one-minute papers literally. Students can have a bit more time as they work to answer a brief question about the lesson.

It should be an open question, which allows you to easily assess understanding.

For example, you can ask students about (a) the lesson’s confusing areas, (b) any unaddressed queries they have or (c) what question from the lesson they think may appear on an upcoming test.

19. Metacognition sheet

Pinpoint trouble spots and knowledge gaps before a summative assessment by having students answer specific questions about the given topic.

This starts by distributing sheets of paper with the following questions: (a) “Can you summarize the topic?”, (b) “How can you apply the topic?” and (c) “What questions do you still have about the topic?”

Encouraging detailed answers should help you identify which students are struggling, and what their specific struggles are.

20. Roll the die


Put a spin on reflection-based assessments by asking students to vocalize instead of write them, quickly taking notes as they speak.

To end class, start the activity by placing a die at each student’s desk. Each die face represents the beginning of a sentence that must be completed.

Displaying or projecting them at the front of class, these sentences should be along the lines of: “I learned today that …” or “I’m still confused about …”

Since there are six options and likely many more students in your class, you’ll hear a range of answers as students roll dice one after another, completing the corresponding sentences aloud.

As a result, you should get a grasp of what students do and don’t understand about the day’s lessons.

Downloadable list of the 20 formative assessment examples

Access your download to print and keep at your desk!

Wrapping up

These formative assessment activities differ, but all deliver the same underlying benefits.

Students should grow cognizant of their learning needs, styles, strengths and areas of improvement. You should improve your general understanding of student learning, and identify problem areas to address before  summative assessments .

As a likely result, they’ll be better equipped to self-assess and you’ll deliver more engaging, targeted lessons.

Or create your teacher account on Prodigy — an engaging game-based learning platform that assesses student progress and performance as they play.

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Teach. Learn. Grow.

Teach. learn. grow. the education blog.

Kathy Dyer, NWEA

27 easy formative assessment strategies for gathering evidence of student learning

formative assessment examples for science

Combining these 10 with 10 others we’ve blogged about in the past gives teachers 20 great formative assessment strategies for checking on student learning. Be sure to click through to learn more about these formative assessment strategies.

Want more? Here are seven more strategies you can use to elicit evidence of student learning.

All 27 of these formative assessment strategies are simple to administer and free or inexpensive to use. They’ll provide you with the evidence of student learning you need to make lesson plan adjustments and keep learning on target and moving forward. They’ll also give your students valuable information so they can adjust their learning tactics and know where to focus their energies.

If you’re not quite sure where to get started, the following discussion questions can help.

Questions for teachers

Questions for leaders

Get more formative assessment tips and tricks in our e-book “Making it work: How formative assessment can supercharge your practice.”

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17 formative assessment examples elementary students love as much as teachers do.

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Formative assessments may be low stakes for students, but this method of monitoring student learning plays a crucial role in overall student progress monitoring throughout the school year. Looking for formative assessment examples to use in your classroom that will give you the information you need but also keep your students engaged?

The teachers on the Teach Starter team have put together a variety of formative assessments to help you make sense of your students’ understanding!

What Is Formative Assessment?

If you’ve already got a handle on this student monitoring concept, feel free to skip ahead to the examples! Still here? Let’s dive in! Formative assessment is a method of monitoring your students’ learning in the midst of your lessons. Assessing in this manner allows you to quickly provide feedback or make adjustments to your teaching.

Formative assessments are helpful for both teachers and students.  As a teacher, a formative assessment helps you see where students might be struggling and address the problem immediately. For students, these brief knowledge checks help them identify their own weaknesses and ask for help. These assessments are not to be graded and do not carry any significant weight since they’re only part of the learning process.

Formative assessments differ from summative assessments, which are typically subject to grading. Summative assessments occur at the end of a learning progression and are solely focused on evaluating content mastery.

Formative Assessment Examples

Formative assessment involves a variety of strategies, — everything from observation to questioning to discussion and feedback are all used to assess student understanding and progress. You can use the information gathered from these assessments to adjust your teaching methods and provide targeted support to individual students. The list of ideas and examples you’re about to read come from the members on our teacher team and span a variety of grade levels. We realize not every one will work for every teacher, so feel free to pick and choose the ideas that will work best in your classroom!

Jumping Letter Recognition

Let’s start off with a formative assessment example for primary teachers that doubles as both a letter recognition assessment and an active activity to get some of those wiggles out.

Grab the painter’s tape, and tape letters to your classroom floor! Students line up, and you call out a letter for students to “jump” to.

Hands Up Fun

Need a quick and easy formative assessment? Instead of having students simply raise their hands if they feel they understood the lesson or need help, make things a little more fun with hand signals . A fist in the air could be “I need more practice” or using the “hook ’em horns” signal in the air could mean “I mostly understand and could show a classmate.”

Download a set of fun number talks hand signal posters to guide your students! 

Emoji Assessment

Kids love emojis, and they’re a perfect way to gauge how well students feel they’ve grasped a concept. Download free emoji self-assessment cards for the entire class , and instruct students to hold up the emoji that best fits how they’re feeling! Alternately, students can leave their emoji cards on their desks while performing independent work, so you know which students need help.

Tweet Tweet

Elementary students may not be on Twitter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a nod from the social media platform to make formative assessments more fun for students. Challenge them to sum up the lesson in 280 characters or less on a sticky note, or ask them to create three hashtags that describe the day’s lesson. The sticky notes can be posted on a parking lot on your wall.

Exit Tickets

Exit tickets are a classic formative assessment example and for good reason! They’re an easy way to collect student feedback, and you can make them as simple or as detailed as you want!

Explore a collection of  exit tickets already created and ready to print!

Hit the Target

Set up a target on your classroom wall (this printable target is available as a PDF or in Word for editing !), and ask students to evaluate how well they understand a lesson by placing a sticky note with their name on the target. If they feel they can explain the concept to a classmate, for example, their sticky should go on the bullseye! Need help? Their sticky goes on the outer ring.

Spot the Error

Present your class with a list of “facts” from the lesson, including some common misconceptions or points of confusion related to your lesson. Ask your students to “spot the error” to determine if they’re caught up in those confusion points.

Doodle Notes

Doodling has been proven to improve memory recall and help visual learners. So lean into the benefits for your formative assessments! Allow students to draw a picture to show you what they’ve learned, rather than requiring them to write something out.

Download a set of printable doodle notes for your math classes!

Two Truths and a Lie

A similar version to the spot the error formative assessment example, you can present your class with two truths and a lie about the subject, challenging students to activate prior knowledge to identify the lie.

You can also flip this idea — ask students to come up with two truths of their own, plus a lie about the concept you’ve just taught. Give students a few minutes to think of their statements, and then have them share them with the class. Ask students to guess which statement is the lie. Encourage them to explain their reasoning and provide evidence to support their answers.

Create a Comic Strip

Bring the fun of superheroes and villains into your formative assessments by assigning students to create a comic strip that details what they’ve just learned!

Sentence. Phrase. Word.

Have your students write down a sentence that summarizes the lesson. Next, they should circle the most important phrase in the sentence, and draw a line beneath an important word.

After a math lesson, write out three problems on the whiteboard, and ask students to solve them on a sticky note. Students should write their names on their sticky notes and hand them in so you can read through and evaluate how well they did. This is a great way to determine your intervention groups.

Want to pre-design your sticky notes? Download a template for printing your own sticky notes ! 

Write it on the Whiteboard

It’s simple, we know, but if your students have individual whiteboards, this is an effective formative assessment idea. Similar to using hand signals, assign a value to numbers or letters such as “A means I don’t understand,” and “Be means I almost have it.” Direct students to write the letter (or number) on their whiteboards and hold them up.

Think, Pair, Share

Getting to talk to a friend during class is always a hit with students, and think, pair, share exercises make great formative assessments too. All you need to do is walk around, listen in, and take a quick anecdotal record to identify students showing mastery.

Concept Map

Direct students to walk you through their thoughts about the lesson with a concept map. Students can answer questions like “What is it?” or  “What are some examples?” Concept maps work extremely well as formative assessments and activities during vocabulary instruction.

Download a concept map template to use as a scaffold! teaching resource Mind Map Template – Brain A printable mind map template for students to use when gathering thoughts and ideas. 1 page Grades: 3 - 6 teaching resource Mind Map Template – Octopus A printable mind map to use when planning ideas with your students. 1 page Grades: 3 - 6

Headline It

This is another quick and easy formative assessment idea. If your students were going to write a newspaper article about the lesson, what would their headline be?

Wanted Poster

We saved one of our favorite formative assessment examples for last! Direct students to create a wanted poster for anything from a historical figure they’re learning about in social studies to a numeral in math class!

Explore our favorite student progress monitoring resources — created by teachers, for teachers like you!

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Mar 25, 2019

Using Formative Assessment to Uncover How Students Think About Science

By joyce tugel.

Formative assessment — the process of collecting evidence about student thinking to inform instruction and provide feedback to students — is a keystone to best practices in K–12 science education. It allows educators to understand how students are considering, retaining, and connecting scientific concepts and theories.

In my recent whitepaper, Using Formative Assessment to Uncover How Students Think About Science , I go in depth about formative assessment techniques that can help science students persevere in a manner that is engaging and motivating. Below are some highlights of the paper, including examples and suggestions for implementing formative assessments in the science classroom.

Why Formative Assessment?

For an assessment to be considered formative, it must be used to plan instruction and help learners reflect upon their thinking. An assessment is merely diagnostic if evidence is gathered but not used to inform the teacher and his or her students during the learning process.

Formative assessment is frequently described as an assessment for learning rather than assessment of learning. This is because the evidence gathered is used by teachers and students to make decisions about next steps in the learning process. According to formative assessment expert, Dylan Wiliam, there are five strategies that are core to successful formative assessment practice in the classroom (Wiliam, 2018):

This list highlights the importance of using formative assessment to inform instruction and promote student thinking, not to grade students. There are no right or wrong answers during formative assessment. Rather, the strategies encourage students to revisit their initial ideas after the learning experience, so they can confront their prior thinking and explain how their thinking has changed.

Formative Assessment and the “New Standards”

Formative assessment fits in quite well with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which emphasize making sense of science through exploring and explaining phenomena.

Every NGSS performance expectation has three dimensions, consisting of: disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts. Formative assessment strategies specifically support the science and engineering practices of:

Embedding multiple dimensions within the same assessment strategy results in a rich teaching and learning environment.

Formative Assessment in Science: Examples and Suggestions

In my whitepaper, I offer detailed examples and suggestions for introducing formative assessments into the science classroom through activities that help elicit and identify preconceptions and promote thinking as students compare their own ideas with others in the class anonymously. Some examples include:

All of these activities are designed to help science educators shift towards learner-centered classrooms that place high priority on learning science through asking questions, developing explanations, and engaging in argument from evidence.

Ready to learn more? Download the full whitepaper and explore programs that incorporate formative assessment tools for your science classrooms.

Wiliam, D. (2018). Embedded Formative Assessment , Second Edition. Bloomington, Indiana: Solution Tree Press.

About the Author

Joyce Tugel is a K–12 STEM Education Specialist, recently retired from the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance. She primarily focuses on teacher leadership, professional development in the areas of science curriculum, instruction and formative assessment, and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards.

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Summative vs. Formative Assessments Examples for Students

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Teachers use assessments to determine whether students have met their learning objectives . Formative assessments and summative assessments are the two ways that teachers measure what their students are learning. The differences between the assessments are mainly when they take place, what type of assignment they are, and what the teacher is measuring.

Formative vs. Summative Assessments

Whether a teacher uses formative or summative assessments depends on the information they want to receive. A successful classroom depends on both types of assessments; one is not better than the other.

Here are some basic differences between formative and summative assessments.

Examples of Formative Assessments

Formative assessments monitor how students are learning a new concept or skill. In an ideal classroom, formative assessments should happen in every lesson. They allow teachers to check for understanding in low-stakes, flexible ways and “form” their future instruction.

Some examples of formative assessments include:

A teacher can learn whether their class understands a concept with a simple hand-raise or class discussion. These types of assessments measure progress toward proficiency, not content knowledge or skill acquisition. Formative assessments tell teachers whether they need to re-teach a concept or if they can move on in their curriculum.

Creative Formative Assessment Ideas

Get past reading checks and exit tickets. Try these ideas the next time you need to check progress in an informal way.

Examples of Summative Assessments

Summative assessments are formal evaluations of what a student has learned in a unit or course. They “sum up” what the class can now do or now knows as a result of the teacher’s instruction. Here are some examples of summative assessments in the classroom.

Unlike formative assessments, the main purpose of a summative assessment is for teachers to measure skill acquisition. Summative assessments typically do not inform a teacher’s instruction going forward, as the summative assessment occurs at the end of a unit or class. However, a teacher may modify their teaching methods in future lessons based on assessment results.

Creative Summative Assessment Ideas

Final assessments don’t have to fill students with dread. See if they prefer these innovative ways that still assess important skills and knowledge.

More Teaching Resources

Both summative and formative assessments are an important part of any curriculum, but there’s more to teaching than assessments. If you’d like to see more ways to enhance your classroom instruction, check out a slideshow that features some helpful tools for teachers .

Assessment is the process of gathering data. More specifically, assessment is the ways instructors gather data about their teaching and their students’ learning (Hanna & Dettmer, 2004). The data provide a picture of a range of activities using different forms of assessment such as: pre-tests, observations, and examinations. Once these data are gathered, you can then evaluate the student’s performance. Evaluation, therefore, draws on one’s judgment to determine the overall value of an outcome based on the assessment data. It is in the decision-making process then, where we design ways to improve the recognized weaknesses, gaps, or deficiencies.

Types of Assessment

There are three types of assessment: diagnostic, formative, and summative. Although are three are generally referred to simply as assessment, there are distinct differences between the three.

There are three types of assessment: diagnostic, formative, and summative.

Diagnostic Assessment

Diagnostic assessment can help you identify your students’ current knowledge of a subject, their skill sets and capabilities, and to clarify misconceptions before teaching takes place (Just Science Now!, n.d.). Knowing students’ strengths and weaknesses can help you better plan what to teach and how to teach it.

Types of Diagnostic Assessments

Formative Assessment

Formative assessment provides feedback and information during the instructional process, while learning is taking place, and while learning is occurring. Formative assessment measures student progress but it can also assess your own progress as an instructor. For example, when implementing a new activity in class, you can, through observation and/or surveying the students, determine whether or not the activity should be used again (or modified). A primary focus of formative assessment is to identify areas that may need improvement. These assessments typically are not graded and act as a gauge to students’ learning progress and to determine teaching effectiveness (implementing appropriate methods and activities).

A primary focus of formative assessment is to identify areas that may need improvement.

Types of Formative Assessment

Summative Assessment

Summative assessment takes place after the learning has been completed and provides information and feedback that sums up the teaching and learning process. Typically, no more formal learning is taking place at this stage, other than incidental learning which might take place through the completion of projects and assignments.

Rubrics, often developed around a set of standards or expectations, can be used for summative assessment. Rubrics can be given to students before they begin working on a particular project so they know what is expected of them (precisely what they have to do) for each of the criteria. Rubrics also can help you to be more objective when deriving a final, summative grade by following the same criteria students used to complete the project.

Rubrics also can help you to be more objective when deriving a final, summative grade by following the same criteria students used to complete the project.

High-stakes summative assessments typically are given to students at the end of a set point during or at the end of the semester to assess what has been learned and how well it was learned. Grades are usually an outcome of summative assessment: they indicate whether the student has an acceptable level of knowledge-gain—is the student able to effectively progress to the next part of the class? To the next course in the curriculum? To the next level of academic standing? See the section “Grading” for further information on grading and its affect on student achievement.

Summative assessment is more product-oriented and assesses the final product, whereas formative assessment focuses on the process toward completing the product. Once the project is completed, no further revisions can be made. If, however, students are allowed to make revisions, the assessment becomes formative, where students can take advantage of the opportunity to improve.

Summative assessment...assesses the final product, whereas formative assessment focuses on the process...

Types of Summative Assessment

Assessment measures if and how students are learning and if the teaching methods are effectively relaying the intended messages. Hanna and Dettmer (2004) suggest that you should strive to develop a range of assessments strategies that match all aspects of their instructional plans. Instead of trying to differentiate between formative and summative assessments it may be more beneficial to begin planning assessment strategies to match instructional goals and objectives at the beginning of the semester and implement them throughout the entire instructional experience. The selection of appropriate assessments should also match course and program objectives necessary for accreditation requirements.

Hanna, G. S., & Dettmer, P. A. (2004). Assessment for effective teaching: Using context-adaptive planning. Boston, MA: Pearson A&B.

Just Science Now! (n.d.). Assessment-inquiry connection.

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Northern Illinois University Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. (2012). Formative and summative assessment. In Instructional guide for university faculty and teaching assistants. Retrieved from

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56 Examples of Formative Assessment

Formative assessment can be as simple as thumbs up or down and as creative as having students illustrate a page of a story.

I’ve created a presentation (with some help from my colleagues) on different examples of formative assessment . 

Note the definition I’m using at the beginning of the presentation: A formative assessment or assignment is a tool teachers use to give feedback to students and/or guide their instruction. It is not included in a student grade, nor should it be used to judge a teacher’s performance. Both of these would be considered summative assessments.

This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we’ve preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own.

Assessment for learning in science

Plenty of resources to support teachers in developing their practice in assessment for learning.  These resources accompany the Triple Science Support guide to assessment for learning .

The  Triple Science Support intervention guides and supporting resources are packed full of ideas and examples of evidence-based good practice, and will support you in going beyond short term, bolt on interventions to look at issues such as progression, tracking progress and how best to structure learning so students gain a deep, long term understanding of the science.

Classroom Assessment: Minute by Minute, Day by Day

This paper, by Siobhan Leahy, Christine Lyon, Marnie Thompson and Dylan Wiliam, gives some great examples of how assessment for learning can be improved, including:

Clarify and Share Intentions and Criteria

Engineer Effective Classroom Discussion

Provide Feedback That Moves Learners Forward

Activate Students as Instructional Resources for One Another

Using Evidence of Learning to Adapt Instruction

Supporting Teacher Change

You could choose an idea from one of the sections to focus on, evaluate its impact, and then move on to another.

Kagan strategies

One of the five key ‘Strategies of Assessment’ described initially by Leahy et al (above) is to develop learners as instructional resources for one another.

There are 35 ideas for cooperative group-work in this resource.  You can choose the most useful group-work arrangement depending on what you want the students to achieve.  i.e. improved teamwork, knowledge building, developing thinking skills or presentation skills.

POE formative assessment

This is an example of a formative assessment probe, which can be used to expose students’ preconceptions; encourage evidence-based explanations, talk, and argument; and monitor students’ progress in achieving conceptual understanding.

Combined with various formative assessment classroom techniques ( FACTs ), probes not only assess where students are conceptually, they also promote learning and inform effective teaching.

Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques That Put Students on the Path to College

This is a very detailed summary of the book ‘Teach Like a Champion: 49 techniques that put students on the path to college’ by Doug Lemov ( Jossey-Bass , 2010)

There’s a lot here that you could have a go at to improve questioning for AfL .  For example, have a look at:

technique 2 – right is right

technique 3 – stretch it

technique 22 – Cold call

One way to share success criteria is to create a rubric based on SOLO, as explained by Pam Hook.  Click on ‘wiki’ in the navigation panel, and then head for ‘HookEd wiki’. 

The HookED wiki has a focus on SOLO based approaches and effective strategies to enhance:

The wiki is full of practical strategies and examples showing how SOLO can be used to help students:

Linear Assessment Chapter 3: Developing Learning

Quality Assured Category: Science Publisher: National STEM Learning Centre and Network

This is part of an ibook, produced by the Science Learning Centres for the Triple Science Support Programme, which looks at teaching and learning in triple science. 

Included are two sections which:

• Reflect on the essential role of assessment for learning in effective teaching • Explore misconceptions

formative assessment examples for science

Black Box Series -

The Black Box Series offers easy-to-read advice for teachers on how to implement the key techniques within formative assessment – questioning, feedback, and peer/self assessment. Each booklet includes important research findings and recommendations for supporting and embedding assessment for learning in classrooms.  Based on extensive research by the King’s College London team with teachers throughout the United Kingdom, the unique booklets offer specific examples of what assessment for learning’ can look like across the relevant subject areas.

What are rubrics and why are they important?

This webpage gives a detailed summary of the book How to Create and Use Rubrics for Formative Assessment and Grading, by Susan M. Brookhart

Like any other evaluation tool, rubrics are useful for certain purposes and not for others. The main purpose of rubrics is to assess performances . For some performances, you observe the student in the process of doing something. For other performances, you observe the product that is the result of the student's work, like a written report.

AfL toolkit

70 different activities, ideas or tools based around assessment for learning.

Education Endowment Foundation toolkit

This resource analyses the effectiveness of the implementation of assessment for learning strategies in schools in terms of average impact on attainment, the strength of the evidence supporting the strategy, and the cost. It also suggests some strategies which senior leaders and teachers may wish to consider.

This resource is from the Sutton Trust - EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit, an accessible summary of educational research which provides guidance for teachers and schools on how to use their resources to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.

The Toolkit currently covers over 34 topics. It has been recommended by the Department for Education, Ofsted and the headteachers’ associations as a valuable resource in prioritising pupil premium spending. More than half of secondary school leaders now say they use the Toolkit.

Assessment for Learning

Quality Assured Category: Engineering Publisher: Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS)

Produced by LSIS, these materials offer examples of how Assessment for Learning can be built into teaching and learning sessions. They include a video which examines how a range of strategies can be used to assess students' understanding. There is a session plan which gives detailed guidance on how to set up and run an activity into magnetic fields and electric motors. This includes a suggested approach to help teachers and trainers assess learning.

formative assessment examples for science

Improving Teaching and Learning in Science

Quality Assured Category: Science Publisher: Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS)

The video on promoting discussion is very useful for seeing how students can develop their thinking by discussing questions in groups, giving the teacher a good insight into students' understanding

Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment Techniques for Your Classroom, 2nd Edition

Fisher and Frey explore a variety of engaging activities that check for and increase understanding, including interactive writing, portfolios, multimedia presentations, audience response systems, and much more.

This new 2nd edition of Checking for Understanding has been updated to reflect the latest thinking in formative assessment and to show how the concepts apply in the context of Fisher and Frey's work on gradual release of responsibility, guided instruction, formative assessment systems, data analysis, and quality instruction.

Strengthening Teaching and Learning in Science Through Using Different Pedagogies

Quality Assured Category: Science Publisher: Department for Education

Within this resource are:

Unit 1 - Using group talk and argument: explores why using group talk and setting up conditions for healthy argument is important; provides guidance on how various groupings can be used in the laboratory and gives advice on choosing a stimulus for group talk.

Unit 2 - Active questioning: brings together advice on questioning as a tool for students’ learning and helps teachers to plan for questioning to stimulate higher-order thinking

formative assessment examples for science

Introduction to Assessment for Learning

A useful online module for teachers to explore assessment for learning, with information on:

Learning intentions

Success criteria and rubrics

Strategic questioning

Peer feedback

Student self-assessment

Formative use of summative assessment

Hohn Hattie: Learning Intentions and success criteria

A quick video on sharing learning intentions

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Formative and summative assessments.

Assessment allows both instructor and student to monitor progress towards achieving learning objectives, and can be approached in a variety of ways. Formative assessment refers to tools that identify misconceptions, struggles, and learning gaps along the way and assess how to close those gaps. It includes effective tools for helping to shape learning, and can even bolster students’ abilities to take ownership of their learning when they understand that the goal is to improve learning, not apply final marks (Trumbull and Lash, 2013). It can include students assessing themselves, peers, or even the instructor, through writing, quizzes, conversation, and more. In short, formative assessment occurs throughout a class or course, and seeks to improve student achievement of learning objectives through approaches that can support specific student needs (Theal and Franklin, 2010, p. 151). 

In contrast, summative assessments evaluate student learning, knowledge, proficiency, or success at the conclusion of an instructional period, like a unit, course, or program. Summative assessments are almost always formally graded and often heavily weighted (though they do not need to be). Summative assessment can be used to great effect in conjunction and alignment with formative assessment, and instructors can consider a variety of ways to combine these approaches. 

Examples of Formative and Summative Assessments

Both forms of assessment can vary across several dimensions (Trumbull and Lash, 2013): 


Formative Assessment   Ideally, formative assessment strategies improve teaching and learning simultaneously. Instructors can help students grow as learners by actively encouraging them to self-assess their own skills and knowledge retention, and by giving clear instructions and feedback. Seven principles (adapted from Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick, 2007 with additions) can guide instructor strategies:

Instructors can find a variety of other formative assessment techniques through Angelo and Cross (1993), Classroom Assessment Techniques (list of techniques available here ).

Summative Assessment   Because summative assessments are usually higher-stakes than formative assessments, it is especially important to ensure that the assessment aligns with the goals and expected outcomes of the instruction.  

Considerations for Online Assessments

Effectively implementing assessments in an online teaching environment can be particularly challenging. The Poorvu Center shares these  recommendations .

Nicol, D.J. and Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006) Formative assessment and self‐regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education 31(2): 2-19.

Theall, M. and Franklin J.L. (2010). Assessing Teaching Practices and Effectiveness for Formative Purposes. In: A Guide to Faculty Development. KJ Gillespie and DL Robertson (Eds). Jossey Bass: San Francisco, CA.

Trumbull, E., & Lash, A. (2013). Understanding formative assessment: Insights from learning theory and measurement theory. San Francisco: WestEd.


formative assessment examples for science

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Formative Assessment Probes

Using Formative Assessment Probes With Real or Virtual Field Trips

Science and Children—September/October 2020 (Volume 58, Issue 1)

By Page Keeley

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On a recent visit to the IMAG History and Science Center in Fort Myers, Florida, I sat with a class of fifth graders as they were learning about Earth systems at the museum’s Science On a Sphere exhibit. Researchers at NOAA developed this exhibit, which is currently on display at science museums across the country—a six-foot diameter sphere on which video projectors display Earth’s geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere with real-time data. As students learned about the distribution of water on Earth, I realized how useful it would be to precede a field trip experience, whether in real time or virtually, with a formative assessment probe. 

Using a formative assessment probe prior to a real-time or virtual field trip activates students’ thinking about the concepts and phenomena they will be learning about during their experience. It also provides useful formative assessment data that elicits students’ initial ideas prior to the field trip so that the teacher and the exhibit presenter are aware of and can address students’ preconceptions during their learning experience. Returning to school after the field trip, the teacher can use the same probe a second time, providing an opportunity for students to revise their initial ideas and construct a new, scientific explanation based on the evidence and information they gathered from their field trip experience.

Shadow Size probe.

Shadow Size probe.

For example, prior to observing the hydrosphere projection on the Science On a Sphere exhibit, students could be asked to predict what covers most of the Earth’s surface using the “Land or Water?” formative assessment probe (Keeley and Tucker 2016). A commonly held response is Eliete’s: “I think Earth’s surface is about half water and half land.” During the presentation, students observe and learn that most of Earth’s surface is covered by ocean. There is also fresh water from the ice caps and a small amount of water in Earth’s rivers, lakes, and other surface waters. Only a little less than one-third of the Earth’s surface is covered by land, which is surprising to most students. When they revisit the probe again, they use their observations as evidence to support their revised answer choice and explanation. Even the students who predicted that Earth is covered mostly by water can now construct a more detailed explanation that includes a description of Earth’s oceanic and fresh water distribution.

Whether a field trip is in real time or virtual; a public attraction such as a museum, zoo, or planetarium; or simply a walk to a neighborhood outdoor site, students and teachers benefit from using a formative assessment probe (or set of probes) prior to and following the experience. As you define your learning target and identify ways the real-time or virtual field trip experience can provide an out-of-the-classroom opportunity to develop an understanding of important scientific ideas, select probes that will activate student interest and draw out ideas that serve as the starting point for the field trip experience. While all the books in the Uncovering Student Ideas series can be used with field trips, the following are examples from the Uncovering Student Ideas About Earth and Environmental Science book (Keeley and Tucker 2016) that can be used with real or virtual field trips:

Keeley, P., and L. Tucker. 2016. Uncovering student ideas about earth and environmental science: 32 new formative assessment probes. Arlington, VA: NSTA Press.

Internet Resource

Science On a Sphere

Page Keeley ( [email protected] ) is a science education consultant and the author of the Uncovering Student Ideas in Science series ( ).

Assessment Earth & Space Science Elementary

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Formative Assessment Examples For Kindergarten

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Advantages Of Formative Assessment

Write It On The Whiteboard

Its simple, we know, but if your students have individual whiteboards, this is an effective formative assessment idea. Similar to using hand signals, assign a value to numbers or letters such as A means I dont understand, and Be means I almost have it. Direct students to write the letter on their whiteboards and hold them up.

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Examples Of Formative Assessment

After a lesson, you can ask students to take part in an impromptu quiz to know how well they understood the course material. An easy way to do this is by creating a short online quiz with relevant close-ended questions using Formplus.

A poll is a way to gather instant feedback from students as they learn by asking the right questions. Formplus allows you to create simple and fun polls that help you to evaluate your students knowledge as part of formative assessment.

With multiple form field options, you can have different types of rating questions in your poll including heart and emoji ratings. Formplus also has an automatic poll closing option making it easier for you to integrate the online polls into the overall teaching and learning process.

Another way to assess students knowledge on the go is by asking them to create simple one-minute papers they can do this online with Formplus. You can create a simple 1-minute survey with open-ended questions and ask your students to share their knowledge within a particular context.

Before starting off on a new topic or lesson, you can ask one or more questions to know how much the students remember from the previous lesson. You can edit any of our online surveys and list differentiated questions for the students to respond to.

Thumbs Up Thumbs Down

24 page, Illustrated Kindergarten Assessment

Before continuing on with a lesson, ask students to hold up a thumbs up, thumbs down, or a sideways thumb to indicate how they feel about their level of understanding. Its helpful to hang a sign or anchor chart in the classroom to remind students of what each sign means:

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Formal Formative Assessment And Informal Formative Assessment

Often, formative assessments are contrasted with formal assessments, implying that all formative assessments are informal. While its true that summative assessments and standardized tests are more formal than common formative assessments, there is still variation in the latter in the degree of formality.

Educators can assess students by taking notes. But there are also valid and reliable scales used by researchers to formatively assess young learners. For example, the Desired Results Developmental Profile looks at the development continuum from early infancy to kindergarten. It contains rating scales that are based on the acquisition of age-appropriate developmental milestones.

Similarly, National Institute of Early Education Research researchers have developed the Early Learning Scale and Kindergarten Early Learning Scale. These scales contain items that are easily measurable and critical to present and future learning.

At Sprig Learning, we too have developed our own scale for early learning that is developed by educators, based on best practices and tested for efficacy, accuracy and bias. Adopting such a formative assessment approach ensures that educators are able to make timely data-informed decisions at every step of the childs learning journey.

Intentional Assessments Throughout The Day

Doing my own flexible assessments enables me to collect information about students that goes beyond the scripted, mandated assessments. I do observations and keep running records that allow me to look at each student as a whole child, including a childs approaches to learning, language development and communication, cognitive development, emotional and social development, and health and physical development.

What I find most useful is systematically observing children throughout the day in the natural learning environment. This practice, which all intentional teachers use, doesnt interrupt instruction. The challenge comes from recording or documenting what I learn from watching the children so that I can reflect on the information and use it to guide and differentiate instruction. Current technology aids in information gathering. Photos and videos are quick and easy ways to document student learning. Some free software platforms even empower children to use technology to document their learning.

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Research Question : How Do Teachers And Early Childhood Educators Articulate The Relationship Between Formative Assessment And Co

In order to answer the first research question, two main themes were identified: 1) Authentic assessment and self-regulation practices, and 2) Feedback as Foundational. Each theme will be described in greater detail below and include illustrative examples from interviews and observations to operationalize the relationship between formative assessment and co-regulation.

View From The Classroom: Formative Assessments In Early Childhood Education

Q& A with Rori Hodges | May 21, 2020

For Part 2 of our blog series from the Southwest Early Childhood Education Research Partnership , REL Southwest invited Oklahoma educator Rori Hodges to discuss her experience using formative assessment in prekindergarten classrooms. Hodges taught for 10 years at Bridge Creek Early Childhood Center in Blanchard, Oklahoma, and this year became a grade 3 teacher at Bridge Creek Intermediate School.

Teachers use ongoing formative assessments throughout the school year to collect evidence of students knowledge and skills. In early childhood settings, formative assessments usually take place during regular classroom instruction and activities. The information collected guides planning for instruction to better support each childs learning and development. For more on the topic, see Part 1 of this blog series, which features REL Southwests video Every Child Shines , an introduction to the use of formative assessment in preK and kindergarten.

REL Southwest: What types of assessment do you use with preK children? How does formative assessment fit into your assessment plan?

REL Southwest: Do you assess all children at the same time, in small groups, individually?

REL Southwest: What strategies do you use to assess children?

REL Southwest: What challenges do you face when implementing formative assessment? How do you address those challenges?

REL Southwest: What do you do with the data from the assessment? Do you share the results with others?

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What Is A Formal Assessment

Formal assessments include multiple data-driven methods that teachers depend on for student evaluation . These types of evaluation often use a standard grading system that allows teachers to score every student objectively.

Depending on the context, formal assessments can be norm-referenced or criterion-referenced. For example, if you want to know how a learners score compares to the average class score, then a norm-referenced is your best bet.

Using Key Early Learning Documents To Plan Formative Assessment

The State of California provides two documents, California Preschool Learning Foundations, Vols. 1-3 and The Alignment of the California Preschool Learning Foundations with Key Early Education Resources , that provide support for teachers as they use formative assessment. Several specific examples are cited below.

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Future Directions For Research

It is clear that scholars should continue to examine the directionality of the relationship between formative assessment and co-regulation. Findings from this study suggest that there may be a bidirectional relationship between the two constructs where they each benefit the other in Kindergarten classrooms. Further, researchers also need to employ more time points during instruction beyond the middle and end of the year as those were explored in the current study. Thus, longitudinal studies and research with more occasions of measurement are needed. Lastly, as more is understood about the relationship between co-regulation and assessment, interventional studies should be used to examine the effects of specific formative assessment practices on co-regulation.

Informal Assessment Vs Formal Assessment

38 best Kindergarten Assessment &  Evaluation images on Pinterest ...

Though both formal and informal assessments are methods to evaluate student understanding, the two types of assessment differ in how they are used. For example, formal assessments are more common in school and often assign letter grades.

These assessments usually take the form of tests or quizzes that cover specific material. In contrast, informal assessments are not tied to any formal grading system and can take many different forms. For example, a teacher might ask students to explain their thinking on a particular topic or have a discussion about what they have read.

Because informal assessments do not have standardized criteria, they can be more flexible and give teachers a better sense of how individual students are doing. Ultimately, both formal and informal assessments have advantages and disadvantages, and which type of assessment depends on the teachers goals.

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Instant Formative Assessment For Teachers

56. Fingers Up Have students show their level of knowledge by showing a certain number of fingers. One finger means uncertainty and discomfort while five fingers means strong confidence with the content.

57. Hand Thermometer Students put their hand up only a distance they think they are comfortable with the knowledge. A low hand up shows mild comfort, a medium shows moderate understanding, and a stretched hand shows high confidence in the content.

58. Quick Nod Ask students to nod if they understand. This can be great as a very fast way to check for comprehension in the middle of a task.

59. Red / Green Cards Provide students with red and green cards. They can hold up the green card if they are ready to move on to the next part of the lesson or the red card if theyre still confused.

60. Thumbs Up, Middle, Thumbs Down Have students quickly respond with their thumbs to show levels of understanding or enthusiasm.

61. Traffic Lights An extension of red/green cards, the traffic lights system also have an amber color for students who are feeling tentative about their progress. For this one, you can pair students who held up green lights with those who held up amber lights to teach each other while the teacher works with students who held up red lights.

62. Two Roses and a Thorn Have students present two things they are happy or knowledgeable about, and one thing they are still finding prickly.

Theme : Authentic Assessment And Self

Most teachers and all ECEs emphasized that their classroom assessment and self-regulation practices needed to be authentic, interactive, and developmentally appropriate. Part of the authenticity included having assessment as a natural part of the classroom environment and relevant to the students. For most formative assessment, teachers did not remove students from their environment to assess. Rather, they tried to assess while students were engaged in play and learning. For example, this ECE described further, and with our with assessments, were trying to do them very naturally. So, its not like stressful for the children . Another strategy that contributed to authentic assessment and self-regulation practices included planning for both to occur daily. All participants discussed how they incorporated students interests which added authenticity.

continue to help them and getting kids to help co-regulate we have amazing co regulators in here too. So, getting other children on board as well because just like learning through play and learning oral language through play, children learned co-regulation and self-regulation through play as well … .

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Free 8+ Sample Preschool Assessment Forms In Pdf

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Becky Holden’s Bio As Submitted

Becky Holden, an Early Education Mathematics Specialist at Trinity School in Atlanta for the last four years, supports students and teachers in Early Learners , Pre-K, Kindergarten, and First Grade. Over her 42-year educational career, she has also written mathematics curriculum for the state of Tennessee, was a reading consultant and a K-5 district math coach, and spent 33 years in the classroom. A recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, Holden is a National Board Certified Teacher who is passionate about primary school mathematics.

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As You Set Expectations And Kick Off The Project

If you have begun our implementation with an entry event , use an exit slip to get students thinking about the issue or topic and sharing past experiences that connect to it. This provides valuable information to consider before you begin talking with students about what they might do or create during the PBL process, who they will be working with, and your expectations for their work and effort.

After students have been given an opportunity to think on their own or in small groups, use whole class discussion to both foster additional ideas and thinking and gain insight into student knowledge and thinking. Listening to your students discuss their ideas, experiences, and opinions is perhaps the most effective formative assessment you can do .

If you have a clear picture of the work you expect students to complete, and their exit slips reflect the experience and ability to do it, share examples of what that their work might look like or what other students have done in the past. Ask students to share their thinking and opinion about the example, in verbal or written format to help you determine their thinking matches your expectations.

If you have developed a rubric or checklist for student work, share it with learners. If your students have experience with project work, invite them to work with you to develop the assessment criteria to get them thinking more deeply about the components of what their work might entail and what quality work looks like.

How To Use Formative Assessment In Your Classroom: 5 Effective Ways

Formative assessment is one of the most critical parts of teaching and learning. It helps both teachers and learners to meet the end objectives.

Every teacher uses a different approach to evaluate assessment in the classroom. However, more broadly, two types of assessments are commonly practiced Formative and Summative Assessments . Formative assessment helps bridge learning gaps and evaluate students progress during the learning process, unlike summative assessment.

Thus, modern teachers use formative assessments to create an intellectual learning environment in their classrooms. So, lets have a better look at formative assessment before adopting it in your classroom.

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Examples From Preschool Learning Foundations

When embedded in instruction, each behavior in the examples below can present opportunities for formative assessment observations or interactions and provide information to inform instruction.

Note: All examples below refer to 60 month Preschool Learning Foundations .

Self 2.1 | Self-Regulation

Formative Assessment: You make a note that a student who often struggles with self-regulation during clean-up sees that you are preparing to signal a transition, and alerts their peers that it is time to clean up.

Vocabulary 2.3 | Understand and use simple and complex words to describe relationships

Formative Assessment: After a lesson on conceptual relationships, you assess students knowledge of relationships by asking them to identify classroom objects that are larger than another selected object.

Algebra and Functions 2.1 | Recognize and duplicate simple repeating patterns

During The Reflection Process

Pin by desiree roh on Assessment and Documentation

Project celebrations or events where student work in PBL is shared are fantastic opportunities for summative assessment. If your PBL implementation includes presentations of learning as well, you can use the information gleaned during the process to inform your approach to future project work with these students.

During presentations of learning , students, or teams of students, share how their knowledge, skills, and learning progressed over the course of project work. As students share more deeply about the process and receive feedback from their peers and other audience members, you gain a deeper insight into what worked and what didnt for each learner. Use and reflect on this information to adjust your approach to content and process during your next project implementation.

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  1. Formative Assessments in Science

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    By David Wees. December 10, 2012. I've created a presentation (with some help from my colleagues) on different examples of formative assessment . Note the definition I'm using at the beginning of the presentation: A formative assessment or assignment is a tool teachers use to give feedback to students and/or guide their instruction.

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  23. Formative Assessment Examples For Kindergarten

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