Formative Assessment

Our final quick fire for the summer was on formative assessment. It is a word that is being thrown out a lot in the educational world. But what exactly does it mean?

“Formative assessment is concerned with how judgments about the quality of    student responses (performances, pieces, or works) can be used to shape and improve the students’ competence by short-circuiting the randomness and inefficiency of trial-and-error learning.” Sadler (1998)

Formative assessment should not be concerned on a grade, it is more about quality feedback. This should be given by the teacher and by peers. This helps students develop their critical thinking skills, they analyze and evaluate their own work and find ways to improve.

I chose a 21st century skill and developed a lesson around the fulfillment of this skill.

21st Century Skill: Ability to respond appropriately to peer feedback

Content: Writing a Persuasive essay

1. Model giving feedback: I would ask one of my colleagues to write a 2 paragraph Persuasive essay. I would read it out loud and have it projected on the board. Next, I would give feedback and write it on the board. Making comments like, I think she should expand a little bit on this, I find this sentence confusing, the main idea of her essay is, she used proper punctuation throughout her essay.

2. Class Feedback: A different colleague writes a persuasive essay. Together as a class we would read it and analyze what needs to be improved, what aspect of the essay is well written, reflect on if the essay has convinced them to believe what the author believes, why and why not. Brainstorm on what aspects of a writing piece can you comment on, for example, their punctuation, good use of vivid adjectives, spelling, organization.

3. Response to Feedback: I would ask a colleague to write a response to something I wrote and model responding to that feedback and having a plan on how I would make improvements in my work.

4. Peer Feedback: each student receives feedback from two classmates.

5. Feedback Response: after reading and analyzing their feedbacks, students must write a reflection of what aspects to they agree with their classmates’ feedback, how would they make changes in their essays and/or what don’t they agree with and why. Students must support their arguments with evidence.

Technology: Google docs is the easiest way for students to share their work without having to worry about usbs or failed emails and it is easy to upload onto their eportfolios. It also allows students to finish at home, in case time was up in the computer lab.

Feedback Guideline

Write a sentence for each aspect of your classmates writing piece

1. Spelling: Write a sentence about your classmates spelling.
2. Verbs: choose two verbs which you thought were great examples of vivid verbs.
*If you think that there aren’t any examples, suggest an example of a verb they could use instead of one they used.
3. Adjectives: choose two adjectives that you thought were great examples of vivid adjectives.
*If you think that there aren’t any examples, suggest an example of a verb they could use instead of one they used.
4. Punctuation: tell your classmate if his/her writing was correctly punctuated or where they need to add periods, commas, exclamation points, question marks or quotation marks.
5. Title: Does the title catch your attention?
6. Persuasiveness: Did your classmate convince you? why or why not?
7. Favorite sentence.
8. Understanding: Is there any part of your classmate’s writing which you think is confusing or he/she needs to expand on?


Sadler, D. R. (1989). Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems. Instructional Science, 18, 119-144.


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