60 Non-Threatening Formative Assessment Techniques

60-non-threatening-formative-assessment-strategies60 Non-Threatening Formative Assessment Techniques

by TeachThought Staff

As frequently as a chef needs to check a sauce for taste, teachers should check for understanding.

These can be formal–formative or summative assessment, multiple choice, short answer, essay, matching, and related iconic “test” forms. But they can also be informal–conversations, gallery walks, sketches, and more.

We recently shared the Inconvenient Truths of Assessment, and one of the takeaways from that post by Terry Heick could be that rather focusing on the design of assessment, we could instead focus on a climate of assessment.–a classroom where snapshots of understanding are taken frequently and naturally, without the stress of performance for the student, or the burden of huge, unmanageable data results for the teachers.

So what about assessment as a matter of tone and purpose? If an assessment is non-traditional and non-threatening (or even less traditional and less threatening), how might that impact what it reveals? Does the tone of an assessment matter?

Is informal assessment a ‘lesser’ form altogether?

The Primary Benefit Of Informal Assessment

More than anything else, non-threatening, informal assessment can disarm the process of checking for understanding. The less formal the form, the less guarded or anxious the student might become. Stress and worry can quickly shut down the student’s ability to think, which yields misleading results–a poor “grade” which implies that a student understands a lot less than they actually do.

In that way, Levy County Schools in Florida’s Kim Lambert compilation of 60 Tools for Formative Assessment and Processing Activities can be useful to you as you collect data from all students, from the polished little academics to students for whom the classroom might be a less-than-comfortable place.

If the embed is broken, you should be able to find it here or here.

60 Non-Threatening Formative Assessment Techniques by K Lambert, OCPS Curriculum Services, 4/201; 

Please Login to comment
1 Comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Abel Journeyman

Just wish to say your article is great, and timely too.

The clarity in your post really shows your expertise on Assessment Techniques.

With your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the gratifying work.