Assessment Strategies (Formative Evaluation)

Posted by: Nesha Milicevic

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Formative evaluation takes place before or during a project’s implementation with the aim of improving the project’s design and performance. We should all be using this method, as it encourages the Students to take the time to provide feedback. This type of evaluation should be administered on a weekly basis, and last a few minutes of class time. This is an opportunity to provide feedback to Students during the lecture of the following week. Formative evaluations are very useful because feedback from Students allows the Instructor to respond to Student identified challenges. It also reinforces the strengths of teaching and you can adjust the lesson plans as needed. In response to Student feedback, a detailed week by week reading syllabus should be provided, and/or a study guide for every quiz – as an enhancement. In response to positive feedback, i.e. Student expressed appreciation for the structure and guidance during small group work, a lesson plan should be included, and it should state a group work task/goal, time limit, role & responsibility, criteria, etc. Formative evaluation allows immediate response to Student concerns, and that relaxes the learning environment. It is not uncommon to receive criticism on the level of the language used, specifically on specialized vocabulary. Students without advanced language skills are challenged to understand specialized terms. The language of the disciplines taught should be used, and the intent needs to be explained to the Students, that they need to master specialized terms. This will teach us as instructors to adjust our teaching styles and modify our lesson plans, and every time we teach we need to try and add one more element to a lesson plan as a direct response to Student feedback.

Personally I follow a few techniques depending on the course I teach. I tend to ask for a lot of feedback verbally and I only do one summative evaluation at the end of my course. Peer assessments are added to the Student’s group project. Receiving feedback from my Students really helps me make adjustments as needed to my lectures, assignments, etc., as we go through the course. I believe that frequency is key, as a one-time only evaluation will really make a big difference.

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