8 Useful Links That Make Formative Assessment Easy

An interesting discussion is happening on LinkedIn. Pablo Garcia, entrepreneur, engineer and educator, starts the topic with this question: Formative Assesment: Why don’t we all use it?

One answer is another question: Don’t all teachers use it?

Another answer: Most teachers do use formative assessments on a daily basis, but some may not know to call them formative because the jargon of education swaps out synonymous terms every 7 to 10 years.

A solution: Project Based Learning (PBL) structures provide for lessons that enable teachers to observe student learning while they are in the process of learning. This is formative assessment.

In the LinkedIn discussion, Pablo asserts that “one learns largely through observing behaviours on the fly.” Formative assessment helps teachers monitor the affects of their instruction on student learning in a similar way through observations and documentation. It provides rapid results to inform instruction, and teachers can alter techniques to fit student needs the next day instead of waiting for data analysis from the prior school year.

It’s real-time assessment of instructional effectiveness and academic achievement, and Project Based Learning is the perfect structure for it’s implementation.

Pablo also shares an important formative assessment of his own: “When I look at what teachers actually spend time doing, I also see far too much time spent in analysing and reporting.” Often teachers get pulled out of the classroom to do just that — analyze and report. It’s part of the test climate. In the classroom, however, formative assessments go on all the time. It’s a matter of using running records, or formalizing the process a little more — formal in the sense of having checklists, rubrics or student work that shows evidence of learning, and documentation that relates. Not every time, of course, but at least once or twice per lesson such as pre- and post-lesson assessments with notes on the process.

It is the issue of time in planning, and it is unbelievably disconcerting how much teachers are taken away from planning and class time to go over information that correlates with what they already know.

There is a misconception that formative assessments have to be formal and paperwork intensive. Formative assessment relies a lot on intuition, and teachers need the time in teaching —  in the classroom — to enable the observation process to work well. If teachers are to use more formative type assessments, they need more leeway from local and national education leaders, more curricular options that enable the implementation, and more time-saving ways to document formative assessments. Project Based Learning provides for ongoing formative assessments both formal and informal, and the structure itself is a formative assessment process.

PBL Units from GoTeachGo

Visit TeachersPayTeachers where GoTeachGo offers comprehensive PBL units. All these units provide time-saving materials and assessments for each lesson, and each lesson supports the unit objective as a whole.

Here are some other great places to find ideas for formative assessments.
  1. Project Based Learning Units (PBL) from GoTeachGo
  2. 54 Different Examples of Formative Assessments
  3. 103 Formative Assessments
  4. Examples of Formative Assessments – West Virginia Department of Education
  5. A Sampling of Formative Types of Assessments
  6. Reading A-Z: Running Records and Benchmark Books
  7. Teacher Vision – Printable Running Records Forms
  8. Running Record Images and Links


Author: Sheri Rose, Precision Copy Editing, LLC  https://plus.google.com/105676342366391630778/

6 Common ESL Grammar Errors Conquered by Project Based Learning

Many activities help ESL students learn English, but collaboration helps bridge conversational learning with academic content. Project Based Learning (PBL) enables collaboration by requiring students to engage in partner and group structures that promote total participation and enable opportunities for differentiated instruction.

In PBL lessons and units, ESL students move more quickly toward academic language acquisition because the conversation moves from the school grounds into the classroom with instruction that promotes the inquiry process

  • questioning and investigating,
  • comparing and interpreting information,
  • and reporting findings

Students work in partners and groups. How these pairings and groupings are structured depends on the number of ESL students in a classroom and their language levels. Keep the following list of grammar problems in mind when structuring your PBL lessons.

6 Common ESL Grammar Errors

Some native English students struggle with these grammar concepts, but all ESL students struggle with them. It takes a long time in repetition and practice to overcome these errors. This is why collaboration is so important. The understanding of these grammar concepts may be learned, but usage and practice is limited unless English is also spoken at home.

The following list of six errors also includes examples taken from “Editing Line-by-Line“, a chapter written by Cynthia Linville, CSUS, for the book ESL Writers: A Guide for Writing Center Tutors.

Use this list as a reference to plan your own PBL lessons and/or units.

1. Subject-verb Agreement – subject doesn’t agree with verb in person or in number

  • He walk every day.
  • Ever teenager knows how to choose clothes that flatters her figure.

2. Verb-tense – incorrect time marker used

  • I was working on my paper since 6:00 a.m.
  • Even though this is my first day on the job, I have already found there were some different people here.

3. Verb-form – verbs incorrectly formed

  • I will driven to the airport next week.
  • I was cook dinner last night when you called.

4. Singular and plural errors – confusion about nouns that are countable and ones that aren’t.

  • I have turned in all my homework this week.
  • I set up six more desk for the afternoon.

5. Word-form – wrong part of speech chosen

  • I’m happy to live in a democracy country.
  • I feel very confusing this morning.

6. Sentence structure errors – Many things—verb left out; extra word added; word order incomplete; clauses that don’t belong together are punctuated as one sentence

  • As a result of lack of moral values being taught by parents and the reemphasis by school many children have little respect for authority.

Check out the Critical Thinking Unit from GoTeachGo

Add grammar practice to the lessons in this unit. These lessons provide a perfect addition to the student reflection journal sessions. Students have options to share in pairs, within groups and for the whole class.

Recommended Reading
The Attitudes of Secondary Students Towards Learning English through Project Based Learning

Visit Kate’s TeachersPayTeachers site for lots of great PBL units.


author: Sheri Rose, Precision Copy Editng.  srose@precisioncopyeditingllc.com.