Math in a Minute:
Formative Assessment Edition

Volume 3 Issue 26

Here are some great ideas to formatively assess learning during the school year.  These are also great ideas if you are planning to review before a standardized test. Instead of having learners answer question after question, the alternative is to have them analyze the question and interact with it on a deeper level.  These strategies also give you, the educator, more information about the thought process of each learner. Enjoy!

Get to the Point

After learners have worked through a few problems, have them code them as either "careless" errors or "clueless" errors. As the educator, you can provide additional opportunities for the learners to gain more understanding in the concept that caused them to not be able to answer the question. Click here to get the recording sheet.

Blind Sequencing

Separate the class into groups. Give each group a set of steps to solve a problem. Have the learners put the steps in order. This order should make sense to them and all members should be able to explain the order. Have groups explain their process and compare it to the other group's.
Another way to do this is to give every learner the same problem.  Have them identify the steps that they would take to solve it. Have them discuss with a partner or small group their process and compare it to the others.

Card Sort

Give learners problems that do not include the answer choices.  Have the learners analyze the problems and sort them in a way that makes sense to them.  They may sort them by topic, by operation, or however they see fit. There is no correct way to sort them, but the learners have an opportunity to analyze the question prior to answering them.

It's Another Way

Give the learners a problem without any answer choices.  After they solve it, tell them that the answer is not in the form of a single number... It is written another way!  Have them brainstorm other ways the answer may be written.

Example: If the answer is “4”, the answer may be written “32÷☐=8” or “There are 4 dogs in each cage.”

Rock and Roll Review

Sort the learners into pairs. Put problems around the room and allow the learners to walk around to these problems.  When the pair gets to a problem, they roll a die.  Depending on the number rolled, the pair will interact with the problem. This can be recorded in a math journal, paper or digital device.
   1 = State the big idea or concept of the problem.
  2 = Communicate your plan to answer the problem.
  3 = Determine the best WRONG answer and justify your thinking.
  4 = Identify the strategy or strategies you would use to solve the problem.
  5 = Select the WORST answer and justify your thinking.
  6 = Determine the CORRECT answer and justify your thinking.

In many of these cases, the learners must solve the problem to be able to do the specified task. While the learners are working through each of the problems, the educator walks around to listen to conversation, prompt deeper thinking and answer questions.
Click here for a recording sheet created by G.C. at Lakeside Elementary.

3 - 2 - 1 Review

Students take a short test. After grading it, have the students get in pairs and discuss the following about the problems:
  3 = Select three questions that you got right and explain it to a friend.
  2 = Select two questions that you thought you got correct but you didn't. Work with       
            your partner to answer the problem correctly.
  1 = Select one question that you were clueless about and just guessed. Find someone
            who can teach you how to get started, think about and answer this problem

Odd Man Out

Show the learners four problems.  Have them chose which problem is the odd one out.  Make sure they can justify their reasoning. Here are some examples:

3 Truths and 1 Lie

Show the class a problem.  Have each learner write 3 truths and 1 lie about the problem.  Have the learners pair up and share their 3 truths and 1 lie. Have the partners determine the lie and justify their answer.  Here's and example:

Truth or lie? - You can use subtraction to find the difference.
Truth or lie? - The answer choice D is unreasonable.
Truth or lie? - The can expect the answer to be more than 85,000 g.
Truth or lie? - You can use estimation to find the answer.