Formative Assessment Made the Right Way

Written by Karin Hogen, Middle School ELA Teacher, DocentEDU co-founder.

Since we are founded by two teachers, we take pedagogy seriously. In fact, we were founded by Matt and Karin since they took pedagogy and good teaching so seriously. They sensed an acute need to a technology product to allow them to formatively assess their students in an easy and quick way digitally. So, they created DocentEDU.

Over the past almost 2 years (wow!) we have become much more than a product you can use for formative assessment. That doesn’t mean, however, that we aren’t great for formative assessment. Let us tell you why.

Firstly, formative assessment should be two things: formative and something that assesses. That may seem straightforward, but let us explain a little more.

Most people understand what assessment means. The teacher should get to know as quickly as possible what his/her students understand or don’t understand. Hopefully, this goes the other way as well. Students should know as quickly as possible what they do or don’t understand.

The formative part of formative assessment is actually based on the creation of understanding. You see, formative assessment isn’t just a knowledge checker; no, it is a knowledge creator. Giving a student a worksheet with a paragraph and then a bunch of questions at the end isn’t formative assessment. Matt and Karin (as teachers) know that teaching is so stressful and time consuming, it seems like this is all we have time to make some mornings. But, we also know as professional educators that formative assessment should strive to have students form their own knowledge of a subject, think critically, and finally allow the students themselves as well as the teacher to quickly assess their critical thinking and knowledge formation. That is the ultimate formative assessment.

We here at DocentEDU know that you can use our extension/app to do just that: give formative assessments following best practice. DocentEDU allows you to do the following:

  • Have students create their own knowledge of a subject
  • Have students think critically
  • Students can quickly assess their own learning
  • Teachers can quickly assess their students’ learning

Check out this infographic comparing a DocentEDU lesson to a textbook lesson or a Google Doc lesson.

If you’d like more explanation, this chart shows you how to use DocentEDU to follow best practice. It has linked instructional videos.

SkillDocentEDU ToolStudents creating own knowledge

Critical thinking

Students assessing own learning

Teachers assessing student learning

All in all, DocentEDU is the tool that you can use in any curriculum area to help with high-quality, best practice, formative assessment.

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