Continuous Formative Assessment

Are your students ever surprised when they fail a test? Are you ever surprised that they didn’t seem to notice they’d been struggling with the homework? Or when they did notice but didn’t do anything about it?

Some students haven’t mastered the skills of noticing and understanding the patterns in their schoolwork. Or in knowing what to do if they get stuck.

And with more and more distractions these days, even conscientious students can miss that they’re missing something.

A tutor working with a struggling student can provide extra guided practice. This is called formative assessment and can help both the student and instructor understand where the student is struggling.

In an ideal world, formative assessments would happen often, in small doses. That way, the student always knows if they’re still on track. This approach is called continuous formative assessment.

But it can be very time consuming for the instructor. And many students don’t have regular access to a tutor.

Luckily, this is one problem that software can solve—at least for some skills and in some subjects.

As digital courseware replaces textbooks, practice problems can be offered and graded automatically. Then analytics can tell the student and instructor when they are struggling on particular kinds of problems.

And courseware with adaptive learning features can give feedback and more specific practice problems as needed.

When you evaluate courseware with adaptive learning, remember, every product is different. Some are better than others, and some will best fit with the way you teach. Think about how well it can give your students the regular feedback they need, so they don’t miss anything.

And avoid unpleasant surprises for everyone. (see more blogs about education technology)