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Expert Corner: Progress Monitoring using Formative Assessments and Gizmos

Having a strategic approach is key when it comes to designing, administering, and analyzing formative assessments to guide the remediation of student progress toward specific standards or benchmarks. We will show how Gizmos can be used to help teachers remediate student progress towards specific benchmarks, and offer examples of a specific plan to do so.

From Harry and Rosemary Wong, to Robert Marzano, to Charlotte Danielson, educational researchers validate the importance of assessing students’ prior knowledge and formatively assessing students’ progress regularly as best teaching practices.

“To help students reach the highest possible level of achievement, the effective teacher is constantly assessing for student learning. This helps students go where they need to go and it helps them determine how best to get there (Wong and Wong, 2009).”

Using formative assessment data strategically is paramount as “Formative tests are used to determine what remediation is needed for a student to master the content, skills, or objective (Wong and Wong, 2009).”

The design and administration of formative assessments

Formative assessments can be teacher created, but in most cases the assessments are prepared by a professional learning community or by district level staff. No matter the method, the objective remains the same: to design a tool in order to pre-assess and/or monitor the progress of student performance. One critical attribute when designing an assessment is to tightly tie each question to a specific national or state standard or benchmark. This should be considered non-negotiable when designing a formative assessment tool. However, the question type, whether multiple choice, open ended, short response or essay, is optional. While most formative assessment questions are multiple choice, this design method is typically selected for ease of scoring to allow for instantaneous feedback and data analysis.

An action plan for using Gizmos for remediation

Analyzing and ranking formative assessment data are the first steps in a preparing to use Gizmos for remediation.

It’s critical for a teacher to take time to analyze class-level and individual student assessment data. This will help equip a teacher with a clear understanding of 3 main criteria that will help in remediation: what standards students show mastery with, what standards they are still in progress of learning, and what standards students need the most support with. This can be easily identified by sorting assessment items. Each assessment item should be tied to a specific standard or benchmark and ranked from lowest performing to highest performing.

The next step is to locate Gizmos that correlate to each standard or benchmark on the ranked list. Gizmos are easily browsed by math and science standards using the Browse Gizmos feature found on www.explorelearning.com. Gizmos are versatile and perfect for a wide variety of remediation modes, such as whole class or individual instruction. Gizmos offer targeted support to remediate specific standards and benchmarks.

The last steps are to select the mode for remediation and the program for re-teaching and re-assessment. The mode of which remediation will occur relies upon the teacher’s professional judgment and “action plan,” often referred to as a continuous improvement model (CIM). This model may contain similar objectives and strategies to a response to intervention (RtI) model.

Teachers can use Gizmos to re-teach a whole –class mini lesson, to provide stations during a small group activity, or to offer individual instruction when offering accommodations for ESE, ESOL/LEP and students with disabilities. Teachers can also use them for individual re-teach and enrichment before or after school in a computer lab, as part of an extended learning program offered through a learning management system (LMS), or even as part of a high stakes testing prep boot camp offered after school hours or on a Saturday.

In addition, when students interact with Gizmos during remediation, they become familiar with completing computational tasks, which is essential with computer-based assessments such as PARCC, SBAC, or state equivalent assessments.

For a practical approach to formative assessment and remediation using Gizmos, please see this PDF. It gives examples of how to administer, analyze and plan.

And here’s a link to an article from Edutopia about how formative assessment has the power to transform teaching.

Professional Photo, 2013Corey J. Peloquin received his Bachelor of Science from Eckerd College, a Masters Degree in Administration/Supervision Educational Leadership from National Louis University, and STEM Education certification from the Teacher’s College of Columbia University in partnership with NASA.  Corey has taught various middle and high school science courses in Pinellas County Public Schools and the School District of Hillsborough County during which he received several regional, state, and national accolades. Corey then became a New Teacher Mentor as part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation “Empowering Effective Teachers” grant. In 2011, Corey became a Project Manager for ExploreLearning and currently serves as an Assistant Implementation Coordinator Manager at ExploreLearning. Corey works with EL Project Managers across Florida in providing project management and professional development services. Corey’s areas of focus include science, classroom technology integration, and pedagogical content practices.