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Formative Assessment Ideas for Science

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

Formative assessments are a type of assessment that teachers use to gauge their students understanding. These assessments often help to inform instruction. In this lesson, we'll explore formative assessment ideas for science.

What Are Formative Assessments?

Formative assessments are non-graded assessments that can tell you if students are understanding a topic as they learn it. These assessments will let you know if you need to alter instruction, backtrack to review confusing topics, or just touch on individual questions as needed. In this lesson, we'll explore a few quick and active formative assessments that you can use mid-lesson. We'll also look at a few assignment-based assessment ideas that incorporate classwork or homework.

Quick and Active Formative Assessments

There are some quick ways to get a gauge on how students are doing in a subject.

Red, Yellow, Green

Provide every student with three traffic light pictures: red, yellow, and green. When you want to gauge your students' comprehension during an activity, ask them to hold up the sign that corresponds with their feelings. Red means students need another review; yellow means you can proceed if they can ask questions; and green means all is well. This can be accomplished with hand gestures as well, such as thumbs up, thumbs down, and flat palm. Use whatever method is easiest for you and your students.

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