Home » Testing and Assessment » 5 Techniques of Formative Assessment and How to Use Them

5 Techniques of Formative Assessment and How to Use Them

techniques of formative assessment

There are two main types of assessment: formative and summative assessment.

Summative Assessment

It is after teaching assessment. It is the formal assessment that must be implemented according to certain criteria

Characteristics of Summative Assessment

  • Students know they are evaluated.
  • Used at the end of a month or the term.
  • Students perform a task or complete a project.
  • Students are observed and evaluated while performing or after finishing a product.

Defining the Criteria for the Summative Assessment

Consider the following steps:

  • Imagine yourself performing the task.
  • Limit the number of performance criteria.
  • Express the performance criteria in terms of observable pupil behaviours or product characteristics.
  • Don’t use ambiguous words in the performance criteria.
  • List the important aspects of the performance or product.
  • Arrange the performance criteria in the order in which they are likely to be observed.
  • Agree with a group of teachers upon accepted behaviours.

Formative Assessment

It is while teaching assessment. It is an informal assessment that can be implemented by using a lot of techniques.

Characteristics of Formative Assessment

  • Used all the time so it is called continuous informal assessment.
  • Students don’t know it is taking place.
  • Used to monitor students’ progress throughout the learning process.
  • Assessing behaviour and study habits.

Five Techniques of Formative Assessment

  1. Pair and group work.
  2. Concept-checking questions.
  3. Self-assessment.
  4. Review & project lessons.
  5. Homework.

1. Pairs and groups

This technique is used for monitoring students as they are performing tasks and when they are presenting their products.

When using this technique, you should go around to:

  • Check that students are on task.
  • Check that all are engaged.
  • Help where needed.
  • Assess learning.

2. Concept-checking questions

Ask concept questions to:

  • Check understanding of key concepts.
  • Know if students are following or having problems.

Examples of concept questions on a picture of two girls:

  • Where are the two girls?
  • Are they friends? Why/why not?

3. Self-assessment

Encourage students to assess their own progress and link it to a specific rubric i.e. the unit’s objectives.

Why Self-assessment?

  • Gives students responsibility for their own learning.
  • Gives students a realistic picture of their progress.
  • Boosts confidence and empowers students.
  • Shows students where they need to improve.
  • Provides a roundup of each unit for review.
  • Provides you with a snapshot of learning and progress to use for assessment of learning objectives achievement.

4 & 5. Review & Project Lessons and Homework

They are performance-based assessments that require students to apply their knowledge and skills in context, not merely complete a task on cue.

Before doing this kind of assessment you should answer these questions:

  • What am I trying to assess?      
  • What should my students know?
  • At what level should my students be performing?
  • What type of knowledge is being assessed: Memory, Reasoning, or Process?

Moreover, you should take into account the following points:

  • Time allowed.
  • Availability of resources in the classroom.
  • How much data is necessary in order to make an informed decision about the quality of a student’s performance? (Sampling)

Authentic Assessment

Whether you plan to use formal or informal assessment, you should think of how to make your assessment authentic.

Characteristics of Authentic Assessments

  • Students perform, create or produce something.
  • Students self-reflect on their products.
  • Measuring significant outcomes.
  • Developing higher-level thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Using meaningful tasks.               
  • Involving real-world applications.
  • Encouraging continuous learning.
  • Based on explicit criteria.
  • Is as important as curriculum and teaching.
  • Judged by humans, not a machine.
  • Involving individual and group work.

Final Assessment Tips

Below are two tips you should consider when you assess your students:

1. Use the ‘traffic light’ system.

Get students to grade work with a traffic light.

  • Red = I don’t understand (needs re-teaching)
  • Orange = partial understanding (needs more practice) 
  • Green = good understanding (objectives achieved).

2. Carry a small notebook

When you monitor the class, note down who needs more help and who needs extra activities.

Thanks For Reading

Liked this article and found it valuable, share it with your networks.

You can join my email list to be notified of the latest updates on elttguide.com and get TWO of my productsQuick-Start Guide To Teaching Listening In The Classroom & Quick-Start Guide To Teaching Grammar In The Classroom For FREE!

Join My Email List Now (It’s FREE)!

Want to Continue Your ELT Professional Development?

I offer various ELT publications on teaching English as a foreign language. 

In these publications, I put the gist of my experience in TEFL for +20 years with various learners and in various environments and cultures.

The techniques and tips in these publications are sure-fire teaching methods that worked for me well and they can work for you, as well, FOR SURE.

Go ahead and look at these publications to know more about each one of them and the problem & challenge each one focuses on to overcome.

Then, you can get what you have an interest in. It is very easy and cheap. You can afford it and you’ll never regret it if you decide to get one of them, FOR SURE.

Now, click to get a look at my Publications

And If You Want to be TEFL Certified?

Register for this live webcast. It is FREE


Leave a Reply