ASQ - Education Division

Effective Formative Assessment: Common Instructional Checks

Abstract: In many classrooms in the United States, a vicious cycle occurs daily that goes like this: Students are presented material and tested on that material, and then are presented new material and tested on the new material. And the cycle continues. Students soon learn how to “play school,” meaning to study for short-term memory results, take the test, drop that material from the mind and repeat the same mental process for the new material. Thus, they get good grades but do not really learn. Given this background and our school district’s mission to “provide meaningful and engaging work in the pursuit of profound learning” (“profound” meaning learned in one situation and able to be applied in a different situation), we set off to develop a process to overcome the practice of “playing school” and truly pursue profound learning. To begin, the leadership design team, made up of the district’s principals and central office administrators, set out to develop a process that addressed the following two questions: 1) How do we get students to retain essential standards at each grade level? 2)How do we continually improve with even more students performing at above standard?

Keywords: Continuous Improvement - Primary and Secondary Education Brief

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