Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fun formative assessment...really? Yes!

What is formative assessment?

We use formative assessment to get constructive critiques on our work in the process of creating it.  For example, you might take your essay to the Social Studies Lab for comments from a teacher before you make your final edits and submit the paper.  Or, you may trade drafts of a project with other students to get their suggestions before moving forward towards the final product.  As a teacher, I might use formative assessment by asking you for feedback during a lesson so that I can structure our next class to better suit the needs and interests of the students.  

Formative assessment also helps us to focus on a growth mindset and makes us more comfortable with taking academic risks because there is less attachment to a letter grade.  As a result, we will become more active, adventurous learners with more analytical and sophisticated final products.  

  • When and how have you and your teachers used formative assessment in your Social Studies classes before?

Check out some of these links that further discuss the benefits of formative assessment in the classroom! 

Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery

Blogging and Formative Assessment

This year, it is my goal to use blogs and commenting as a formative assessment tool for our class.  Throughout the year, we will respond to thought-provoking questions, complete creative assignments, and use art and other multimedia to enhance the historical or political content we discuss.  Throughout these activities, we will use this blog and the commenting features to view and constructively critique the work of our classmates with the ultimate goal of challenging our thinking and improving our final products.  

 A fun and open learning environment online...  

These blogs will be an extension of our classroom and will be a place where we encourage academic risks and foster learning.  When we engage in formative assessment and comment on the work our classmates do, it is important to be deliberate in how and what we right.  The purpose of these activities is to improve, so of course we will expect comments that identify errors. question ideas, and challenge our thinking.  However, these comments will be most effective when they are presented with language that encourages growth rather than insults or diminishes the work of our peers.
  •  Give an example of using  constructive language when criticizing/complimenting your peers' work!

Now you try it... 

After reading the blog and exploring the article links above, write a comment or response to a comment on this post about how you think we should use formative assessment in our class this year. 

75 comments:

  1. I think that formative assessment is a good idea. I think that it will help to figure out what learning methods to use and I also think that it's better because it will be throughout the year, instead of at the end when it might be hard to remember everything. -Catherine McNamara

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  2. I think that formative assessment is a great idea. By getting critique on work from other students nobody will fall behind, because they are learning it from their peers.
    -Graham Nadel

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  3. The formative assessment is a good idea because it will help to encourage a growth mindset opposed to a fixed mindset that limits learning and reinforces the idea of the letter grade. Along the way we also learn about how we learn and how to improve our learning abilities.

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  4. The formative assessment is a great tool to prepare us for the next day in class as well years to come when we get jobs and move on in life. We will always be critiqued in life and learning to use them to help improve our writing. It will make it easier to accept that we are not going to write the perfect essay the first time, we can always improve and having our peers as those who are also the critiques helps them with their own writing as they may see some mistake in others that may apply to their own.
    -Mallory Magee

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  5. This is a really good idea because people teach their peers something they might not know and vise versa so as a class everyones knowledge grows as everyone teaches and learns new ideas. Also there is not the stress of having a letter grade.
    -Noah Stein

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  6. Formative assesment is a very useful tool to allow us to build upon eachothers thoughts and ideas. Furthermore, we don't even have to be in the classroom to do so. This can help us to enrich our original thoughts, and taking those of our classmates and meshing them together to form deep ideas that can lead us to futher discoveries.

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  7. The formative assesment would be a great tool to use for having a debate over a controversial decision, or topic in history. You would not have to worry about the normal stresses of a debate such as a grade, or emotions.

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  8. The use of formative assessment not only enables a growth mentality but it also makes students strive for more knowledge. If the classroom is not a stable and safe environment then the students will take less risks trying to not make mistakes if only to save themselves from embarrassment. However, by using the formative assessment students will feel at ease with their classroom environment and will therefore be able to learn at a faster rate.

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  9. Formative assessment can be very helpful to students. It can allow them to share their thoughts and acknowledge other students thoughts about the topic. Furthermore, it can make the student think the topic in a larger scale. Also formative assessment by blogging is easy to access.

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  10. I personally really like the idea of farmative assessment. I think it will allow students to strive both in and outside the classroom. It gives students multiple ideas and points of view from his/her classmates and allows the student to become a more advanced learner.

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  11. I think formative assessment is a great idea. The critique will help students handle constructive criticism better and it will help them develop new ideas as well.

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  12. Formative assesment seems like a good idea. eveyone benifits from it because you can help someone else and get help yourself. It can also prepare you for life because you will be criticed all throuought your life.

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  13. I think that using formative assessment will be very helpful. By obtaining various opinions on our writing, students can improve on their flaws. Last year, my class used formative assessment and it helped improve my writing skills.
    - Audrey Rovero

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  14. Sarah HollingsworthSeptember 4, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    I personally think that formative assessments will work well for the students, because sometimes students get distracted by a letter grade and don't focus on the comments. By leaving feedback instead of a letter grade, it draws the student towards the feedback. Feedback allows the students to improve in the future, where a letter grade does not. Sarah Hollingsworth

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  15. In my opinion, formative assesments would be very helpful, as it is always important to establish communication and understanding in a classroom. Also, it encourages students to not only expand on their own ideas, but combine them with those of other classmates through critiquing and comparing work.

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  16. A Formative assessment is a good way to improve upon a skill without getting caught up in the stress and pressure of getting a good grade. Through this method, one will have an easier time focusing on what to do next time rather than getting hung up on what they did wrong, and the grade they received. This reminds me of the idea that MIT had for grading Freshmen strictly on pass or fail. Creating an environment in which it students would focus on the work they did and the feedback they got, not the grades that they received.-Charlie Bolton

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  17. I believe that formative assessment is a powerful tool if it is used all year around. To me, it is essential to have formal assessments consistently because this way one can observe their progress, when the goals proposed become easier to achieve as the year goes on. Additionally, I believe that in order to achieve the goal proposed in formative assessments one has to value both analysis and evidence.

    -Clara Baselga-Garriga

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  18. Formative assessment will be helpful for all students, as the focus is taken away from letter grades and may inspire a growth mindset in other classes as well. Also, this way, students take what they learn from the class and more easily apply it during class. Furthermore, they are more likely to remember it, thus becoming effective for use in future years.

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  19. I think a formative assessment is a great idea, it will make it easier to focus on improvement rather than just a letter grade. Getting direct feedback helps improve a students work rather than just being graded on it. This feedback will allow students to do better next time and achieve improvement.
    -Sofia Canals

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  20. Formative assessment seems like a strong tool. It allows for two way communication between the person being assessed and the person providing the feedback. When it comes to assignments it seems that the formative assessments will help take the focus off of the grade and put it on improving the skills of the individual.

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  21. I think formative assessment is an awesome idea and we should use formative assessment before handing in written work that will be heavily graded. Somebody may think their essay is perfect, but they may be missing some crucial informationa fellow classmate/teacher can point out to them.
    --Will Hammond

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  22. I like the formative assesmetn becuase it is an easy way to give feedback to the work of students. It also may help students learning experience by sharing their ideas, and imporves the growth mind set.
    - Jonathan Valerio

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  23. I think the formative assessment is a good idea because it lets students try new things to improve their writing without having the risk of getting a bad grade. This would let them grow as writers instead of just using the same format.

    -Neil Cooper

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  24. In the process of learning it is important to get the feedback of others because they have different views and opinions, therefore they can incorperate these into the criticism they give you. Because of this, I think formative assessment is a good idea.

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  25. I think that formative assessments would be helpful because students will be learning not just from the teacher but from their peers as well.

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  26. I think that the formative assessment will be an easy way to save time. By using this, we will be able to get good comments from multiple people without taking up class time to read each person's project. Also, we will be able to focus more on improving our work, and mistakes can be easily caught if you have many people looking for them. If you are so nervous about the grade that you look over something, someone else will be able to point it out for you.
    -Nicole Palacino

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  27. I think this is a great idea and would help people edit and make their papers great with the help of not only teachers but also other students. Also, if someone cannot get help after or before school at the history lab or with a teacher they can still get help from many. WIth feedback from many different people the writer can use the feedback to expand their work with everyones advice.

    -Nick Collins

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  28. Formative Assessment
    The formative assessment is a creative way to share thinking and get constructive criticism back from peers or classmates. It is also a positive and helpful process in which the student uses the 1st step as being able to change their own work ethic, the 2nd step in receiving feedback from their classmates, and the 3rd step using that feedback and applying it to their work to improve it. By applying this method to the class it would help everyone to get multiple feedback responses to their work. It would be helpful in saving time, and if one day there is no blocks available to go to the lab that fits into the schedule, classmates would be able to help look over the work and give back constructive criticism online.
    -Diana Katsikaris, Blue Block

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  29. I think that the formative assessment is a very good idea because every student will be able to learn and build off of their ideas by being challenged by their peers. I also think that overall the formative assessment will help the entire class to understand concepts and create ideas all together that connect.

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  30. I think that formative assessments are a good idea because it allows the student to focus on improving rather than just seeing a letter grade. It also encourages peers to give and seek advice in order to grow and learn from each other. This will also promote individuals to become less afraid of asking for help. -Emily K. Kandarian

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  31. I think that the formative assessments will be helpful because it will allow us to have multiple points of views on our work in and outside of class.

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  32. I think that the formative assment is a good idea, because it will give people a chance to be creative and try new techniques without the risk of getting a lower grade. Also, it is a great idea, because it gives people a chance to get feedback from multiple people, therefore getting more feedback on ones' work.

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  33. I think that formative assessments will be great because you can have multiple veiws on your work and will learn new ways to edit and improve ideas with the help of others

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  34. I Like the idea of formative assessment but I find when it is with students it does not always work. this is because students often are not critical enough and will just say its good or maybe give one or possibly 2 suggestions but not a significant amount of money.

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  35. I think that formative assessments would be helpful because it encourages students to seek advice from one another, exposing students different ideas and strategies to improve their work. This focus on improving work also would help in taking away the stress of graded work.
    -Evan Megan

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  36. I believe that formative assessment is a good idea because it is more catered to each student's needs and wants. To many times, teachers do not go by the needs and wants of students, but instead focus on how they can structure the class, making learning sometimes not enjoyable. By receiving feedback teachers can cater more to the wants of the students. In addition, if the student is enjoying what they are learning, they become less focused on and attached to a letter grade because school becomes a less dreadful experience when their needs are meet and taken into account.

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  37. Formative assesments are a good idea. They will help the teacher know which kids are behind or ahead on a unit and will also help the whole class get more review. The best part is there is no pressure.
    -Alex McGinn

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  38. Formative assessments are a good idea because I think students sometimes get too caught up in getting good grades in school and less interested in learning the material. Because formative assessments are independent of grades it will be beneficial to both the student and the teacher to measure the students' actual learning. It is helpful to the teacher so they can see how they have been doing teaching the material and know what else they need to cover in class. A possible downside to a formative assessment is that students may not form complete opinions in their posts, especially if they won't be graded on them.

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  39. I think formative assessments are a great idea because it allows students to receive multiple views on their work. This allows one to include many different opinions, edits and ideas into their work.
    - Natasha Snapper

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  40. I think that formative assessments are a great idea because they change the way a student writes a paper, the student accepting certain critiques and changing an essay while ignoring others that they feel wouldn't improve the overall quality of the paper. If these critiques are recorded and kept, they will help the student write their next essay, and essays in the future.
    -Hunter Field

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  41. In my opinion I believe that formative assessment is a good idea because it is a helpful tool in which students can improve their own writing and also their peers. Students are always more drawn to their letter grades and without them they will be more drawn to their comments. Also hearing it from a peer can be helpful because they are going through the same experiences.
    -Lauren Micou

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  42. Formative assessments seem interesting. Using formative assessments, teachers can think of courses and study plans that will help students according to their needs and their best learning style. I remember exchanging drafts of essays with classmates and peer-editing them in the past. This helped me to think of more ideas by using feedback given to me from other students. Peer-editing seems similar to formative assessments. I like the idea of formative assessments and hope we use them this year.

    -Amy Hsieh

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  43. I believe that formative assessments, especially when used through blogging are a great way for everyone to interact and help each other out through a different learning environment. Students will be able to comment and critique each other more openly than they would in the standard classroom and will not be emotionally distracted by their classmates and their grades, but will be able to focus solely on the task at hand.- Tyler Jung

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  44. Formative assessments could be really helpful to students. If a student were to get an assignment, while he/she is working, the student can receive constructive criticism. It will add to the student's knowledge as well as boost his/her grade. As for the paper, the information might be more accurate, and the way the information is displayed might make it easier to read.
    -Carol Alfonso

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  45. The formative assessment seems like a good idea for advancing students from learning for the "A", to learning for themselves. They will reinforce the material learned without putting too much stress on the students.
    -Tatiana Chinitz

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  46. I believe that fomative assements are a great way to change the style of learning and have other students help each other. This enables students to be more honest and gives a different point of view other than the teacher's which can sometimes be helpful. potentially being helpful because looking at something more than one way often results in a better understanding of the material than that of only looking at something one way.
    -will perry

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  47. I feel that these formative assessments are a great idea because it allows the writer to get more than one or two veiws on what they have written. And then on top of that they can pick and choose what they would like to consider and then formulate it into their final product.
    -Peter Hereu

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  48. Last year, my teacher (Katz) used formative assessment through writing which helped me to improve greatly as a writer. In addition, the blog helps the communication of feedback to occur a lot more efficiently.
    - Lamia Farah

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  49. Formative assessments are a great idea because they promote improvement and critique from multiple point of views, rather than just the writer's analysis of his/her own work. This leads to a further understanding of the writer's skills and specific areas that need improvement.

    -Kyle Banks

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  50. I think that formative assessments are a good idea because they enable a writer to try new and unique ways of writing without the pressure of the idea not working. This method allows for students to progressively work towards a better essay with these critiques and to help them learn from these successes and failures in future essays and papers. - Steven Sampson

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  51. So excited to read your comments so far!

    Ms. S

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  52. Formative assessments is a good idea because you don't only get a few opinions you get your wholes class'es option on your writing. You can improve upon what you wrote and continue to learn new strategies when it comes to writing, ultimately making you a better writer.
    -Tory Brewster

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  53. I think that the formative assessments are a great idea because they will help us grow as learners and as students. With the formative assessment we can build community not only in the class but also out. Finally, with the community we've built, we can now trust each other to give feedback for each other's own good. -- Jelani Narcisse

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  54. Last year I used formitive assessments alot and I feel like it really helped me improve my writting by geting multiple views on my work. I feel like it will be a huge help this year.
    -Will Luzaitis

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  55. It is important for formative assessment to take place before graded assessment does as it provides the student with the standard to which the assessor will hold them. Throughout high school teachers have used formative assessments in my classes. I think that utilizing each other's skills helps all members of the classroom community build positive relationships that benefit the class in more ways than just writing. I think that these positive outcomes make formative assessments well worthwhile.

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  56. I believe that the formative assessment is an awesome idea. By getting critique from peers, students well be teaching/learning not just from the teacher, but from their peers, which in my case, seems much for relaxing and stress free. Not only does it help you improve the structure of your writing, but it allows you to think out of the box and most of all, it unites the whole class. -Tyler C

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  57. The idea of having formative essays is fantastic because now you can have the help of fellow teachers and classmates and you get the suggestions from another to maybe get that A or B in that class you've been stressing about. Also if you were second guessing on a paper you really wanted to express yourself fully other peoples opinions can help you get that message across with things you maybe forgot to include or didn't really think were necessary.
    -Fadeth Gomez

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  58. Formative assessments sounds useful because in addition to helping the teacher become better, it will help her understand what methods are more useful for the students which may help her forever after. It also helps the students get another chance if they don't understand something. It allows students to be more creative and take more risks in how they write. It will also allow more people to look at their writing and give feedback to help them improve.
    -Jack Salvucci

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  59. Formative assessments are helpful because they help teachers see how well their students are understanding material, as well as letting students know how well they, themselves, are doing. One form of formative assessment, peer editing, can help students see what classmates' views and ideas are, and it also gives students a chance to learn their abilities as learners. Formative assessment is like learning little by little, then moving on when you're sure you understand new information. In this way, students can learn when they should ask for help and how to better succeed in class.
    - Scarlett :) Cheung

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  60. I think formative assessment is a great way to exchange different opinions on a student/student perspective as well as a teacher/student perspective. It allows for knowledge to be exchanged fairly and evenly with students and thus will enhance active learning and may even make learning a lot more fun and interesting.
    -Abraham (Ghiho) Ghim

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  61. I think formative assessment is a great idea because it is more for the individual than it is for the group. I have come across many teachers that always ask how they can improve their curriculum/teaching style for the next year instead of asking how they can improve our experiences as learners. By receiving constant feedback, teachers can now tweak their teaching to the wants of the students and make learning more effective and enjoyable. By detaching themselves from only having the mindset of getting an A and nothing else, students will ultimately enjoy what they are learning and have a much more memorable experience in school.

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  62. I believe that formative assessment is important for the development of students and teachers alike, because it helps them grow from constructive feedback that can often be negated in a summative assessment, when the feedback is associated with a benchmark, like a grade. I think that both good and bad grades can take away from the feedback in an assessment of a student's work because a good grade will often make the student ignore the comments because they think they do not need to improve, while a bad grade, even if deserving, will make any constructive criticism harsh and any complimentary feedback seem like pandering. Although I think that summative assessments are important part of the educational experience because they are powerful incentives for success, I think that more growth occurs when teachers/students/peers provide less judgemental formative assessments. Also, when there is a benchmark students can often compare their work to others, but since formative assessments provide subjective feedback, it lessens competition between students.

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  63. Formative assessment is a great tool because it gets the students to think more about how they can improve their writing rather than thinking just about the grade. Sometimes students worry so much about the grade that they don't read the comments and suggestions that the teachers give them, and formative assessment can change that.

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  64. A formative assessment is positive in my opinion due to the fact that it provides us with the feedback like that we would receive from a grade but without the fear and pressure of bad grades. This feedback is good also because it is given to us during the process of making something and this feedback can help us improve upon the efficiency of our methods.

    Creating this open environment is great because it helps us form more of a community with in the classroom that will make us all feel more confortable sharing our opinions and improve upon the class. It also helps us if we struggling in class to find strategies of how become more successful.

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  65. I love the idea of a formative assessment, for both us as students and you as our teacher, to help everyone improve their respective roles in the class room. Having the chance to gain comments, advice, and insight without being graded is crucial to the growth of the student and the instructor, enabling the final result, be it a graded project or how you teach your classes, to be more refined. In various social studies classes in the past, formative assessments were used and, at least for me, were a huge help in delivering the strongest work I am capable of offering.

    -Alex Siber

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  66. I agree that formative assessment is good for both individuals and the class as a whole. In one of my middle school history classes, my teacher used extensive props and demonstrations to help us remember the curriculum, which upon our formative assessment he learned was not as helpful as he had once thought. Likewise, for me formative assessment from both my teachers and my peers has allowed me to improve as a student, whether it be through writing, class participation, or various projects. -Ricky Mariscal

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  67. I think formative assessment is a really good idea because in my opinion receiving feedback from students is the best way to improve the curriculum. Everyone learns differently so if people put their input in about the way we learn during the year, it could really help everyone individually. I also think it's a great tool for teachers to use because I always find when I get a bad grade I wanna know the reasoning behind it, and formative assessment would help that.
    -Caroline Allieri

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  68. I agree with the idea of formative assessment because it is a unique way to share our own ideas and comment on our peers. Formative assessments sounds like an unbiased way to support not only our own thoughts but support our classmates as well. The farmative assessments also sounds like a great way to create a community within our classroom where we can all voice our opinion with not only our peers but also with out teacher.

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  69. In my opinion I think that formative assesment allows there to be more diverse opinions with constructive critiscism and may increase the amount of knowledge aquired instead of having all the focus being on the grade.

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  70. I think the formative assessment is a good idea because it allows for constructive criticism to be obtained free of the stresses and pressures of a grade or actual weighted assessment it puts the emphasis more on the learning than on the grade.-Will Dario

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  71. I think formative assessments is a good idea because having edits and feedback from other students can help you with your work and learn how to improve your work. I think that not focusing as much on a letter grade is good because a student will be more focused on having good, quality work. Also, when they get feedback they will be improving their work and their learning. ~Jessie Sawyer :)

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  72. I think that formative assessments help both teachers and students by providing the teacher with effective teaching methods and allowing students to learn new material in a way that will help them remember and will keep them engaged. Formative assessments also reduce the stress of the student, enabling them to perform at higher levels, because there isn't as much pressure to study for a large exam that determines your grade. Formative assessments help make students more confident about their knowledge of a subject because they learn different key ideas and themes through different assignments and discussions, rather than trial and error in testing, because they aren't forced to memorize hundreds of small facts brought up once or twice during class just in case they are going to be on a multiple choice or short answer question. The students absorb the information without feeling stressed about knowing every single event or person in each unit.

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  73. I think that formative assessments are a good idea that will reduce the stress of the students. While other assessments are just about giving the student a grade, formative assessments seem dedicated to having a more in depth understanding of how the student is learning and understanding the material, and evaluates and critiques their learning process.
    -Liam DeFazio

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  74. I think the formative assessment will be a good way for students to get another peers opinion on a subject before submitting it as a grade. When others read their writing students may catch their own mistakes as well as other students critiquing their papers. Formative assessment's criticism will help students realize if they have made mistakes or not. The growth mindset may develop from the formative assessments.
    -Garrett Kasper

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  75. I think formative assessment will be a good way for students to build confidence and learn without having to worry about what kind of grade they might receive. By having students correct each other's work, they may find mistakes that were missed before. It will also assist students in forming a "growth mindset". -Jack Dolan

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