Checking for Understanding
Douglas Fisher & Maria Grant
Define STRATEGY - what does this
I’ll go back to school
and learn more
400+ Page text
“Somites are blocks of dorsal mesodermal
cells adjacent to the notochord during vertebrate
“Improved vascular definition in
radiographs of the arterial phase or of the
venous phase can be procured by a process of
subtraction whereby positive and negative
images of the overlying skull are superimposed
on one another.”
Skills Versus Strategies?
I don’t know how you’re going to
learn this, but it’s on the test.
Quick, Build Background!
Expand Understanding Through Reading
Reading Increasingly Difficult Texts
Read “Non-Traditional” Texts
To date, over 100 YouTube videos!
PBS (The Secret Life of the Brain)
Internet quiz sites about neuroanatomy
Talking with peers and others
interested in the brain
But, the midterm comes
17 pages, single spaced
Besides Some Neuroanatomy, What Have I
You can’t learn from books you can’t read
(but you can learn)
Reading widely builds background and
Interacting with others keeps me motivated
and clarifies information and extends
I have choices and rely on strategies
What would have helped me
INSTRUCTION that was
Design around a model and guided
ASSESSMENTS that were
“I do it”
Guided “We do it”
Collaborative “You do it
Independent “You do it
A Structure for Instruction that Works
(c) Frey & Fisher, 2008
Checking for Understanding is…
It is not…
Left until the end of the unit
Projects and performance
Common assessments and consensus
Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2007). Checking for understanding: Formative assessment
techniques for your classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and
Considerations for Test
More than “cataloging mistakes”
Match items with purpose
Multiple choice for item analysis
Short answer for recall of information
Dichotomous for sampling wide knowledge
Essay for organizing info, creative
Use it to plan future instruction!
Make Instructions Explicit
Select key standards
with pacing guide
Identify materials and teach
Create and administer
common assessment Consensus score and
complete item analysis
Analyze results in Revise pacing guide
course alike groups
How does a plant grow?
How does it gain mass?
Item Analysis in Science
a) It gets its food from Does not understand that nutrients are
the soil. manufactured internally by the plant.
b) It turns water and air Understands that food is manufactured
into sugar. internally, but does not understand that
Oversimplification water and the carbon dioxide (from the
air) are used to make sugar and oxygen.
c) It has chlorophyll to Does not understand that some parasitic
produce food. plants do not contain chlorophyll.
d) It adds biomass Correct answer
Our goal is not to
determine how smart
children are, but how
children are smart.