Workshop at Qatar University
April 27-28, 2009
Dr. Karma El Hassan
• Assessment for Learning
• Purposes of Assessment
• Principles and uses of formative assessment
Steps & cycle
• Role of effective feedback
• Formative assessment
• Classroom assessment techniques (CATs).
• Use of formative assessment results for
Assessment for Learning
• A process of collecting information and data to
Provide feedback for instructors to
improve teaching methods
evaluate extent of attainment of goals/objectives
determine extent of student learning
Measure efficacy of teaching methods
Provide feedback to students on
extent of their learning
Provide students with
Ability to diagnose their strengths & weaknesses
Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment
• The three primary components of any course
the curriculum (the "content"),
the instructional methods used to deliver the
the assessment techniques with which our
success in attaining course goals is evaluated
• These three components are bound together by
the goals set for the course.
• The importance of setting course goals--
articulating them and writing them down--
cannot be overstated
Course Development Road Map
Level of Expertise
Design & deliver
Course Development Road Map
• Formalize course goals, then "directions" are as
translate goals into Measurable Student
determine Levels of Expertise required to
select both Curriculum and Classroom
choose and implement Instructional Methods
conduct Assessment and evaluate--were
measurable student outcomes realized?
Use results to provide feedback to students and
to improve learning
Characteristics of Effective
Assessment in Higher Education (Angelo
& Cross, 1993)
• Focuses on the processes as well as on the
products of instruction.
• Assesses what we teach – and what we expect
students to learn.
• Actively involves both teachers and students.
• Uses multiple and varied measures.
• Provides information for improving learning.
• Is carried out at various key points.
• Provides useful, timely feedback
• Is an intrinsically educational activity
Purposes of Assessment
• Educational assessments serve following
To support learning (formative)
To certify achievements of learners (summative)
To diagnose learning difficulties
To evaluate quality of programs, curricula,
Characteristics of Formative and
Summative Classroom Assessment
Characteristics Formative Summative
Purpose Provide ongoing feedback to improve learning Document student at the end of an
When Conducted During instruction After instruction
Student Involvment Encouraged Discouraged
Student Motivation Intrinsic,mastery-oriented Extrinsic,performance-oriented
Teacher Role To provide immediate,specific feedback To measure student learning and
and instructional correctives give grades
Cognitive Levels Emphasized Deep understanding,application,and reasoning Knowledge and comprehension
Level of Specificity Highly specific and individual General and group-oriented
Structure Flexible,adaptable Rigid,highly structured
Assessment Techniques Informal Formal
Effect on Learning Strong,positive,and longlasting Weak and fleeting
• Set of skills and activities undertaken by
instructors to provide feedback to students to
enhance their motivation and learning.
• Formative assessment helps support the
expectation that all children can learn to high
levels and counteracts the cycle in which
students attribute poor performance to lack of
ability and therefore become discouraged and
unwilling to invest in further learning.
• Promotes a culture of success not clouded by
talk about ability, competition, and comparison
Formative Assessment Steps
• Formative assessment involves establishing
Where learners are in their learning.
To elicit evidence of learning.
Where they are going. Clarifying
Criteria for success
What needs to be done to get there.
Providing feedback that moves learners forward.
Make necessary instructional adjustments
Formative Assessment Cycle
Feedback to Students
Evaluations of Student Progress
Key Features of Formative
• Blends assessment and instruction, therefore
assessment for learning.
• Linked to a learning progression that clearly articulates
the sub goals of the ultimate learning goal.
• Essential components include:
Clear targets and criteria for success
High quality feedback linked to goals & criteria for
Ongoing interaction with students regarding learning
goals, outcomes, achievement, and adjustment in
Student engagement in self- and peer-assessment.
• In self-assessment, students monitor their own learning
• In peer-assessment, students analyze each other’s
performance against the criteria and provide
constructive feedback to each other. Act as Instructional
resources for one another.
Use of results to adjust teaching 13
• Feedback given as part of formative assessment helps
become aware of any gaps that exist between their
desired goal and their current knowledge, understanding,
or skill and
guides them through actions necessary to obtain the
• Most helpful type of feedback
Is linked to learning outcomes & criteria for success
Focuses on task not the student
provides specific comments about errors
provides specific suggestions for improvement, and
encourages students to focus their attention thoughtfully
on the task, the process, and learning strategies rather
than on simply getting the right answer.
• Use reflective non-evaluative descriptive
gives details of why answers are correct or wrong.
tells learner what has been achieved,
specifies a better way of doing something,
provides prompts to enable improvements
gets learner to suggest ways to improve.
describes /demonstrates acceptable performance
Identifies strengths & weaknesses (vs. like/dislike)
Is tailored to particular student
• Feedback can be public or private, oral or written.
• “Formative assessment does make a difference
and it is the quality, not just the quantity, of
feedback that merits attention. By quality of
feedback, we have to understand not just the
technical structure of feedback (accuracy,
comprehensiveness, appropriateness) but also
its accessibility to the learner (as a
communication), its catalytic and coaching
value, and its ability to inspire confidence and
Black and William (1998).
Formative Assessment Techniques
• Main means of conducting FA:
classroom questions and discussion
analysis of tests and homework
Assignments, projects, games & simulations,
• Choice of tasks for classroom work and homework is important.
Justified in terms of the learning aims that they serve,
Novel and varied in interest, offer reasonable challenge,
help students develop short-term self-referenced goals,
focus on meaningful aspects of learning.
Best work when opportunities for pupils to communicate
their evolving understanding are built into the planning.
This will initiate the interaction through which formative
assessment aids learning.
• Invite students to discuss their thinking about a question or
topic in pairs or small groups, then ask a representative to
share the thinking with the larger group (sometimes called
• Present several possible answers to a question, then ask
students to vote on them.
• Ask all students to write down an answer, then read a
selected few out loud.
Have students write their understanding of concepts
before and after instruction.
• Ask students to summarize the main ideas they've taken
away from a lecture, discussion, or assigned reading.
• Have students complete a few questions at the end of
instruction and check answers.
• Interview students individually or in groups about their
thinking as they analyze cases.
• Assign brief, in-class writing assignments.
• Frequent short tests are better than infrequent long
• New learning should be tested within about a week of first
• Portfolios may be used to analyze growth and progress
Questioning as FA
• Ask questions that require students to think, explain, and
justify their answers and not those involving factual
• Allow ‘wait’ time after asking question giving students
time to respond and to think.
• Try to involve all of learners in response (refer to previous
• Some examples of questioning level
Is it always true.....?
How many different ways can you find to ...?
What is same and what is different about ....?
What is wrong with this statement?
What other information is needed to solve this
Classroom Assessment Techniques
• CATs are generally simple, non-graded, in-class activities
designed to give instructor and students useful feedback
on the teaching-learning process as it is happening.
• A good strategy for using CATs is the following:
Decide what you want to assess about your students’
learning from a CAT.
Choose a CAT that provides this feedback, and can
be implemented easily in your class.
Explain the purpose of the activity to students, and
then conduct it.
After class, review the results, determine what they
tell you about your students’ learning, and decide
what changes to make, if any.
Let your students know what you learned from the
CAT and how you will use this information.
Variations of CATs
1. Background Knowledge Probe
2. Minute paper
3. Muddiest point.
4. Retellings and/or one-sentence summary
5. Pros and con lists
6. Think pair share
7. Response chaining
1. Background Knowledge Probe
• A sort, simple questionnaire given to students
at the start of a course, or before introduction of
a new unit, lesson, or topic.
• A few focused questions about concepts
students need to know to succeed in a course.
• It is designed to uncover students’ pre-
• Data can be helpful in planning subsequent
sessions and in identifying supplementary
resources or assistance that might be needed.
• A variation is misperception check.
2. Minute Paper
• The instructor simply stops class two or three
minutes early and asks students to respond
briefly to the following two questions:
"What was the most important thing you learned
during this class" and
"What important question remains unanswered
• A quick and extremely easy way to collect
information on what students have learned
though focusing mostly on recall.
• Helps students focus more effectively during
lectures, if used repeatedly.
3. Muddiest Point
• A simple and quick CAT to assess where
students are having difficulties.
• Asking students to jot down a quick response to
What was the muddiest (most unclear, most
confusing) point in the lecture, reading,
• Instructor can make use of responses
to focus next class session and
To identify which points to emphasize
4. Retellings and/or One-sentence
• Retellings are new accounts or adaptations of a
text that allow students to consider information
and then summarize, orally, what they
understand about this information.
• Elements in retelling:
4. Retellings and/or One-sentence
• Students are asked to summarize a large
amount of information into a one-sentence
• Quick and easy way to assess students’ ability
to organize information
summarize their understanding
Express ideas in their own language
5. Pros and Con Lists
• Students create a list of pro and con outcomes
to a question or situation presented by the
• Students demonstrate depth of knowledge by
identifying two sides of an issue.
• Helps students develop analytical skills and
Promotes higher-order thinking
• Particularly useful in humanities, social science,
or in applied fields where multiple solutions to
problems are possible.
6. Think Pair Share
• Think-Pair-Share and Write-Pair-Share
• Think or write about your answer individually.
• Pair with a partner and discuss your answers.
• Share your answer (or your partner’s answer)
when called upon
7. Response Chaining
• Response chaining begins by asking a question to which
a specific student responds.
• The instructor then asks the class as a whole to vote
regarding the accuracy of the student’s response using
Correct, Partially Correct, or Incorrect.
• The instructor selects a student who has voted correctly.
• If the original student’s response was incorrect, the
instructor asks the newly selected student to make the
necessary corrections in the first student’s response.
• If the original response was partially correct, the
instructor asks the newly selected student to identify what
was correct about the response and what was incorrect
and provide the missing correct information
Use of Formative Assessment Data
• Once you have collected the students' responses, sort
and analyze the data.
• Look for any patterns. What is the most common
• Identify where students are in the learning goals’
progression, and that indicates NEXT STEPS.
• Share at least some part of that analysis with your
• Initiate instructional adjustments like
Reteaching and scaffolding
Trying alternative instructional approaches
Offering more opportunities for practice & extending
Promoting dialogue, communication and reflection.
• Implementing formative assessment requires fundamental
changes & presents a challenge.
• Two basic issues: Nature of teacher’s beliefs
About potential of students’ abilities
• Improving formative assessment would impact several essential
the quality of teacher/pupil interactions,
help for pupils to take active responsibility for their own
the particular help needed to move pupils out of the trap of
"low achievement," and
the development of the habits necessary for all students to
become lifelong learners
• Avoid the only real danger in classroom assessment--too much
data and not enough time or experience to know what to do with