The Assessment Network

Sharing assessment & grading strategies that help students learn

This Forum Discussion was started for Salem High School's Staff Development Faculty Meeting held on 1/13/10.

For today's staff development activity, SHS faculty members will be analyzing an example of AFL and determining how the example could be applied to their classrooms. Teachers not from SHS are welcome to join in the discussion.

Step 1
Please read the following blog post and watch the video that goes with it:
An AFL review strategy that can be used by any teacher in any conte...

Step 2
Discuss this activity with those sitting at your table:

1. Discuss the elements of this activity that would cause it to be considered an AFL-type activity.

2. Compare and contrast the use of the whiteboards in this manner with other review activities.

3. How could you (or how do you) apply these AFL elements or this type of activity in your class?

Step 3
Have one person from your group post the highlights of your discussion as a reply to this discussion.

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I use a similar approach using index cards. This could be a great vocab review method. Students have all the vocab terms for a unit on index cards. They then pair up and quiz each other on the definitions. The cards that are defined correctly on the first try are put aside, and the ones that aren't become the words that they need to focus on that night. I've even used this method to help my daughter study her spelling words at home and multiplication tables.
Political Science has a language all its own. I could use the white board review to go over terms such as filibuster, cloture, lobbyist, caucus, etc., etc.
The main benefit of this activity is the fact the no students can "opt out" of the review. Every student must participate so in that manner the teacher gets feedback on students who have mastered the exercise and students who are lagging behind the class. I would do the exercise early in the class period to ensure that the teacher can address the concerns of the students who have not achieved a desired level of mastery.

Social Studies Department
1. The students were practicing a skill...the teacher was getting immediate feedback and so were the students.

2. It is similar in that it is practicing/assessing a skill before a real assessment and it provided immediate feedback. The students knew from the review what they personally needed to work on. It was interactive...the students were engaged throughout the entire activity.

3. In our group, most of us are using the white boards or something similar to it (for example, different colors of cards to distinguish between to two tenses or the differenes between two verbs, etc.
I am going to begin using white boards asap. I can see tons of applications: from do-nows to test reviews to pre quiz reviews.

I am now a believer in white boards. I just now need a source of white boards.
Check out Smartpals! Link:

I use these in my Algebra classes at ALMS. I use them as an alternative to whiteboards (they are definately lighter!). Plus you can slide a sheet of paper inside. For example, I copy a coordinate grid on a piece and slide inside each whiteboard. Then each student can practice graphing points or lines without having to use lots and lots of paper. Check it out!
This idea is excellent. It certainly gives the teacher an opportunity to get immediate feed back. I like it much better than my paper/pencil review. I don't think I will give a graded review again - even though I gave an effort grade - some students don't even want to make an effort. This idea can easily be used in science. Everyone has to participate. You can still catch the "cheaters" - they are slower to reply. It helps the student focus on what they don't know and need to learn.
1) This activity is a great AFL activity because it gives the teacher and student immediate feedback of their comprehension.
2) The whiteboards are very interactive, where as a review worksheet is more independent.
3) I use the whiteboards when we are going over the material that tends to lose student interest. They like using the markers, which motivates them to participate.
The white boards would also be great for assisting the students in learning processes like the rock cycle and the formation of clastic sedimentary rocks.
It would work with every class. You do not necessarily need a white board. It checks for understanding, if you are assessing the students are learning. All the students are engaged with the hands on activity.
Good job Paola!! You inspire me...Gracias, eres mi heroina...
1. The teacher is monitoring and evaluating what the students know, yet in an environment that is not threatening or embarrassing to the student. The students are also not being graded on this assignment, yet are preparing for the graded assignment they will have on the content later.
2. Using the white boards is an easy way to determine who is participating and to encourage all students to participate.
3. In the special education dept., many teachers allow students to use white boards to answer questions so they don't feel intimidated; if they don't know the answer, the whole class doesn't have to know it. Many of our students are kinesthetic learners,as well, so the white boards appeal to that quality. They also make it easy for students to learn through repetition... they can write, erase, write, erase (without putting a hole in their paper.) :)


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