Despite the fact that our school has had AFL as its Professional Development focus for the past 4 years, there is still much that we can learn from one another about how best to use assessment to increase learning.  To foster continuous learning and improvement, we will start many of our faculty meetings with an AFL-related discussion question.  The results of our discussions will be posted on a Forum Discussion such as this so that our ideas can be archived and better shared with one another.



Question for 11/28/12

What is one example of how you have altered – or could alter – a traditionally summative assessment so that it serves a formative purpose?

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  • Use released exam questions (IB) to have students generate their own mark scheme. They can then compare their mark scheme with the released mark scheme to verify their level of understanding.
  • I have shown actual student responses (anonymous and from the past) which contain errors in order to generate discussion and insight.
  • During a typical grading period, four quizzes with free-response (FR) formatted questions and one cumulative test with multiple-choice (MC) formatted questions are given.  The FR questions are designed to determine students' ability to follow a procedure with a somewhat detailed response; whereas, the MC test questions are designed to determine if students have the big conceptual ideas.  When reviewing for the test (usually through do now questions) I'll give sample test problems to demonstrate how free-response formatted questions will be asked in MC format.  I also will ask students to convert quiz questions (FR) to test questions (MC) and have other students answer them.

  • We talked about using a paper/essay as a form of summative assessment and using a rubric from that essay to form new learning groups to reteach skills that the rubric revealed in need of attention.

  • The test really would not necessarily change.  Instead, the change would be in what I do with the test.  Instead of being the end point of the learning, it would be a diagnosis of how the learning is going.  The test would become a guide to what needs to be retaught and who needs more help.  In a sense, the test is a beginning or a middle to the learning process rather than an end.

    Dawn uses the test to identify the problem questions to direct further teaching.

  • Continue building on skills taught such as applying the skills to lab or active practice.

  • To use questions from Unit tests on the next test and repeated as necessary until students learn the material.  Constant review is the key.

  • Students will self evaluate a completed project and redesign.


    Allow students to evaluate essays, without prior teacher input ,with a 10 point rubic to rewrite for final grading.  

  • Jane Sandel: On the due date of research paper, don't collect it.  Instead, take class to review and check.

    Jeff Maynard: Break down a unit test into concept areas and track percentages of correct/incorrect in order to teach/reteach

    Anna Dyer: Break down larger concepts into smaller bits of palatable information.

  • From July:

    1. Take a unit project and break it into its smaller tasks/pieces/segments.  This would give students and the teacher feedback and opportunities for improvement or adjustment before the final project is due. 

    2.  Use a practice test or quiz (based on their actual test/quiz) and have students complete without using notes/textbook.  Then they go back and find answers they were unable to do using notes/book.  Go over as a class.  This gives students/teacher opportunity for feedback and to see what needs to be reviewed before the test that counts.  

    3. Smaller quizzes based on essential skills.  Test grade can replace the corresponding portion of the test if students do better on that than the quiz.  

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