The nature of remote learning is that there is more student autonomy—it is likely that students will participate with more independence when they are not located in the same space and/or instructional time as their teachers.
Distance learning relies on the formative assessment process for success because it helps teachers and students identify the gaps between where students are and where they need to be in order to determine next steps.
When students are engaged in remote learning, teachers need ways to identify, monitor, and support student learning at various times while in separate spaces. Using the formative assessment process, teachers and students can monitor and adjust learning together. The formative assessment process is essential for supporting effective distance learning.
The formative assessment process is used by teachers and students to provide actionable feedback to the learner, which is then used to adjust ongoing teaching and learning strategies to improve students’ attainment of curricular learning targets/goals.
The formative assessment process has four attributes:
- Clarify: determine what students will learn and how they will know they have learned it;
- Elicit: generate evidence of student learning, such as asking questions;
- Interpret: review evidence to determine students’ progress towards the learning goal(s); and
- Act: take instructional next steps to move students from where they are to where they need to be, such as re-teaching using a different mode.
Formative Assessment Examples in Synchronous and Asynchronous Modes
Synchronous: Students restate the learning goal and success criteria in their own words verbally, in comments, or during a think-pair-share in a web-conference breakout room.
Asynchronous: Students restate the learning goal and success criteria on a chat board or in an online/offline journal.This is a great all-purpose alert box.
Synchronous: In-the-moment evaluation of student statements and work.
Asynchronous: Off-line review of group or individual student work by evaluating, scoring, or otherwise making sense of where students are relative to the learning goal.
Synchronous: In-the-moment questions with students responding verbally, using polling tools, or in a chat room. Items could be from Smarter Balanced Interims or the Sample Items Website.
Asynchronous: Posted discussion questions, online quizzes, tasks, or prompts for students to complete. Work is recorded and submitted to the teacher digitally.
Synchronous: Real-time teacher feedback or peer feedback that prompts adjustments or real-time modelling to re-teach a concept or skill or progress to a new concept or skill.
Asynchronous: Off-line feedback (comments, videos, email) or follow up tools to support re-teaching a concept or skill or progressing to a new concept or skill. Assignment of additional tasks or work to support student progress.
Smarter Balanced Supports for Formative Assessment
The following strategies can facilitate the use of the formative assessment process in distance learning.
Notes for use:
Use a polling tool within your web-based classroom to gather real-time data regarding what students know before the beginning of a “lesson.”