Formative Assessment in #PhysEd
Have you ever stopped to think about why you use formative assessment in your physical education classes?
Perhaps you use formative assessment, assessment that occurs during the learning process, to provide your students feedback. Maybe you use it to improve or guide your teaching. Formative assessments can also be used to motivate students and increase student engagement.
Here are some of the reasons why I use formative assessment in my classes:
1) Formative assessment provides me with the information I need to determine what my students know and understand. I feel it is my responsibility to assess the cognitive domain. What can my students recall from a lesson? What do they understand? Can they apply the strategies learned in one activity to another? Can they create solutions for challenging problems?
2) Formative assessment allows me to reflect upon my teaching practices. Was the lesson I taught today effective? Did my students learn what I wanted them to learn? Is there anything I need to re-teach, revise, or [drat!] never teach again?
3) Formative assessment gives me the opportunity to teach my students content that is directly linked to Standard 2 from the National PE Standards. Standard 2 states, “The physically literate individual applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.” The content that falls under Standard 2 is by far my favorite to teach. I teach middle school students, who are ready to apply tactics and strategies in small-sided games. It’s one thing to watch my students play a game, but it’s equally important to find out what they know about those tactics and strategies.
4) Formative assessment holds my students accountable for their learning. Since making the switch to standards-based instruction and assessment, and implementing pre-planned formative assessments, student engagement in my classes has dramatically improved. All of my students participate in class. All of my students bring their tennis shoes and dress out. All of my students have a smile on their face. All of my students are able to turn in Post-it notes and index cards with detailed, meaningful responses to my questions. Teachers in other subject areas ask, “Wait, the students in your class sometimes use a pencil and paper?” “Yep,” I respond, “and they learn, too!”
What do I mean by pre-planned formative assessments? These are the assessments I create prior to class. I usually write questions on a dry-erase board, and my students write their responses on Post-it notes or index cards. The questions always meet the National Standards and Grade-Level Outcomes. I really enjoy sharing my pre-planned formative assessment ideas and student responses on Twitter, and the feedback I have received has been very positive, so I thought it would be helpful to share some of them here:
I would love to read about the pre-planned formative assessments you use in your classes, as well as the spontaneous, off-the-cuff phrases you say to your students to measure their growth.