Have teachers ever been asked to do more? They're simultaneously responsible for providing engaging instruction on academic standards, helping students navigate complex social-emotional challenges, and serving as community leaders inside and outside of school. In this demanding environment, any solution that saves teachers time is worthwhile, even more so if it also improves learning outcomes.
Formative assessment is a teaching tool that supports all learners, but it is especially critical for students who are struggling, as it holds the potential for changing the learning outcome. It is a quick way for teachers to evaluate learning needs and academic progress in their classroom. Here are some examples of how formative assessment can support special education goals.
With so many formative assessment options available, how do you know which one is best for students, teachers, and administrators? After all, the needs for each of these stakeholders vary considerably. As you and your team make an important decision about which program you will select using funds from Indiana’s formative assessment grant, I hope that you’ll carefully consider our solution, Pivot Inspect.
Computer-Adaptive vs. Fixed-Form Assessments
Many formative (interim) assessment programs, including those provided by NWEA and STAR, are computer-adaptive. While this approach has clear benefits for a set of specific purposes, teachers have no control over the items students will see. In other words, teachers can’t answer a fundamental question using a computer-adaptive tool: Have students learned the specific skills I’ve taught?
As technology makes adaptive testing easier than ever, do fixed-form assessments still have a role? K-12 education leaders, especially assessment and curriculum directors, must make difficult choices regarding which screeners, diagnostics, formative assessments, and summative exams to use. By comparing the benefits and drawbacks of computer-adaptive testing and fixed-form assessments, it’s possible to select the right tool for the right job.