First true formative assessment

I was full of crap for all of those years.  I kept saying that quizzes were formative assessments because the students got them before a test.  I also said that homework was a form of formative assessment because I would assign some problems with answers in the back.  But I was wrong.

I am in the process of grading the third quiz from my Algebra II students.  The first two questions are repeats of a standard that was on the last quiz.  Using a recursive formula to make a sequence, and writing a recursive formula from a sequence of numbers.

At first, I thought there might be rampant cheating.  Quiz after quiz, 4/4.  But there were still three or four students (who would not think twice about cheating) who didn’t know what they were doing.  Students that were sitting by themselves and usually struggle were nailing the questions.  To me it’s conclusive:  that first quiz was a proper formative assessment.  They looked at what they did, figured out how to write formulas correctly, and this was supported by some of the lessons we did after the first quiz.

After grading the first page, I feel that this has become the nail in the coffin for traditional grading in my classroom.  I’ve finally caught and rewarded all of those students who came to learn just a bit later than the first assessment.


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