Informal, or formative assessments are about checking for understanding in an effective way in order to guide our instruction. They are used during instruction rather than at the end of a unit or course of study. And if we use them correctly, and often, yes, there is a chance instruction will slow when we discover we need to re-teach or review material the students wholly “did not get”—and that’s okay. Because sometimes we have to slow down in order to go quickly. What this means is that if we are about getting to the end, we may lose our audience, the students. If you are not routinely checking for understanding then you are not in touch with your students’ learning. Perhaps they are already far, far behind. Read more about formative assessments HERE.
Author: Rebecca Alber, Edutopia consulting online editor