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What is a Formative Assessment Lesson?
  • a scripted lesson written by the Shell Center in partnership with the Gates Foundation (see Mathematics Assessment Project website)
  • a challenging task that is out of the ordinary and involves problem solving with "productive struggle"
  • builds student's ability to become confident problem solvers; eliminates the "GPSing" of teaching
  • used during each unit of study about half to two-thirds way through the unit (used as a Medium Cycle Formative Assessment)
  • uses the "5 Strategies for Effective Teaching" in order to move learning forward everyday
  • These lessons are NOT about getting to the correct answer. They are about generating thinking and discussion among students.

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5 Key Strategies for Effective Formative Assessment

  1. Clarifying, sharing and understanding goals for learning and criteria success for students.
  2. Engineering effective classroom discussions, questions, activities, and tasks that elicit evidence of students' learning.
  3. Providing feedback that moves learning forward.
  4. Activiating students as owners of their own learning.
  5. Activating students as learning resources for one another.

When planning your unit, consider the following question:
"How can I bring problem solving, collaboration, learning, engagement, and student ownership to teaching this content?"
Strategies for setting up Group Work


Here are two lessons that would be great to start your kids "thinking and discussing" problems:



Formative Assessment Lessons can be found at the following sites:
Mathematics Assessment Project
Christa Lemily
Kenton County Math Design Collaborative
MARS Tasks by grade level



*When you're ready to try one, let me know. I would LOVE to help!!