Effective Weekly Formative Assessment in Math


My first year of teaching went a little like this…


Direct instruction, worksheet, homework.

Students off task during worksheet time.

No one did homework.

Students continued failing district benchmark exams.

I felt frustrated and over worked.


My second year of teaching was a little different.


My principal made all of us switch to rubric grading. It was almost standards based grading, but we could still use it with our unit assessments and then convert grades into percentages for our grade books.


I loved it.


It was a game changer for me and my students. Instead of grading homework every night (plus the shame of having very few kids actually do the homework I assigned), I graded one weekly strategically created quiz that I called a formal formative assessment. Each week I’d create my “FA” from the content from the week and give it to my students each Friday. I took time to grade this FA with feedback so I would truly know how my students did this past week with the content we learned.


So how did I choose what to put on this weekly formative assessment? How long was it? And how long did it take to grade? Read on, teacher friend.


3 Parts Of An Effective Weekly Formative Assessment



1. ​​5 questions max

Your students don’t need to do 10 two step equations for you to know if they’re getting it. They don’t need to solve 4 systems of equations. The shorter the better. Make your weekly formal formative assessment a max of 5 questions. This will ensure students can finish during class and ensure you’re not spending hours over the weekend grading.


2. Strategic questions

Choose your 5 questions strategically. Here’s my formula


#1) Very basic question from the week

#2) Challenging grade level question from the week (something that you could say, “If they get this right, I know they get it and were paying attending)

#3) Another challenging grade level question from the week

#4) Another challenging grade level question from the week

#5) A stretch question. A question where they could take something they learned and apply it to a question they haven’t seen before.


3. Ample class time to complete the assessment

If you’re like me and teach students who struggle with math, you know that math and test anxiety is real. It’s important you don’t rush your kids. I saved the last 15-20 minutes every Friday for students to complete the FA.


What do you think about this style of assessment? Head over to instagram and let’s connect!

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