One of the key components to effective instruction is formative assessment. And, as a former special ed teacher, I was constantly using checks for understanding as a way to inform my instruction for students. It was a necessity.
Although I believe most teachers share my viewpoint about the important role formative data has in classroom instruction, it seems in the “hustle and bustle” of the daily grind, this part of instruction often gets overlooked.
We are all familiar with the common check for understanding strategies such as “thumbs up/thumbs down,” think-pair-share and graphic organizers, but we need tools that provide us with more specific and personal student data in order to have a real impact on classroom effectiveness. Still need convincing?
Why Formative Assessment?
Formative assessment with appropriate feedback is the most powerful moderator in the enhancement of achievement (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). Formative assessment helps teachers identify the current state of learners’ knowledge and skills; make changes in instruction so that students meet with success; create appropriate lessons, activities, and groupings; and inform students about their progress to help them set goals (Ainsworth & Viegut, 2006, p. 23).
Teachers can use results of formative assessments to adjust their teaching strategies and match students with appropriate materials and learning conditions. Information gained from formative assessment can help a teacher determine
(1) how to group students,
(2) whether students need alternative materials,
(3) how much time to allocate to specific learning activities,
(4) which concepts need to be re-taught to specific students, and
(5) which students are ready to advance.
Luckily, there are now many digital tools that allow teachers to collect this vital data--especially if you are in a 1:1 environment.
As an instructional coach, I have used and introduced several different tools to classroom teachers, but I believe without a doubt that Geddit is the best tool out of all of them. Here are three reasons I place it at the top of the list:
#1. Ease of use
Geddit is a web-based tool that can be easily introduced to students. The picture below shows the simple, clean screen which is so easy for students to understand. As a teacher presents a concept or skill in class, he/she can pause at any point and ask students to “Check in” using their device. Once students have all checked in, the teacher will see a summary of how all students in the class are understanding by looking at the quick, easy to see graph displayed on the teacher’s device. This data makes it so easy for a teacher to decide whether or not to do some more practice problems or re-group students according to their level of understanding for different activities.
#2. Options for Interaction
If you want to go deeper into what students are understanding, Geddit gives you the option to create questions, polls, and quizzes ahead of time for students to complete. As you move through the lesson, all of the responses submitted by students are compiled and provided to the teacher in PDF format. Don’t have time to plan questions but thought of something “in the moment” you want to ask? Geddit allows you to ask a quick question verbally and still capture the digital data from students.
And, one of the best things about Geddit is that it allows for private feedback between students and teachers. The “Raise your Hand” feature allows students to raise a digital hand which is displayed only on the teacher screen. The teacher can then make a decision about the best way to answer this student--would it be best to move near that student and casually ask if anyone needs help? or would it be best to have a private text conversation? This feature promotes student engagement and individual student feedback.
#3. Beautiful Data
At the end of each Geddit lesson, data is collected in a report for the teacher, comprised of easy-to-understand graphs and charts. There is even a place for a personal reflection from the teacher which can be saved alongside the student data. Some teachers add their thoughts after analyzing the student data and then save them together as one document. These PDF forms can be submitted to administrators to show evidence teachers are reflecting on their practice and using data to inform instruction, which is a key component in the teacher evaluation process.
What have you got to lose? Give it a try! Here’s a video that will guide you through the setup process:
If you’re up for a challenge, try using Geddit for week and see what impact it can have on your instruction!