What really stands out in the second edition of 25 Quick Formative Assessments for a Differentiated Classroom is the attention authors Dodge and Duarte pay to meshing tried and true formative assessments with engaging digital formats, says teacher-librarian Rita Platt.
Sheryn Spencer Waterman shows the way to make the evaluation as well as the curriculum fit the learner. Middle school teacher Joanne Bell finds the author’s fully developed discussion of differentiated formative assessments helpful for social studies and English.
Arguing that grades not only limit learning but can actually interfere with it, Starr Sackstein makes the case in “Hacking Assessment” for going gradeless and shows how it can be part of a traditional grading school. Teacher Marek Dzianott agrees it works well with PBL.
The authors’ step-by-step formative assessment approach, along with a wealth of detailed resources, gives teachers and administrators the tools to implement a system of shared assessments with the power to transform a school. Erik Kreutner has just one reservation.
Using hacks from her mostly AP and high school classes, Starr Sackstein makes the case for moving beyond traditional grading to concentrate on students learning. Reviewer Toni Rose Deanon sees herself using the suggestions to begin conversations and respond to pushback.
Writing from her experience attempting to implement Standards Based Grading at her middle school, Jennifer Wirtz admits to frustration and looks to Schimmer’s “Grading From the Inside Out” for ways to consistently hold students accountable while promoting mastery.
After reviewing the history of grading, Cathy Vatterott shares reasons for implementing a progressive standards-based grading system, noting the challenges as well as the benefits. Teacher Michael DiClemente sees the need for research-based changes but wonders how to get there.
Emphasizing that the most productive form of formative assessment is self-assessment by students and teachers, the authors apply these research-based ideas to the cultural change required to improve instruction at a school level, says administrator Brian Taylor.
Teacher-Made Assessments: How to Connect Curriculum, Instruction, and Student Learning (2nd Ed) by Gareis and Grant gets reviewer Anne Anderson’s gold star for usefulness and practicality with its guidelines offering plentiful techniques and examples.
Myron Dueck’s new book, Grading Smarter Not Harder, not only explains what fair assessment is but provides the teacher with student friendly strategies to achieve it. Reviewer Joanne Fuchs says the book is “the map for your assessment journey” and provides lots of useful details!