What is one (or more) of your assessment ideas that you thought were untouchable but now live comfortably without?

Hey @informed_members @Certified_Educators

Here’s the third and final question from this week’s #formativechat! We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Once again…shout-out to Lᴀᴜʀᴀ Sᴛᴇɪɴʙʀɪɴᴋ for leading our discussion on Monday and to @rdene915 for continuing to recruit awesome guest hosts!

I listened to a great seminar about the beloved “penguin lesson.” Basically, an educator can’t get so attached to a lesson or an assessment that he/she keeps it even if it doesn’t fit the student’s or team’s current needs.

As far as assessments I am better without… all of those tests that assess lower level thinking, primarily recall, like “What was the color of the protagonists dog’s best friends blanket.” Realistically, who cares? A better question: why did the author repeatedly mention this color?


One assessment idea that was hard for me to let go was grading by hand. I thought I had to look at every student’s work and solutions to see what they were and weren’t understanding. Now that I use auto-grading, I’m so thankful that I let hand-grading go. Auto-grading allows me the freedom to provide meaningful feedback to students and use my time to create more engaging lessons.


I definitely encountered the idea of a penguin lesson when I was in the classroom but never had a name for it!

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I have gottten rid of end of unit “one chance”, my way or the highway, assessments. Assessment happens throughout with multiple opportunities to show what was learned and what has yet to be mastered. If a student is not there yet, he/she knows to keep at it.


I totally agree with you about how long it takes to grade by hand. I would always double-check my grading as well to prevent any mistakes and that took so much extra time. Taking advantage of auto-scoring is a great way to create more time for teaching responsively.

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My PLC plans for retesting, but I was doing it waaaaaay before it was acceptable/expected in the math classroom. I remember starting off teaching the way I was taught… and it didn’t take too long before I started to see how that wasn’t going to work for my high population of at-risk students.


@mgarcia @tricia.mintner I love how you are both providing multiple opportunities for students to share their progress throughout a learning unit. I was wondering if you use a similar approach to @Mary_Shields with regards to allowing re-takes for summative assessments:

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Not really. For us, everything is regradeable (including quizzes, and all assessments), as long as it is “not a zero”. We do give zeros when the student does not turn anything in at all, but they also know that if theyturn in a blank paper with a name and the name of the assignment it will get a 1 and thus be regradeable.

In order to obtain a regrade/retake for a quiz students need to write down every question that was incorrect, answer it correctly, and explain why the correct answer. Once that is done at 100%, they can “retake”, though it is a different quiz/test.

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Our PLC requires a ‘practice’ assignment to be completed prior to a retest. For the first test, I usually tell them to ‘do all the GoFos’ for that concept first, because most kids who fail do so because they didn’t try it in the first place. On remaining units (and for those who DID do all the GoFos) there is another set of practice problems that students must complete in order to retake a test. My criteria is that students score at least 70% on the practice problems in order to be eligible to retest. Students who score less than 70% can make corrections or ask for another set of practice problems.


I have also struggled with the concept of retesting. I have set up retesting procedures that students can work on with formative. I have my students work on the problems that they got wrong and write a sentence or sentences telling me what they did wrong and how they worked it out correctly. They must complete this assignment before I give them the opportunity to retest. By using formative, I do not have to look for their tests and hand it back to them. They will look up their test on GoFormative and do work on the problems.


@tricia.mintner @lcuesta @mgarcia it’s awesome to see that you all have procedures for helping students prepare for re-taking an assessment!

Thanks for Formative, I now comfortably live without students handing in the physical page showing their math work to me. They are still required to write it all down on the paper and show their work, but they have to enter their answers into Formative as they go. I have a live window showing the students’ progress and right/wrong answers on the projector, so I know immediately who needs help, who is slacking off, and who is done and ready for enrichment.

Even better, doing things this way has let me turn all daily work into completion grades. The students own their learning and they immediately know when to seek out a peer or me to get help if they’re struggling with accuracy. I use the data I see live to know where and with whom I need to intervene. The fact that I close these at the end of a 5-school-day window means I’m not constantly grading late work, too! Huzzah!

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