Using Assessment to Boost Learning (Part 2)

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Using Assessment to Boost Learning (Part 2)

Higher and Deeper Thinking, Episodic Learning, Brain-Friendly Strategies

Classroom formative assessments that are routinely embedded during learning assist students as they recall and rehearse new knowledge, understanding, and skills. As Henry Roedinger III and Jeff Karpicke explain, there are numerous low-stakes strategies that support their research on the value of continuous review, practice, retrieval, and application of learning.

Deeper questioning and higher level thinking
Choose strategies that elicit and interpret evidence of learning at multiple levels of Blooms Taxonomy and Webb’s DOK. Rather than recalling what the Hungry Caterpillar ate or identifying which foods were unhealthy, ask students to prescribe a healthy diet for the caterpillar. Instead of asking about the meaning of vocabulary words, ask students to support an idea or position using the vocabulary words. In place of asking how political parties are alike and different reflect on how those differences influence their legislative decisions.


Episodic Learning
This works for any content from grouping numbers to analysis of Hamlet. Rather than 30 minutes of sustained learning, intersperse moments of recall using a prop or concept map to briefly summarize a strategy or character trait.
A Stop-to-Jot strategy transfers attention from the reading or viewing. A Learning Tracker is a more structured form of the stop-to-jot in that students respond to a specific prompt at a selected point of learning.
Collectively, learning can be reviewed and understanding checked through a visible posting such as on Padlet. As with eating rich food, smaller portions are more easily digested.

Brain-Friendly Strategies
Take regular breaks during learning, even if it is simply to get up and count steps around the table, name the countries around the world, or a model with kinetic sand.
Quick Checks such as a written summary or “Tell it to Martian” require students to recall and show new learning.
Distributed learning using Lino lets students post digital sticky notes, making it easy to summarize learning and respond to misunderstandings.

When students repeatedly retrieve and apply their learning they become better caretakers of their own learning. This in turn supports engagement and deeper learning. Research from the learning sciences show that these ideas work.

Try It Out: Select two ideas from what you have just read and explain two ways you will use what you learned. Write a summary of 140 words that you can post on Twitter.

See previous blog USING ASSESSMENT TO BOOST LEARNING, Part 1, for more ideas.

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