Formative assessment task design

Formative assessments can be used in a multitude of classroom settings, for a variety of purposes. When teachers consider their ultimate purposes for delivering their formative assessments, they can enhance the impact that the formative assessments have on their students and their future decisions in the classroom. Formative assessments that teachers write have a range of accessibility and ability to reveal student thinking. Their effectiveness depends on the purpose that the teacher has set for administering the formative assessment. A formative assessment to determine if a student knows a right answer vs understands a concept would be designed quite differently.

The formative assessment enactment model

The aim of the formative assessment enactment model is to offer a practical resource for teachers to support students’ sense making. The model was derived from rigorous analysis of classroom videos of experienced science teachers doing formative assessment activities with their students. The model offers a structure of how different kinds of teaching moves are enacted, as well as characterizes the overall structure of formative assessment that science teachers enact. Excellent science teachers have a broad repertoire and use all of these different kinds of teaching moves in different moments, depending on the in-the-moment purposes that teachers have which are shaped by knowing the specific students and the challenges they are facing at that moment, as well as in the context of the overall lesson purposes.

How teachers enact formative assessment

Teachers' use of formative assessment is widely known to improve student learning. However, teachers enact formative assessment in many ways. How can chemistry teachers be more versatile and intentional in how we enact formative assessment so that we can maximize student learning by increasing their opportunities to learn? Our ACCT research and professional development partnership is aimed at learning the answers to this, and providing resources for chemistry teachers to enact formative assessment in the most effective ways. 

Formative assessment personalities

There are characteristic ways that middle and high school chemistry teachers pay attention to students' written work (noticing and interpreting) and plan on following up on what they interpret (acting). These can be organized as different "formative assessment personalities" that are approaches that are often taken by teachers, based on noticing/interpreting and on acting in either prescriptive or responsive ways. This article highlights four "personalities", focusing on the affordances that each personality could bring to a teaching moment. Making decisions based on which affordances we want to leverage in a particular moment with a certain student gives us the ability to be more intentional in deciding the teaching moves we use.

Students’ chemical thinking

Here you can explore publications from the Sevian lab related to students' chemical thinking.  We are happy to share the results and products of our work. Please feel free to  to request any papers you are interested in reading, if you are not able to obtain them from your library.