Tes Maths: Effective formative assessment

Craig Barton
07th October 2019

Delve deeper into what formative assessment really means for you and your students

In 2016, Dylan Wiliam sent the following tweet: “Example of a really big mistake: calling formative assessment 'formative assessment', rather than something like “responsive teaching”.

I like this phrase, as for me formative assessment is all about responding in the moment. It is not about grades, marking, written feedback or formal assessments. It is about gathering as much accurate information about our students’ understanding as efficiently as possible, and making decisions based on that. In short, it is about adapting our teaching to meet the needs of our students.

In his section on 'Checking for Understanding' in Teach Like  Champion 2.0, Doug Lemov  argues that the most crucial task of teaching is to distinguish “I taught it” from “they learned it”. One of Rosenshine’s (2012) Principles of Instruction is check for student understanding. Rosenshine explains, “the more effective teachers frequently checked to see if all the students were learning the new material. These checks provided some of the processing needed to move new learning into long-term memory. These checks also let teachers know if students were developing misconceptions.”

Indeed, without formative assessment, we are left ignorant to what are students know, and whether or not what we are doing as teachers is helping - or indeed, hindering - them. In short, teaching without formative assessment is like painting with your eyes closed.

Fortunately, the incredibly talented TES Maths authors have provided a whole host of resources to help with your formative assessment needs, so we can all have our eyes open wide.

Craig Barton

Diagnostic multiple choice questions

Assess understanding quickly and accurately with diagnostic multiple choice questions. If the wrong answers are chosen carefully they enable you to identify the specific nature of the misconceptions students have, and deal with them there and then. Use with mini-whiteboards, voting cards, or just fingers (1 for A, 2 for B, etc).

Multiple Choice quizzes - GCSE maths higher

Multiple choice quizzes to help recall knowledge through low stakes testing. Answers included. Powerpoint included for those who would like to edit any questions

**updated 04.06**
Two more multiple choice quizzes put on. Re uploaded 150517 edition due to wrong answer.

Hope they are some use :)
By steele1989

Multiple Choice Starter Questions

A multiple choice question linked to every objective (I think?!) on the GCSE syllabus. Use them to assess what pupils need teaching, what misconceptions need addressing or what students already know.

** a few slides have been corrected 2/10/17 **
By pbrucemaths

Functional Skills Maths - Multiple Choice Quizzes

Functional Skills A set of multiple choice quizzes that I created for Functional Skills Mathematics, covering the mathematical topics as revision for functionality. Equally they can be used at any level for starters, fillers, or just a bit of fun. (All images are mine, I think, and mostly taken by me.)
By colinbillett

30 Number Starters- Multiple Choice Quizzes

A PowerPoint with 30 multiple choice quizzes, good for AFL if you give students cards labelled a,b,c,d to wave. Ideal for KS3 and GCSE students. Includes lots of percentage work, decimals, addition, multiplication and division practise, rounding, decimals, primes, squares, HCF, LCM. Hope you find it useful, if not to use then at least to adapt, please let me know what you think.
By bcooper87

Probing questions

Delve deeper into students’ understanding of a topic, method or concept with some well chosen probing questions. The students’ answers and the class discussions that follow could prove illuminating.

Assessment for learning - Think, Pair, Share

This resource takes Think, Pair, Share further than the norm. It gives it more structure where you as a teacher can accurately see if or if not the students are doing it as they have set boxes to fill in. Students love this resource and like the idea of if they have to much information to get down they have to be selective in putting down only the best pieces of information they have.

Print 4 per page and cut out they become a nice size for sufficient detail.

Again any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
By Robbo147

Vectors Probing Questions

This is an activity for Yr13 pupils to check and extend their understanding of vectors. This is a a set of questions to really check understanding of several vector concepts including magnitudes of vectors, vector equations of lines, scalar product and closest distance between a point and a line. Answers and workings included for our suggested vectors but you, the teacher, could choose to ask students for their own vector suggestions which would give completely different answers.

Bonus Resource 1: Notes on Vectors. This is the set of ‘notes on a page’ that I give to my students doing this topic.

Bonus Resource 2: Vector Triangles in 3D Space - A great problem-solving-style, simple question with many approaches and possible answers; Sort these triangles into scalene, isosceles and equilateral. Which are right angled too? The task involves using lots of those key vector techniques that students need to be able to perform. Sorry, no answers here this time though.

Tried and tested in the classroom many times. This download includes all files as pdfs as well as the original word files for easy editing.

By grahamcolman

Effective questioning

These documents were put together to assist TAs in effective questioning. The prompts are designed to focus questioning and encourage the children to take risks. The activity was used between visits to stimulate discussion. I would also use these with trainees and NQTs. The pause, pose bounce is widely available in TES resources so I haven't added that. Please let me know how you use these.
By mrshalford

Mastery in Mathematics Assessment Starter and Plenary Pack

A resource I have put together from the NCETM and Maths Hub Mastery in Mathematics Document. You will need to enable content to open. Everything is hyperlinked. The big '?' button will select one at random.

Included are the Mastery and Mastery with greater depth resources. When you click a button, the mastery question appears. Click anywhere on the slide and the Mastery with Greater Depth will appear. The NCETM and MathsHub logo will take you back to the start.

I can only accept responsibility for putting this together, copyright for the original goes to the NCETM and Oxford University Press

To reply to a few comments, sorry but no plans to do the same with the other packs as I am a secondary teacher, so the others are a little less relevant to me. Feel free to take the outline of this and make your own though.
By TheMathsBiker

Resources of the Week

Celebrate the very best of what TES has to offer with November’s hand-picked selection of Maths Resources of the Week.

Speed-Time Graphs Spiders

Three "spiders" containing increasingly difficult questions moving from just reading the graph through calculating distance travelled to calculating acceleration.
By alutwyche

Ratio using Bar Modelling - Secondary

I created this lesson for a low attaining Year 11 group. They had never used the bar model before for solving ratio problems. Taking our time to focus on drawing a diagram to represent each problem was worth it as by the end of the lesson they had gone from not really understanding what a ratio was to answering the 3 mark exam question with ease!

If you use this lesson i’d be really interested in your feedback. Hope it goes well :-)

By RustyMaths

SSDD - Histograms, Estimated Mean, Cumulative Frequency, Frequency Polygon ppt

A ppt. utilising the work of Mr Barton maths,Piximaths and mrmistry to create a PPT that tackles Histograms, Estimated Mean, Cumulative Frequency and Frequency Polygon using the same surface, different deep structure.

First time uploading so please rate

By walkerad1

Maths Skills in Biology

Lesson on Maths skills needed for the new Combined Science GCSE (9-1) with a focus on Biology content, although many of the skills are needed across all three Sciences.

The lesson is intended to be a circus activity with all of the topics around the room (information sheet and exam question sheet for each that I printed back to back) for students to move around between and then mark at the end of the lesson. It could easily be done as a teacher lead lesson as well though and even slotted into other lessons as needed.

The maths skills included are:

  • Comparing Data
  • Analysing Graphs
  • Drawing Tables
  • Calculating the Mean
  • Mode & Median
  • Calculating Percentages
  • Calculating Percentage Changes
  • Percentile Charts
  • Converting Units
  • Standard Form
  • Ratios & Fractions
  • Variation
  • Magnification Equation
  • Cardiac Output Equation
  • BMI Equation
  • Estimating Population Size Equation

There is an information sheet and exam question sheet for each, as well as answers to all the questions.

By Paul Foster

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