Differentiation. Tiers of Intervention. Formative. Summative. Remediation. Acceleration.
All of the words above are related in some way to assessment.
And you know that in order to plan successful instruction, you must first gauge your students’ progress and have an idea of where each child is on the continuum of learning.
So how do you do that?
Informal observation is one of the best tools for seeking information about your students’ abilities and skills. It’s natural for teachers to watch, listen, and make determinations about students’ learning needs all day long. Informal observation is simple, doesn’t take much preplanning, and gives great qualitative data about your students.
But how do you do that in a classroom of 25+ students? 😱
It’s a question that requires some serious consideration. How can you effectively observe a classroom of around 25 (more or less) students and give them feedback about their performance?
One easy way that I’ve been able to assess my students’ math knowledge has been by implementing Digital Math Games in my classroom.
In addition to keeping my students engaged, these math games are a useful resource that allow me to evaluate my students’ skills and keep track of their progress. Here are three great ways to use Digital Math Games as an assessment tool:
- Each game gives instant feedback. Students can self-assess and track their own progress. Students will know if they have made it through a game without any errors or if they had to make corrections. Self-assessment is a valuable tool that places accountability on the student and gives them ownership of their own learning.
- You can have students work through the game once and stop as soon as they miss a question. They can notify you of their error and you can take note of where students are getting stuck before moving on. This provides important data for you as the teacher. You can see if multiple students are missing the same problem (and then create an opportunity to reteach the skill), form small groups of those who are struggling with the same skill, or see if your class is easily mastering a standard (and stop wasting time reviewing it).
- If you prefer a written product, you can have students write down their original answers for each question on a sheet of paper and designate which questions they solved incorrectly. They can turn in this sheet to you so that you can have a written record of questions correct and questions missed. This information can help you inform instructional decisions and communicate student needs with colleagues and parents.
Digital Math Games are a simple way to solve that daily question of “How can I assess my students today (without giving them a test)?” Students can self-assess, stop to let you know when they’ve missed a problem, or keep a written record of answers to the questions.
These games can take the guesswork out of assessment and help you keep your students on track with meeting their math standards.