Could you provide more information on the meaning you give to "common formative assessments"?
Formative assessments are assessments that don't have for sole purpose to evaluate and mark the student perforamnce. They are meant to get the kids reflect and learn and help the acquisition of knowledge and skills.
But what about the "common" part? Does it refer to a collaborative set up of some kind?
Common formative assessments are great tools for educators in a lot of ways. First of all, they set goals for what you need to teach in a certain time period (if they are setup the way that our's are...). After students take the assessment, then you can see what areas your whole class is weak and strong in. This helps guide your instruction further. If all students scored poorly, then you probably need to find more resources and lessons to present to your class. If they all understand it, then there is no need to re-teach. Formative assessments also help you form ad-hoc groups. Teachers at my school get a chance to collaborate after administering tests, so we can discuss with each other ways to re-teach. We look for teachers whose students scored well, and then they share strategies with the group.
Our school has been using common assessments for a few years now. The process has been slow and we are constantly refining each year. Because of this however, this practice has transformed into a very powerful tool in looking at growth for individual students as well as groups.
I see the common assessment rage as an adjunct to NCLB. To commmon-ize across your various grade level classrooms is to narrow your range of teaching to a set of tested (or commonly assessed if you prefer) items. So what topics, ideas, concepts are not commonly assessed that might be good for kids? I take stock of where my kids are continuously and find little need to come up with more focused tests and check sheets. My thoughts...
Like Marielle, I'm still trying to work out what "Common formative assessments" are.
Smithtk's definition To commmon-ize across your various grade level classrooms is to narrow your range of teaching to a set of tested ... items. is a start (thank you) but I'm still puzzled. Does it mean that you teach the same concepts to each year group?
Kristen's definition After students take the assessment, then you can see what areas your whole class is weak and strong in. describes pre-tests, but I see nothing formative in that.
We are beginning to use common assessments. We have been instructed that we must not only have common summative assessments but also the formative. In US History, we will have to commonly assess every week!! Is anyone else having to do it this often? I feel restricted by having to assess the same wasy with another teacher so often!!
If you want to take the workload out of weekly tests, you could try some of these History quizzes. We use them in the UK for exactly this purpose. Some of them are purely summative, but many include formative feedback. The are all automarked, with good quality analysis available to you immediately afterwards.
Even if the content is not exactly what you need, they are easy to modify to suit your purposes. They are also free.