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Formative assessment provides feedback for instructors and learners so they can make changes that improve learning.  By conducting frequent and on-going assessment, you can make changes to your instruction and students can reflect on how to improve their learning. Formative assessment is diagnostic and can be done at the beginning of the class to get a baseline understanding of student knowledge and skills or at any point as you move through the semester to fine-tune your teaching.
Reflection and the One-Minute Paper

One-minute papers are often used at the beginning and end of class to help students either demonstrate their understanding of the homework or reflect on the main points of that day’s lesson.  Two simple questions to ask are: “What was the most important thing you learned (during today’s class or in your reading, as applicable)?” and “What questions do you still have?” This information can help you test student’s engagement while giving you important insight into what you need to cover more deeply.  No time in class? Assign it as a two-question quiz in blackboard to be completed by the end of the day.

Two Stage Exams

Do you want to keep the learning going after the exam?  Consider using Two Stage Exams in your classroom. A recent study shows higher retention of course material when students have collaborative group tests immediately after the individual test.

Increasing metacognition with Test Wrappers
While we’d like to think of assessments as a learning opportunity for students, most get their grade and forget it.  But there is a way to increase their metacognition. Wrap it up! Test and assignment wrappers encourage students to think about how they prepared, where they struggled, and how they can improve on the next exam or assignment. An exam wrapper can be given through Blackboard as an assignment or completed for bonus points on an exam.