The standard I am using for this formative assessment planning is from the fourth grade Common Core State Standards.
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text (CCSS, 2016).”
A specific objective unpacked from this standard I will address is that - All students will be able to distinguish between fact and opinion.
The first, and quickest, way to get feedback to see if the students are meeting the objective is to ask. I can ask students to state the difference between a fact and an opinion, then ask them to identify facts and opinions in a passage. This encourages participation, which is important in an ESL class because I want them all to practice speaking in English, but it also offers immediate feedback for the student as well as the teacher. One drawback for this method is that there will usually be one or more students that do not offer their participation. One way to deal with that is to call on students instead of waiting for students to offer their answers up. I typically use a mixed method, where I sometimes go with hands up and sometimes random students to make sure all students are getting involved. An extension of this is the self-assessment prompt of asking them how hard they worked on the assignment before turning it in. I like to ask if they are happy with their work and I find that some students will take back the assignment and double check it before handing it in which means they are getting used to self-assessing before they turn in their work.
The second way to get feedback and check to see if the students are meeting the objective is to observe their work. I am always moving around my class while students are working on classwork or group work. I can see what they are doing and how they are doing it without them having to offer up concerns or questions. It can help me gauge how well students are understanding the concepts being taught and how well they are mastering the objective. In the case of this objective, I can see if they are properly identifying facts as facts and opinions as opinions. If they are having trouble, I can use the next method.
The third way to get feedback and see if the students are meeting the objective is to have private talks. Once I observe a student having trouble, I can stop and take a closer look at their thought process. I can make sure I re-teach them anything they may have trouble with without putting them on the spot in class. Other students are busy working and I can make sure struggling students are catching up with the objective. In this case, I can help them look for keywords that would give us a clue that a sentence is a fact or an opinion sentence, like ‘best’ or ‘favorite’ in the case of the latter. In order to make this as effective as possible, it is important to stop and have private talks with students who are doing well also, to make sure other students do not assume anything about the teacher stopping at the desk. Positive reinforcement is worth the time to stop at a desk as well.
My final way of getting feedback and seeing if the students are meeting their objective is one that is forthcoming in my class, but has yet to be used by me and that is a technology based system called Socrative. My school is getting ipads for all the students at the end of this year, and I will be making sure to implement this method as soon as we get them. Much like a clicker, students can offer their answers and the teacher can receive the information in real-time during class. This can be done individually, or in groups.
Common Core State Standards. (2016) Read the Standards. Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/W/4/