The methods that I have used in my practice include informal techniques, such as written reflections, surveys, and checks for understanding, and formal techniques, such as in-class activities, quizzes, and team-based learning methodology, which is a class deliverable that assesses accountability among individuals and groups. Summative assessments have also been used by me, such as with exams, written papers and portfolio exercises.
Thus my reaction to the statement that “formative assessment cannot be done to the students but must be done with them” rings particularly true as it is always my goal and aim in teaching to enable my students to become independent learners. My view of education is like teaching a person to fish: catching the fish for them only feeds them for a day, but teaching them to fish feeds them for a lifetime. This is how education is in my perspective.
Therefore, the outline of methodologies that I would employ when teaching in order to assess learning and enable students to become independent learners, is found in the usage of formative assessments in which I am engaged with my students throughout the process. A large part of my assessment technique is rooted in the Socratic method, which encourages dialogue between teacher and student and obliges the student to work through problems and challenges on his/her own while being guided by the teacher, just as Socrates did with his students. He would suggest an argument or idea and bounce it off his students, who would then be encouraged by him to express their thoughts on the idea, whether or not they agreed with it, for example, and then he would dissect their responses in a reasonable and logical way, and ask them whether or not they agreed with his assessment of their responses. This form of back-and-forth would go on until the topic would reach a stage in which universal principles could be applied and a greater truth or idea could be enunciated, which would serve as a guide for future thinking. Arriving at this point was part of the process of involvement for Socrates and it is the essence of what I try to do with my students and what Marshall and William (2006) identify in their argument that formative assessment must be done with the students as opposed to done to them.
Thus, for written reflections, I would prompt the students to write about…