Formative assessment and student learning: how to ensure that students continue to learn outside of the classroom

Organisation(s): World Bank; Russian Federation. Ministry of Finance

Date: 2020

Pages: 3 p.

As many schools around the world have closed due to COVID-19 (and many have extended closures for the remainder of the school year), students, teachers and parents are settling in to the “new reality” for the foreseeable future. In this new reality, students, and most teachers and parents are staying at home, teaching and learning (and working) together. What are the learning assessment challenges and priorities in the current context? The need for formative assessment right now is the greatest because learning needs to take place outside of the physical classroom, and teachers and parents-turned-teachers need to understand whether students are absorbing the material that is delivered to them in formats that differ from business-as-usual. How can formative assessment support learning in the context of school closures? Formative assessment can be administered in synchronous and asynchronous forms. In the synchronous form, where the teacher and the student are working together at the same time (via platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams), as well as directly by phone, teachers can provide feedback to students in real time. In the asynchronous form, where students and teachers are separated by both space and time, online tools such as Google Classrooms and Moodle can help teachers to provide feedback to students through questions, tasks, online activities, and quizzes administered online. Teachers can also provide feedback to students through mailed or emailed instructions and tasks, SMS/WhatsApp messages (or other applications), or through direct phone calls to students and parents. Irrespective of how formative assessment is communicated, it needs to be valid, timely, constructive, and specific to the learning needs of the child.

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