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Making it work: Formative assessment in virtual instruction

Chase Nordengren

If teaching is an art, then formative assessment—the planned, ongoing processes used to elicit and use evidence of student learning—is one of its fundamentals. During this singular moment in the lives of students, it has never been more important to understand student learning in the moment and use that understanding to drive instruction. As our research has shown, the learning gaps between students that will emerge during this period will likely be substantial. What we don’t know is how this crisis will affect those students individually: where specifically students may fall behind and the specific content they will need to catch up. Formative assessment can help bridge the gaps in our understanding by going deep into what students know and can do, and providing students the opportunity to collaborate on the next steps in completing their unfinished learning.

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