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  • Writer's pictureJames Kerr

A Final Revision of My Formative Assessment Design

Updated: Dec 7, 2019

This blog post contains final revisions for my Formative Assessment Design (F.A.D.). The revisions are based on feedback and new learning about assessment that I have been exposed to in my CEP 813 class.The final post will include a colored font for final edits to earlier versions of the F.A.D. Click on the image at the left or on this link (Final F.A.D) to access a final version of my F.A.D.

This final version of the F.A.D. provides further use of online assessment options. The options incorporate digital technologies in ways that clearly uses them for assessment. These online technologies include: 1) Google Classroom Discussion Board, 2) Online rubrics for self-assessment, peer assessment, and teacher assessment that provide feedback to support learning goals, and 3) A secure online blogging site for students, Kidblog.

Justification for Google Discussion Board

Every Google Classroom Assignment has a built in public comment thread. Any comments made in this thread can be seen by everyone in the Classroom. The comment thread can be the most convenient way to support an online student discussion with students. John Hattie’s research identifies classroom discussions as having an effect size on student achievement of 0.82 (Hattie, 2009). Classroom discussions allow students to improve communication skills by voicing their opinions and thoughts. Teachers also benefit from classroom discussion as it allows them to see if students have learned the concepts that are being taught. Additionally, a classroom discussion creates an environment where cooperative learning fosters student growth. The key to successful classroom discussions is the feedback given by the students and the teacher and the instructional adjustments made by the teacher based on the student feedback. Online discussions also give a voice to those students are aren’t comfortable speaking up in class.

Justification for Online Rubrics:

Online rubrics help students to focus on the learning goals for an assessment using timely feedback. Online self-assessment and peer-assessment helps students to use supportive feedback to improve their own work and each another’s work. Repeated practice with peer-assessment, and especially with self-assessment, can increase students’ sense of self-regulation.

Justification for Kidblog

Kidblog is a simple and effective blogging tool. Students may be enrolled by class and have individual addresses from which blogs can be shared. The posts are available to each member of a class that participate in the blogging experience. Each post can be seen and approved by the teacher before it is published. Students can receive unlimited feedback for a post. Another affordance is unlimited posting. The Kidblog software keeps a record for the teacher of all posts and responses for the site. The Kidblog software is not free, but the small expense is well worth the investment. Students enjoy the secure site, and the management of the post is efficient and effective.

Final Edits to the Purpose for this Assessment

The purpose for this assessment is for students to demonstrate their research-based understanding of multiple applications of nuclear radiation technology. Based on previous learning about multiple technological applications for nuclear radiation, students will select a specific technology to present what they have learned. Beginning an online discussion process, students will post a typed position statement. The position statement will demonstrate learning focused on factual support for the point of view that will be shared.

A minimum set of three researched facts must be posted with a Position Statement. The facts will include:1) How nuclear radiation technology is beneficial or detrimental to humans, 2) How the use of the technology works, and 3) How the use of the technology has evolved and is evolving. Students will present a minimum of three researhed facts to support or challenge three peer-posted position statements. Comments must include: 1) Evidence for why the statement is valid or why it should be challenged, 2) Suggested revisions to the position statement based on researched facts, 3) Evidence that shares the sources from which the facts concerning nuclear radiation are drawn.

Pre-Assessment Activity

Students previously viewed a segment of the PBS film documentary,

“The Mystery of Matter”. They have studied the history of nuclear radiation, including the contributions by Nobel Laureates: Antoine Henri Becquerel, Pierre and Marie Curie, Ernest Lawrence, Enrico Fermi, Edwin McMillan, and Glenn Seaborg. They have written a short paper about one of these scientists and shared how a selected researcher contributed to breakthroughs in the disciplines of chemistry and physics. They learned about Alpha, Beta, and Gamma radiation associated with the decay of unstable isotopes. Just prior to this assessment, students have been researching contemporary applications of radiation technology and researchers associated with these technologies.

Post-Assessment Plan

The final goal in this unit will be to introduce students to individuals who have chosen to pursue careers in nuclear physics. Students will locate and interview a professional who is researching and/ or applying nuclear technologies in medical research, food processing, military settings, or other application of radiation. Following this primary research, the students will prepare a Google Slides presentation for their classmates to showcase the professional's contribution to radiation technology. The primary research will help students to understand how researchers tie the clinical understanding of radiation to applications in current technologies.

Assessment Instructions

The assessment instructions are included in the Grading Rubric at the right column of the assessment. Five specific steps for the assessment are detailed. Discussion of these steps is supported by the learning objectives posted in column one of the assessment. (Click here for Assessment Instructions)

Rationale for Revisions to the Formative Assessment

The purpose for this assessment has been redefined to address specific

goals. Wiggins and McTighe (2005) define the importance of clear goals for an assessment,“...we must be able to state with clarity what the student should understand and be able to do as a result of any plan, and irrespective of any constraints we face” (p.14). A rubric that outlines how the assessment will evaluated has been added at the beginning of the assessment.


In addition to informal and ongoing teacher feedback throughout the assessment process, a rubric to help students with self-regulation and reflection has been added. Also, a separate rubric to help students to reflect on how they will choose to support or challenge peer statements has been added to the assessment. In addition, a student blog post has been added to enhance student interaction and feedback. These changes were influenced by the research paper posted by Nicol and McFarlane-Dick (2006 p.199) which states that “ practice self-regulation is manifested in the active monitoring and regulation of a number of different learning processes, e.g., the setting of, and orientation towards learning goals; the strategies used to achieve goals, the management of resources, the effort exerted: reactions to external feedback, the products produced."

The addition of the rubrics was also influenced by the work of Van den Bergh, Ros, and Beijaard (2013 p. 343) who quote (Elshout, 2000; Simons, Van der Linden, & Duffy, 2000) concerning the importance of self-regulation: ”When students become more responsible for their own learning they need to know how to regulate their own learning processes.” Nicol and Mcfarlane-Dick (2006 p. 209) further quote the work of Gibbs and Simpson (2004),”They have shown that if students receive feedback often and regularly, it enables better monitoring and self-regulation of progress".

Finally, in their paper the importance of timely feedback is addressed. Students learn not only by verbally explaining the assessment goals, but also by sharing written responses as they progress through the assessment. The addition of the self-reflection and peer-reflection rubrics were also influenced by the research on timely feedback by Nicol and Mcfarlane-Dick (2006 p. 209) who further quote the work of Gibbs and Simpson (2004), ”They have shown that if students receive feedback often and regularly, it enables better monitoring and self-regulation of progress by students". The addition of the two rubrics affords students a greater potential to utilize timely feedback as they progress through the assessment process.


Elshout, J. J. (2000). Constructivisme en cognitieve psychologie [Constructivism and cognitive psychology]. Pedagogische Studi ̈en, 77, 134–138.

Gibbs, G & Simpson, C. (2004) Conditions under which assessment supports students’ learning? Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, 1, 3–31.

Hattie, J. A. C.  (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. Oxon, England: Routledge. 

Nicol, D., & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199–218

Simons, P. R. J., Linden, J. L., van der, & Duffy, T. M. (Eds.) (2000). New learning. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

van den Berghe, L., Ros, A., & Beijaard, D. (2013). Teacher feedback during active learning: Current practices in primary schools. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 341- 362. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8279.2012.02073.x,

Wiggins,G and McTighe, J., 2005, Understanding by Design, Alexandria, VA. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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