I picked up a copy of this book at NCTM last Spring.

It contains descriptions of 75 different formative assessment strategies for the math classroom. I’d like to try out as many as I can this year, as part of this project I’m starting, of documenting my use of a formative assessment strategy each day.

Today I used the “Always True, Sometimes True, Never True” in a 10 minute quiz for my students. Check it out here.

The key to this strategy is where student justify each of their answers. Many of these problems are tricky — there are so many shades of something being “sometimes” true — but by asking them justify, they must explain their reasoning, rather than just checking a box and moving on.

It produces interesting data: for each problem, how many students checked each box? How many statements did each student take the time to justify?

It’s also a vocabulary thing – I made a point of *not* explaining what I meant by the word justify, because I wanted to see where these students were at in their understanding of what mathematical justification entails.

I did not feel like this strategy increased kids’ engagement more than a traditional quiz, but it didn’t hurt either. It’s a different kind of thinking to make these statements then justify – certainly something I’ll keep in the toolbox, and use again soon!

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