In this section, I will describe my evaluation procedure and how we will use formative assessments to increase your achievement in my course. I will also provide you with a grade book to help you keep track of your scores. Let's begin with a common grading scenario in school.

A "C" for a Coat-Hanger Sculpture

Take a moment to study this Peanuts cartoon strip produced by Charles Schultz. The "C" that was given to Sally, Charlie Brown's sister, was a form of summative assessment, an assessment given at the end of a project. This form of assessment is what most people think of when they think of the word assessment.

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 11.34.08 AM.png

Sally does not understand why she received a "C" on her coat-hanger sculpture. She asked her teacher if she was judged by:
  • the sculpture
  • her talents
  • her effort
  • what she learned about the project
  • the quality of the coat-hanger

Have you ever felt like you received a grade on a paper or project and didn't know why? Have you ever received a paper back with just a grade and no comments? Did you wonder if your professor even read it? If you did receive comments, was it clear how the comments helped determine your grade? I had my fair share of "fuzzy" evaluations from grade school to graduate school (yes, even in my doctoral program I handed work in and never knew why I received an "A"). When I began teaching in college, I vowed that I would not do that to my students. And as you will, see, I am living up to my promise; I prefer to give formative assessments.

1.) What Are Formative Assessments?

I believe assessment should be used to improve student achievement and not just as a tool to obtain data or determine a grade. In my course, you will be provided with formative assessments to help you improve your ideas about learning and teaching. If you are not sure what formative assessment means, Dr. W. James Popham, Professor Emeritus of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, will describe it for you:

He said that formative assessment:
  • 1.) is a PROCESS and not a test
  • 2.) should be used by teachers AND students
  • 3.) takes place DURING instruction
  • 4.) provides FEEDBACK to teachers and students
    • a.) the "feedback should be used to ADJUST a teacher's instruction or to ADJUST a student's learning tactics" or BOTH (Popham, 2008, p. 5, emphasis mine)

Popham (2008) defined formative assessment as
  • a planned process in which assessment-elicited evidence of students' status is used by teachers to adjust their ongoing instructional procedures or by students to adjust their current learning tactics (p. 6).

Figure 8: Project Description. This is an example of a project on a wikipage.
a.) Description of how I Formatively Assess

BEFORE you begin any project for me, you will be given a rubric or checklist that should be used to help you find out how you will be evaluated. I will use the rubric to evaluate you AFTER you have used the rubric to evaluate yourself.

Evaluation Procedure

While following a trail of learning, you will be asked to demonstrate your learning. You will do this by solving a problem or completing a project.
  1. Read a project description
  2. Review the rubric to see how the project will be evaluated
  3. Begin the project and refer to the rubric as you work on the project
  4. Use the rubric at the end of the project to evaluate yourself
  5. Place the rubric in the shared dropbox folder
  6. I will use the rubric to evaluate your project[1]
  7. I will send you an email notifying you that I am done using the rubric
  8. Use the feedback on your project and from the rubric to improve your score if necessary
  9. Resubmit your project & rubric and then let me know you made changes via email
  10. I will re-evaluate your project & rubric and send you an email notification
  11. Repeat steps 8 - 10 if necessary or until you are satisfied with your score

I will give you every opportunity to learn the content and improve your rubric scores. All you have to do is want to learn and be willing to work. In the next section, I will describe how we will organize your rubric scores; the scores that will determine your grade.

2.) Gradebook


You must keep track of your scores, so that you can obtain the grade you wish to obtain. I will keep track of your scores in a master gradebook, but if you want to know how you are doing, you must use the gradebook. Do not ask me how you are doing. In order for you to keep track, I have provided you with an excel spreadsheet. This gradebook can also be customized to for an entire class of your own students. If you want to know how to do that, please contact me and I will show you how it can be done.[2]

In this section of the wikipage, you will:
  1. download your gradebook from this wikpage
  2. upload your gradebook to the dropbox folder you shared with me
  3. learn how to add columns to your gradebook so that the gradebook "grows" as you complete assignments

(1). Download the Gradebook

  1. Download this file to your desktop
    File Not Found
    File Not Found
    - or the place on your computer where you can find the file

(2). Put the Gradebook in Dropbox

  1. If you followed the directions for setting up dropbox, you should have installed dropbox on your computer (see setting up Dropbox)
  2. Please save the gradebook to the folder you shared with me; do not just add it to Dropbox.

(3). Adjust Your Gradebook (if necessary)

I gave you enough columns to keep track of 15 different rubrics. However, you may need to add columns and adjust the formulas that calculate letter grades.
  1. This file contains a tutorial that will show you how to add columns to your gradebook and how to adjust the formulas contained therein
    File Not Found
    File Not Found

Evaluation Tent - click me -
Next up...
Tips for Success. You can find out what they are by walking into the Tips for Success Tent in the Base Camp.


Popham, W. J. (2008). Transformative assessment. ASCD.
  1. ^ I will not evaluate your work until you have evaluated your own work
  2. ^ I used this exact excel spreadsheet when I taught 3rd and 4th grade.