Week 13 Blog: How can I use both formative and summative assessment to enhance (or at least not interfere with) intrinsic motivation?


Most of the formative assessments I give are standards-based assessments. The examples that come to mind when thinking of standards-based assessments are the pre and post assessments I give during my math assessments. This is a paper and pencil task and come from the “short-canned units” (Lewin & Shoemaker, 2007). How do I know my students have really held onto that information and are able to apply it after a post-assessment?

The lesson that I am creating now is going to be a norm-referenced formative assessment.  Norm-referenced tests compare students to a norm group, or other group of students (Popham, 2014). Formative assessment is part of the teaching process and provides information as you are teaching the lesson or unit (Garrison & Ehringhaus, 2007). In my lesson, students are given feedback as we move through the lesson and then in an authentic task at the end of the unit.

In 2nd grade, I do not do any high stakes testing. The high-stakes testing does not begin until students are in 3rd grade when they take the statewide assessments. The only assessments we do in 2nd grade that could be considered high-stakes might be the AIMS web testing which assesses fluency of reading, number facts, and math concepts and applications. This information is then reported and it is data that is reported to the district.

It has been reported that high-stakes testing has made teaching and school more stressful and less meaningful (Wheatley, 2015). I would agree with this statement, I am only in my 5th year of teaching and have already seen so many changes in the education system and in the morale of teachers. I find that this is due to all of the testing, teacher evaluations, and accountability. I have heard that the fun has been taken out of teaching from many teachers who have been teaching for a lot longer than me. I would also agree that it is stressful for both teachers and students. Many times I feel like I should say to my students: “sorry kids, no fun today, we have to get through all of this material before the end of the week”.

I feel that testing has taken away much of the intrinsic motivation for some students, others it might not because they want to perform well. Formative assessment on the other hand can be a tool used to enhance intrinsic motivation.


“AIMSweb Login.” AIMSweb Login. Web. 17 Apr. 2015.               <https://aimsweb.pearson.com/&gt;.

Garrison, C., & Ehringhaus, M. (2007). Formative and summative assessments in the classroom. Retrieved from http://www.amle.org/Publications/WebExclusive/Assessment/tabid /1120/Default.aspx

Lewin, Larry, and Shoemaker, Betty Jean. Great Performances : Creating Classroom-Based Assessment Tasks (2nd Edition). Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD), 2011. ProQuest ebrary. Available: http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2081/lib/uasoutheast/reader.action?ppg=106&docID=10488667&tm=1428975832182 Web. 13 April 2015

Popham, James W. p. (2014). Criterion-Referenced Measurement: Half a Century

Wasted?. Educational Leadership, 71(6), 62-68. Retrieved from: Egan Library http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eft&AN=94925708&login.asp&site=ehost-live

Wheatley, K. F. (2015). Factors that Perpetuate Test-Driven, Factory-Style Schooling:

Implications for Policy and Practice. International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research, 10(2). Retrieved from: http://ijlter.org/index.php/ijlter/article/viewFile/261/pdf


5 responses »

  1. I teach in a private school so I don’t have to deal with all the new educational stuff that comes into play with the public schools. I read about it often on Facebook though from friends who teach in the public schools and it literally sounds like your comment of sorry kids, we can’t have any fun today, we have to get through all this information by the end of the week. I just don’t get how they expect kids to do well in school if there isn’t time to make school enjoyable because there’s so much “stuff” to get through. The pressure of all the testing has to be taxing on kids as well and with all that pressure we all know they don’t perform as well as if it was more laid back. At least I would think that because I know when I have the pressure of doing something well I usually bomb it. Enjoyed your blog this week!

  2. I agree with you on the stressful part when we are testing. When we were doing our AMP testing it was very stressful on some students. We had one parent called the school and said her child will not be taking this test that she has be upset every night and crying. This is just one students example. We have teacher that get stress as well. I agree that teaching has changed and is continuing to change because of high stakes testing. This is not making it fun for students and teachers.

  3. It is hard having all of this testing, and that pendulum will continue to swing year after year. The testing will possibly ease up in the future, then someone else will come into power and it will tighten back up. That is our world. As teachers we just need to do what we can to keep the kid’s stress levels at a minimum. Jon was saying, this week, how he shows a very positive attitude about the testing around the kids. Even though it is tough and stressful, doesn’t mean we have to make it even more so. It’s like when we show our enthusiasm for learning and the kids get really excited, we can do that same thing when presenting these tests. They are mandated and not going away anytime soon, so we have to make the best of it. You are lucky, all of our students grades K-5 have to take MAPs testing three times a year, and our intermediate students have the AMP tests as well. It is a lot.

  4. Your comments about high stakes tests adding stress and making the educational environment less meaningful are powerfully true. I started teaching in the mid-eighties. I had standards to meet but tremendous freedom in how I met them. After taking more than a decade off from teaching, I came back to it 15 years ago. The educational environment had changed from what I was used to but I still had a say in how I did things. NCLB put a damper on that. When the graduation exam hit our district, I could see the frustration in our students and in their parents. This years AMP test did the same thing. The kids said the test was difficult. I don’t have a problem with that. The part that frustrates me is the number of days I have to give up instruction so my kids can sit in a computer lab taking a test. I guess this means we will just have to put more effort into creating projects and group activities that bring meaning back into the classroom.

  5. This year I am a tech coach for teachers, but because of district budget cuts I will be going back into the classroom and I am hoping to teach 2nd grade. I am concerned with the AMP testing. As a former 3rd grade teacher, whose students took the SBA’s, I witnessed many students not understanding the importance of standardized tests and why should they, they are only 3rd graders?! With that said if I do have to teach in a 3rd-6th grade classroom I will do my best to stay positive and prepare my students for AMP.

    Also I agree with your last sentence about formative assessment and motivation.

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