Anyone speak Latin?  If you answered no, you’re not alone. After all, there aren’t any Romans around.

If you do speak Latin (and frankly we all speak a variation as Latin is the progenitor of the main languages spoken today), then you can look at just about any word and determine its meaning. My mom studied Latin and her etymological skills are top notch; she also bakes fantastic chocolate chip cookies - just saying.

                                                                  CASTIGAT RIDENDO MORES**

Had I learned Latin, I would have understood the meaning of the word formative when I first came across it in my education courses. I thought it was a derivative of the word formal. You know, like formalwear (a tuxedo), but in this case, a formal assessment, like a test.

Turns out, that I was wrong. (For the record, “formal” comes from the Latin root word forma and “formative” from the Latin word formare, both originating from form: to create. So, they are kissing cousins.)

                                                                  BARBA TENUS SAPIENTES***

Formative assessment is defined as “an assessment that’s both for learning and as learning. This continual cycle of feedback and improvement makes learning useful and effective.” Teachers use and teach formal assessment as a tool for student improvement. Feedback, either teacher-student or student-student, allows for collaborative growth and it is not calculated as part of the students’ grades.

Kaizena’s feedback tools - text, audio, skills, and lessons - provides a multi-modality approach to providing feedback for formative assessments:

                                  ✒ Teachers can write feedback indicating what areas of growth a student needs to focus on;                                        students can respond to the feedback, creating a back and forth conversation.

                                  ✒ Students can leave audio feedback for peer-editing purposes.

                                  ✒ Teachers can create a Kaizena lesson to help a student grasp a concept.

As formative assessment strategies have increased and become as common in classroom as wearing jeans on the weekends (and who doesn’t?), you can use Kaziena’s feedback tools in a variety of creative ways.

Let’s walk through four examples:

                           1. Think-Pair-Share - this assessment begins with a teacher providing a prompt. The students each respond to the prompt and then pair up to share one another’s responses. Each student provides feedback to the other. The feedback is not grade-based but rather reflective (e.g., Interesting point; what made you state that?).

Kaizena’s feedback tools allow students to provide either text or audio feedback. In addition, students can build their own lessons if they wish to add supplementary material for feedback (e.g., a video, or image, or website). And what’s really cutting edge- this assessment can be done asynchronously! With Kaizena, the feedback can be given at any time and anywhere. Students can be at home, at school, or just about anywhere with a computer and an internet connection.


                            2. Write it down/Exit Ticket - checking students’ understanding  at the end of a class is a great way to determine level of mastery. Exit tickets can be done online via Kaizena with students writing down what they learned and comprehend and the teacher providing feedback using text or voice and adding specific lessons when necessary to bolster understanding and reinforce comments. For homework, students can check the feedback provided by the teacher and respond with their own feedback.

                           3. Self-Assessments - providing students the opportunity of self-discovery (see what concepts they have mastered and which ones they need to review) is student directed learning. With Kaizena’s skills and rubrics, teachers provide the criteria or goals and students can self-evaluate before the teacher completes the rubric.

                            4. Metacognition - reflecting on one’s thinking enhances students’ capabilities to adapt previously learned content/skills to new situations. Provide students with a Google Doc containing metacognitive provoking questions such as:  What did I learn today?  How can I apply what I learned today? What questions do I still have about what I learned? Then, using Kaizena’s feedback tools, teachers can provide feedback on students’ responses to help them further their learning and understanding. It also provides the teacher insight into how each student is processing the information learned in class.

                                                                                 CUI BONO?****

Who benefits the most from formative assessments? That’s an easy one. Your students.  Receiving constant, consistent, reliable feedback is a sure fire way for students to grow and hone in on their skills. Come check out Kaizena’s feedback tools. You, too, will then say about your students, “Victos, Viderent, Venerunt.”*****


*CAESAR NON SUPRA GRAMMATICOS - “The Emperor is not above the grammarians.” (Good grammar and spelling counts)

**CASTIGAT RIDENDO MORES - “Laughing corrects morals”

***BARBA TENUS SAPIENTES - “Wise as far as his beard” (he is far from intelligent)

****CUI BONO?  - “Who benefits?”

*****VICTOS, VIDERENT, VENERUNT - “They came. They saw. They conquered.”

Ariel Margolis
Ariel has designed innovative instructional and e-learning curricula for more than twenty years. He is Director of Student Support Services and Adjunct Lecturer in special education at Hebrew College.
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