When it comes to discussing formative assessment, despite understanding its need and purpose, teachers are often challenged by there not being enough time to use formative assessment to give students meaningful feedback.
Checklists are an excellent tool to use with students of all ages to give effective feedback in the classroom. Checklists can be used effectively in different subject / content areas and with students of various ages.
Self and peer assessment are excellent ways for students to get quick and meaningful feedback on their work. I have heard some teachers say, on numerous, occasions, “I cannot use self or peer assessment in my class because students do not know what to look for.”
My response to that is, start with simple checklists. If a teacher wants students to to develop formatting skills that will help with their assignments, then use a simple checklist that enable a student to ensure they have, for example, size 12 font, a specific font type and there is a line between each paragraph. Simple and students can self-check or peer check.
Similarly, this can be done with students developing PowerPoint slides, drafting oral presentations, developing paragraphs, and so on. Checklists are great way for students to develop skills and take some of the workload in giving feedback off the teacher.
Checklists, I believe, can help students establish routines based upon the expectations that we set for them, so that they develop effective learning habits. Being able to identify things that are missing prior to an assignment being submitted will not only save the teacher time with their feedback but the student gets the opportunity to fix any mistakes prior to submission.
Let’s give our students some credit. In many instances, they know what to look for if the expectations are clear and they are able to engage with timely feedback that does not involve a teacher being under a pile of marking!