Formative Assessment Techniques Online – Determining Prior Knowledge
There are a number of techniques that you can use to determine the prior knowledge that your students bring to your course.
- Background Knowledge Probe
can use in the first week of class, or before introducing a new topic. Use the Blackboard Test Manager to prepare 2/3 open-ended, 5/6 short answer, or 10/20 multiple-choice questions that probe the students' existing knowledge. Once all students have completed the online no-credit quiz, let the students know the results and how this will affect them as learners. A screencast is a great way of providing class-wide feedback.
- Knowledge Survey
Similar to a Background Knowledge Probe, but the "correct answers" are replaced. In a knowledge survey, the students do not actually try to answer any of the questions provided. Instead, they rate (on a three point scale ) their confidence to answer the questions with their present knowledge. Students are directed to:
Learn more about Knowledge Surveys at Nuhfer, Edward and Delores Kipp (2003), "The Knowledge Survey: A Tool for All Reason."
- Mark an "A" as response if you feel confident that you can now answer the question sufficiently for graded test purposes.
- Mark a "B" response to the question if you can now answer at least 50% of it or if you know precisely where you could quickly get the information needed and could return here in 20 minutes or less to provide a complete answer for graded test purposes.
- Mark a "C" as response to the question if you are not confident that you could adequately answer the question for graded test purposes at this time.
- Focused Listing
use as a brainstorming technique to generate definitions/ descriptions of topics. Ask students in a wiki or discussion board forum to list words or phrases that describe a concept. This can be used to generate class discussion or it could lead to students forming groups to compare lists and form the best overall description of topic.
- Misconception/Preconception Check
particularly useful in classes with controversial/sensitive issues. Select a handful of troublesome beliefs that are common and most likely to interfere with students' learning, and create a simple questionnaire. Explain to your students the purpose and when they should expect to receive feedback.