What is qualitative formative assessment? Some call it anecdotal or informal assessment. However, such designations imply passivity -- as if certain things were captured accidentally. I believe the word "formative" should always be included with the word assessment because all feedback mechanisms should help shape and improve the person (or situation) being assessed. Wedging the word "qualitative" into my terminology differentiates it from the analytic or survey-based measures that some associate with the term formative assessment.
For my purposes, qualitative formative assessment is the ongoing awareness, understanding, and support of learning that is difficult or impossible to quantify. An informal observation or the look on a learner's face can inform a teacher about a student's progress, yet such signals are challenging to capture or convey to the relevant agents (i.e., the learner, the teacher, or the parent).
I get caught up in things. Informercials. New gadgets. New shades of Sharpie. Every kid I’ve ever taught has said, “You say EVERYTHING is your “favorite thing.” It’s true. Life? It’s my favorite. I grew up, but my internal excitement level has stayed at a five year old’s level. So, I’ll just preface this post with that. I will also say that I’ve held off on writing this. Long enough to figure out if this whole “maker movement” was another “thing I love,” or more. It’s more. So much more.
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