Language Sensei

Thoughts on The Journey of Teaching Languages

“Pop Check-In” The New Formative “Quiz” in Class


file8541339345592I have come to believe that the following statement is true for most of our students, “You know, I always know it for the quiz and then 45 minutes later I don’t remember what the concept was when I need to use it.” As a teacher this has always been a challenging area. How could they score so well on a quiz – and then not use it correctly in classroom interaction? How could I make a more accurate appraisal of where they are in acquiring a concept, and what they may or may not need to master it? How could I offer formative assessment on what they ‘really’ understand/know?

And so this year I began the “Pop Check-In”. When I first announced a “pop quiz” in my Year 3 class there were looks of horror. “A quiz? You hadn’t warned us! A quiz? For marks?” So I explained what the ‘pop check in’ is:

– It’s a chance to see what you have in your head ‘right now’ regarding this concept

– It is not ‘for marks’ but it is ‘for learning’ so I will ask that you provide ‘corrections’ for what you have not mastered

– It’s a chance for me to see if I have to do some further instruction/teaching around  a point

I “mark” the check-in by circling areas that are not showing mastery. It lets me see where areas of weakness exist in individuals (one on one reinforcement) and the class as a whole (re-teaching a concept perhaps). Students then hand in their ‘updated (corrected)’ quiz for a completion mark.

Students like the approach. They tell me it really shows them what they know and don’t and some are surprised that they didn’t really understand the concept they ‘thought’ they knew.  It is a way then to assess their own learning without a fear of it reflecting on their mark (which they are always focused on despite my efforts). If I choose to do a ‘for marks’ quiz it will come after this formative feedback.

The second and third time that I did this in class the students were happy to participate. They understand the ‘why’ behind the idea. I appreciate the opportunity for more formative assessment/feedback for them.

Pop Check-In Quiz – it’s a positive thing, and one I’ll continue to employ in class.



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