See like a Coach: Considering the lenses we use in Formative Assessment

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Formative assessment

a process of gathering evidence within the stream of instruction in order to inform teaching and learning (Black, Harrison et al., 2004). To be considered formative, the evidence must be “elicited, interpreted, and used by both teachers and learners” (Wiliam, 2011, p. 43)

From the Joint Position Paper on Formative Assessment of the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics & Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (2014)

We hear all about the benefits of formative assessment but what is it and how do you do it…well.  The Formative Assessment Conference put on by the Center for Mathematics and Science Education attempted to answer that question for mathematics educators from across the state (and beyond) the past two days.  My contribution to the conference was a talk called “Considering the Source: The Lenses we use when we Assess” where I used an interesting situation from my own teaching to illustrate the idea of seeing like coach versus a critic. (As I was figuring out how to talk about this idea of different lenses to use in formative assessment I heard this podcast by Perry Noble on “Coach v. Critic”, so you will hear some parallels in this talk. Just want to give credit where credit is due.)

Here is a link to the slides that I used in my talk, which has links in it to the resources that I mention.

2 thoughts on “See like a Coach: Considering the lenses we use in Formative Assessment

  1. Thank you Dr. Amidon for the talk at the Mathematics Formative Assessment Conference. I really enjoyed how you intersected love and math. I constantly look for ways to inspire my students to become lovers of math. However, I understand that this exist only for a small group. If possible, I’d like to share your views during a department meeting through video. If you have any recorded lectures, could you please tell me how to navigate the web to find them? Please continue your contribution to math education.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I can only think of one talk that I have recorded and it is from a while ago. It was an invited talk to the Mathematics Education Student Association at the University of Georgia, and a link to that talk can be found in a previous post on this site called “The Rebel went down to Georgia”(, it might not be the best representation to share but it is something. Let me know if I can help you in any other way. Thanks again for reaching out.

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