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Importance of Formative Assessments in Teaching

Assessments are an important part of the teaching-learning process. Formative and summative assessments are regularly used by teachers to check and grade the progress of their learners. Formative assessment refers to a range of methods that a teacher uses to conduct evaluations of student comprehension, their learning requirements, and academic progress while a lesson, unit, or course is in process.

The teacher uses the findings made during formative assessments to identify in- process academic areas that need to be addressed. Learners may be facing challenges in grasping concepts, acquiring skills or in generally progressing in their level. The teacher can use the deductions made through formative assessments to make necessary adjustments in lessons or teaching techniques, or by giving academic support.

The teacher, including a teacher teaching language, while conducting formative assessment has a very basic aim in mind, to be able to garner enough information that can be used to better the in-process student learning. H/she may use any technique or evaluation design as formative assessment so long as it is used to modify the in-process teaching and learning methods as needed.

Formative assessments are not very elaborate or time taking in nature. Teachers do not have to allocate special time for this purpose. In fact a good teacher while validating and checking for the learning happening during an ongoing session is doing nothing less than a formative assessment of her learners.

Yet, a conscious and observant attitude of the teacher to gather and analyse the information collated and then immediately used to modify the teaching methods used in class is what makes the difference. Language teachers can take the benefit of digital language labs which also supply content that can be used for this purpose. A good digital language lab consists of a variety of examples that can help clarify a concept or language nuance and make learning more effective. The feedback system of such a digital language lab can assist the teacher with authentic data regarding the areas of challenge for the learners.

It doesn’t matter which technique the teacher uses to evaluate or assess her/his learners, the diving force should be that these assessments should be used to enhance the evolution of the learners on their path to mastering a learning concept. It helps a lot if the teacher has some corrective tools and activities handy to reduce the challenge of clarifying the understanding of the particular concept being taught. At the end of the day what is important is that the objectives of the teaching-learning process of a concept, topic, unit or theme should be fully met.