Look Back… formative assessment strategy


Not sure that this counts as a #MTBoS12days post since I actually returned to school today.  I appreciate having a day back before our students return.  It requires me to be in the building and I get a moment to refocus.

As I drove home this evening, what a beautiful moon!  So glad it was full on a day that we didn’t have students. ha.

Anyway, I pulled my Keeley & Tobey blue book over my shelf and began digging to see what strategies had I never tried – with the idea, I would pick a couple to try over the next couple of weeks.  Well, as I went down the table of contents, I realized I utilize many more of the strategies than I initially thought.


When I came across the “Look Back” approach – basically students account for what they learned over a given period of time.  They think of specific examples of things they know now and describe how they learned them.

I have used “brain dumps” before to list as many topics / ideas as they could about a given unit in a set amount of time – then they get up and meet with a partner for give-one, get one – but this basically just creates a review list of topics / skills.

However, what makes the look back strategy intriguing to me – having students to tell how they learned the concept.  This idea helps students think about their own learning.  It allows teachers to look at the sequence of their instructional plans and determine why students got the most out of certain aspects / activities.  Interesting.  Look back can also provide the teacher with ideas on how to plan differentiated learning in the future for specific students.

We must remember that this is allowing students to share what stood out to them in the learning cycle – but not necessarily how much they learned.

I look forward to using “Look Back” toward the end of a unit – maybe even use this feedback, compared with the unit assessment to see if students in fact showed proficiency on the concepts they listed.

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