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This content is taken from the National STEM Learning Centre's online course, Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment. Join the course to learn more.

Responding to the evidence

There are lots of different ways teachers can respond to the range of responses, vague ideas and incorrect thinking they elicit from their students. We have come up with a list of different options below.

Ideas for how teachers can respond are:

  1. The teacher could provide students with the correct answer or explanation.
  2. The teacher could move students onto the next activity in the teaching sequence. The teacher may make a note of the variety of responses and return to the key idea in the next or a later lesson.
  3. The teacher could decide to collect further evidence before deciding how to respond and either:
    a. Ask students to talk to the person whom they are sitting next to and discuss their thinking; or
    b. Facilitate a whole-class discussion to identify the reasoning and different thinking in the room,
  4. Re-group the students as a consequence of their responses and either move students so that they:
    a. Discuss their thinking with others who have different ideas; or
    b. Discuss their thinking with others who have similar ideas; or
    c. Move on to different activities in the lesson that are the most appropriate for their level of understanding.

This list is not exhaustive and we encourage you to share ideas of other ways you have planned to respond to emerging thinking in your classroom.

In order to deepen your formative practice, in the next three steps on the course we are going to show you decision-driven data collection opportunities that our teachers planned for. You will see that our teachers were able to elicit:

  1. a range of responses,
  2. vague ideas,
  3. incorrect thinking from their students.

For each of the examples we want you to consider having created a decision-driven data collection opportunity, how you would have planned to respond to the evidence elicited. Use the polls beneath the videos to respond.

We are aware that the contexts may be different to your own. However, the point of the tasks is to share ideas of how we can plan for responsiveness and share our best ideas.

If you cannot access the videos in the following steps, the transcripts are available at the bottom of this step.


What are your initial thoughts about how you might plan to respond to evidence of student learning in your lessons? Can you expand upon the possible options above?

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This article is from the free online course:

Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment

National STEM Learning Centre