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Alternative Formative Assessments (Dipsticks)


To check for student understanding without using intimidating pop quizzes.


Students will be empowered to own their own learning with more frequent and less high-stakes forms of feedback beyond formal assessments.

Action Steps

  • Develop an alternative, non-quiz formative assessment that will gauge students understanding of discreet content or skills.
  • Observation of students is crucial to gaining understanding of their learning, so use focused observation forms to record student progress.
  • As students gain comfort with alternative formative assessments, provide students with rubrics and help them learn to self-score.
  • Further gauge students learning and comfort with the assessed content or skills by asking students about how they fared with an assignment and what they did or did not learn.
  • See the attached addendum for an example of an alternative formative assessment (dipsticks).



Finley, Todd (2014, July 30). Edutopia.org. Retrieved February 2022 from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/dipsticks-to-check-for-understanding-todd-finley

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