How can I support my children to learn better?
Parents can support children to become independent learners and reach their potential. Digital formative assessment can empower your children in their learning journey and help you to follow what they do at school and to support them when needed.
Parental expectations and assessment
As a parent, what do you expect from your child at school?
It is not always easy to know how you can best support your child with their school tasks. You probably try to follow what your child does at school and check if they have good grades. But keeping up with children’s learning can be quite a task at times – on top of all the other tasks in life. Is your child perhaps sometimes overwhelmed with a task at school and you feel you can’t help? This video has some new ideas and insights on how to support your child.
Why is formative assessment important for my child?
How do you keep track of your child’s progress at school? As a parent, it is not always easy to tell what they can already do or not. Now imagine how difficult it can be for teachers to know what each student in their classes already know. Assessment is a powerful instrument that can improve teaching and learning and formative assessment helps them make decisions on how to adapt their teaching according to children’s needs.
Simply asking students what they know already for example via a short quiz at the end of the lesson is one way. If the teacher uses this information to plan their next lesson, this is an example of what we call formative assessment.
Formative assessment is not a single method but numerous practices that can help the teacher and your child know where they are and what to do next. In this toolkit, we explain how digital tools can facilitate formative assessment and how you can support your child in digital formative assessment. These tools can be e-portfolios, digital diaries, concept maps, online polls and many more. We will explore the benefits of digital tools further below. For a general overview, check out the pedagogical and digital tools glossaries.
To see some examples, check out this video for some digital formative assessment practices mentioned by teachers.
Formative assessment and examinations
How does formative assessment relate to an assessment based on tests or exams?
As a parent you might worry that focusing on formative assessment will interfere with students’ studies for graded (e.g. end of year or external) tests. But it is not a case of one or the other: graded tests are as important as ever. Feedback on what your child already knows or on how to better learn is designed to help them prepare better for the next graded test, and at the same time learn how to learn and to feel more responsible for their own learning.
Research has shown that formative assessment can help students get better grades (e.g. in English: Bhagat & Spector, 2017; Faber, Luyten & Visscher, 2017; Wall et al. 2006). Formative assessment can also help students who struggle with certain subjects, promoting equity.
Thanks to formative assessment teachers will also know your child better and will make better decisions to improve their learning. Your child can also perform better in graded tests thanks to increased motivation and a better understanding of what they need to do to improve.
How can digital formative assessment benefit my child?
Digital tools can enhance formative assessment in many ways. Formative assessment with the help of digital tools is what is known as digital formative assessment.
Digital formative assessment and online safety
Parents worry, understandably, that children are not safe online. Teachers are expected to keep them safe and protect their data. You can always ask them how they do that if you are unsure. This video addresses questions concerning data privacy when using digital educational tools.
How can I support my child’s learning?
We hope we have raised your interest in digital formative assessment, its benefits, and the change of role that it brings about. While it’s not your job to know about all school subjects that your child is learning or to help with all their homework, you can support your child in many meaningful ways. What do you think your role as a parent is in your child’s learning is?
A good routine, time and a quiet space are also important for doing schoolwork at home. Sometimes your child may need to use digital devices at home. For example, homework that is part of a “flipped classroom” is prepared before class. Discuss with your child on how to best organise this activity at home in terms of space, time and digital equipment needed.