Stockbrokers, like teachers, have a finite amount of time each day to make an impact at work, whether that impact is on the global economy or creating the world leaders of tomorrow. When imagining the floor of the stock exchange, what comes to mind is a hectic, loud environment with brokers on the phone, on the computer, shouting and using hand symbols to get their message across.
The decisions being made by stock brokers involve huge sums of money. The stakes are high and it is important to make well-informed decisions about when to buy, sell or hold. The fast-paced, productive nature of the trading floor decision-making process is made possible by a flow of constantly streaming data and information.
Of course success on the trading floor is also made possible by preparation. It is necessary for a broker to understand global trends, market forces, and the political climate, among other important elements. They must come to the floor prepared. True success, however, is achieved through in-the-moment decision-making and constant adjustment.
So, what does this have to do with math teachers?
Just as with stockbrokers, true success in the math classroom lies in a teacher’s ability to continually adjust to the students’ needs and make in-the-moment decisions that support learning and content mastery. To do this efficiently, teachers need the same constant stream of data and information that stockbrokers receive through their desktop terminals. In the classroom, this “in-the-moment” data can be generated through formative assessments.
Teachers have many different tools for gathering formative assessment data including observations, conversations, end of class mini assessments (exit tickets) and classwork. Education technology products like Knowre are changing the formative assessment data collection process by providing teachers with real-time assessment data at the individual student and class wide level. This data allows teachers to confidently make in-the-moment decisions to adapt to the personalized needs of their students. The more accurate and granular that data, the more insight teachers gain into the needs of each student.
But why is formative assessment so important?
A personalized education is the key to student learning. With class sizes increasing rapidly, the ability to adjust and adapt to the learning curves of each and every student becomes more and more difficult. The proper integration of technology-based programs into a teacher’s formative assessment arsenal allows teachers access to the constant stream of data they need in order to bridge the learning gaps of all of their students.