Refining a Formative Assessment Design

A few weeks ago, I began drafting a formative assessment for assessing computational thinking in KG3 and G1. As I learn more, I have made some updates, which are highlighted below; however, my goal remains the same: to develop an assessment that could be used for assessing computational thinking through BeeBots.

Figure 1: Wuxi Nanwai King’s College School Curriculum Framework (2019) for KG3 Science: Design and Technology

The purpose of this assessment is to identify if a child has mastered basic computational thinking skills for the grade level. This assessment will serve as a benchmark and moment for comparison across the year. The KG3 curriculum is adapted from the UK Key Stage 1 curriculum and is expected to be mastered by the end of Grade 1, so having an assessment before the end of KG3 would help Grade 1 teachers know what background knowledge to expect.

The assessment I created is titled I Can Do Computer Science. It is meant to foster a conversation between teacher and student to identify if the student is proficient in the skill, functioning as a guided self-assessment. As a result of the conversation, the child should mark the box with an I for Independent; H for With Help, or NY for Not Yet. 

I made some additional changes to reduce the number of activities to something more manageable and made some additional notes to ensure it is the student’s self-assessment that is driving the conversation. Van den Burghe, Ros, and Beijaard (2013) emphasize Hattie and Timperley (2007) to “state that the purpose of feedback is to reduce the discrepancies between the students’ current understanding or performance and the understanding or performance that is aimed at” (p. 345). I want this conversation to help students identify successes and necessary improvements to their performance.

Figure 2

This checklist is accompanied by instructions for setting up the environment to help provide consistency across classrooms and grade levels. This iteration includes item numbers to better connect to the instructions on the next page.

Figure 3

Some new additions include the addition of debugging to the language of item 3 and the consolidation of items 5, 6, and 7. This assessment is already on the longer side and consolidating these activities would give the same information, but reduce the setup time for the teacher. I have added the goal to the top and articulated the desired outcome from this assessment at the bottom. 

This assessment encourages students to demonstrate their knowledge by applying it to new activities. These tasks would be similar to class activities, but using different sequences and mats. In Kindergarten, social constructivist mindsets are pervasive and we want to see children learning through interactions with their peers and with their teachers. This assessment is designed to require children to work together, but also as a framework for activities that a teacher can use to foster a conversation about computational thinking skills. As Shepard (2000) shared in her AERA presidential address, the emergent paradigm for assessment needs to involve active engagement in an authentic experience and builds upon what the child already knows. By creating new situations for children to demonstrate their knowledge, we give them opportunities to correct misunderstandings, transfer skills to new tasks, and accomplish meaningful tasks that will hopefully inspire learning to continue. Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick (2006) have also identified that self-assessment integrated with teacher feedback was more effective at fixing errors and inspiring growth. Through this activity, I would like students to recognize the areas where they have a solid understanding of the concept and identify an area where they have not yet mastered the goal. Together with the dialogue from the teacher and subsequent small group sessions, students will make progress towards mastering the computational thinking objectives.


Nicol, D., & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199–218.

Shepard, L. A. (2000). “The role of assessment in a learning culture. Educational Researcher, 29(7), 4-14. Retrieved from

Van den Berghe, L., Ros, A., & Beijaard, D. (2013). Teacher feedback during active learning: Current practices in primary schools. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 341-362. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8279.2012.02073.x

Wuxi Nanwai King’s College School. (2019). Kindergarten Curriculum Framework Implementation Version.

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