#Formative assessments.... What are they and how do we come to understand their importance. Without making this complicated and a philosophical discussion, #assessments are to measure ones' ability to understand and absolve oneself from the task at hand.
Now this can be at the time of the lesson or shortly after allowing the person time to fully comprehend the process in which it can be solved. However, by no means can the assessment be coerced upon the person. Especially if the persons' cognitive ability is low, e.g., involving children or students with mild disabilities, one must take caution and apply additional instruction, i.e., English Language as Secondary learners.
As for knowing about assessment, it is one's own experience, strength and hope that is measured through action alone through others. What i mean is, it is others that can see and experience if the person has mastered the ability and understanding of assessments. Such as when a martial arts students earns his/her belts while moving up in rank. Teachers are not rewarded with such pleasure but their colleagues can experience it through the reaction of ones students in the classroom setting. This is when one can truly understand assessment and know its power behind being a teacher.
Since teaching abroad for four year I have never experience teaching using learning stations. Yet I have a multitude of activities for my students they always were to difficult to get approved by the school development committee. And since I teach English in rotation stations it would represent or implement styles of learning in each of these designated stations even better. Such as, one station would be comprised of a reading station while the others would have sight words, sequencing, discussion, etc.. These would be divided into three types of strategies, or formats that require planning or gathering of materials. Then next would be low-prep strategies, that only take a few minutes to gather or do and the ongoing strategies would be made up of activities on the fly.
I love the ideas of informational poster boards, philosophical chairs, Socratic Summit, mapping, pinwheel discussion, and fish bowl or concentric circles for low intermediate class work can be all found on the web. These activities are extremely useful in performing formative assessments. I have even written several books such as Role Call ESL FUN (free book) and 30 Tools for Enhancing Lessons. Enjoy!