During my student teaching practicum my cooperating instructor would not allow me to use formative assessments. His reasoning was that since they weren’t for grades the material covered by them didn’t need to be learned. I argued that practicing is good for students and his counter argument was that students would just not do because they new it wasn’t for a grade so it would be a waste of time. I did use class discussions quite a bit. In groups, pairs, whole, and IRE…I felt these ended up being effective ways of determining where students were in understanding the readings.
During the one time I had a longer term sub assignment I learned that at least for subs, most students would not attempt anything that wasn’t for a grade. I’d want them to do assignments for practice. They’d say “if it isn’t for a grade I’m not doing it” and nothing would be accomplished. I tried to counter this by giving multiple summative assessments on the same material in hope that the repetition of doing the same work on graded assessments would guide the students to the place where I wanted them to be.
As a day-to-day sub the most I am able to do is ask questions and help students overcome whatever problems they have.