Formative Assessment: How can it be more effective in my classroom? (Week 1)

This is a six part series on formative assessment and the attributes that make it effective in the classroom. The first week will focus on defining and determining the goals of formative assessment and each week following will focus on the five attributes of effective formative assessment.

Formative assessment should be used by teachers and students during instruction and provide specific feedback to “fine-tune” ongoing teaching and learning to improve student achievement.

Teachers who engage in formative assessments give frequent, explicit feedback to students and assist them in answering the following questions:

  • Where am I going?
  • Where am I now?
  • How can I close the gap between where I am now and where I am going?

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has developed a focus for formative assessment with two major goals:

  • Provide evidence that can be used by teachers and students to inform instruction and learning during the teaching/learning process
  • Collect evidence about how student learning is progressing during instruction so that necessary instructional strategies can be made to close the gap between students’ current understanding and the desired goals

In addition, CCSSO developed “Five Attributes of Effective Formative Assessment”:

  1. Learning Progressions
  2. Learning Goals and Criteria for Success
  3. Descriptive Feedback
  4. Self and Peer Assessment
  5. Collaboration