Dylan Wiliam & The 5 Formative Assessment Strategies to Improve Student Learning

The 5 Formative Assessment Strategies to Improve Student Learning

Dylan Wiliam’s new book, Embedded Formative Assessment, is filled with a number of insights culled from his 35 years of experience in education. The foundation of the book highlights the importance of formative assessment as a tool to improve teacher practice and ultimately improve student learning.

In the book, he provides the 5 strategies that he has come to believe are core to successful formative assessment practice in the classroom:

1. Clarifying, sharing, and understanding learning intentions and criteria for success – getting the students to really understand what their classroom experience will be and how their success will be measured.

2. Engineering effective classroom discussions, activities, and learning tasks that elicit evidence of learning – developing effective classroom instructional strategies that allow for the measurement of success.

3. Providing feedback that moves learning forward – working with students to provide them the information they need to better understand problems and solutions.

4. Activating learners as instructional resources for one another – getting students involved with each other in discussions and working groups can help improve student learning.

5. Activating learners as owners of their own learning – We wrote a recent blog on this topic: self-regulation of learning leads to student performance improvement.

These 5 strategies are also part of our Keeping Learning on Track (KLT) professional development solution that puts these strategies into action with a formal process for teacher professional development. But before formative assessment strategies can be effectively implemented, there needs to be an understanding as to what formative assessment is, and perhaps even more importantly, what it is not by school leaders and teachers.

Dylan recently gave a webinar that emphasized his understanding of formative assessment, and gave some practical techniques for implementing some of his strategies. You can access the webinar at no cost here. We’d also love to read your thoughts or experiences implementing formative assessment strategies, so drop a comment below.

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6 Responses to Dylan Wiliam & The 5 Formative Assessment Strategies to Improve Student Learning

  1. Liz Biglin says:

    Dylan your formative assessments should be put in all teachers grade books. Knowing how success is measured is important.
    I would just add to #3 that assessment should also be positive as a means to motivate students by encouraging success rather than failure. It should be as immediate as possible. Notes on how to improve work need to be given so that students in future work can respond to the corrections.

  2. Kelly Goodrich Kelly Goodrich says:

    Liz, I’d like to hear more about how you think formative assessments should be put into teacher’s grade books. How would that work? Would it be grades or something like a plus or minus?

  3. At Port Angeles High School we are using building collaborative time to do a book study of *Embedded Formative Assessment*. This morning, teachers met in curricular teams to select strategies from the book to try in their classrooms. Then they will collect resulting evidence of student learning and meet again in their teams to examine and discuss the evidence.
    An additional resource folks should check out related to Wiliam’s book is a BBC program available on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J25d9aC1GZA –The Classroom Experiment (Episodes 1 & 2).

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