Formative assessment: What it is, why you should use it, and how to make it happen

As the number of blog posts we’ve written on formative assessment continues to grow, I thought it would be a good idea to create a post that could serve as a general resource, sort of a go-to blog on everything formative assessment.

Understanding formative assessment

If you’re not familiar with formative assessment, the first thing you should do is understand what it is and, perhaps even more importantly, what it is not. Formative assessment is defined as planned classroom practice to elicit evidence of learning minute-to-minute, day-by-day in the classroom along with non-summative assessments that occur while content is still being taught. Both of these can inform teachers of what students know or do not know, and they can help students understand what it is they are ready to learn next, so teachers can adjust their instruction accordingly for each of their students.

Here are a few blog posts that break down formative assessment further:

Using formative assessment strategies

Once you have a good understanding of what formative assessment is, you can begin to break it down in succinct strategies that can help as you determine the best way to implement it in a classroom setting. Here are some blog posts that get into more strategic detail of formative assessment:

With Common Core being used across the country, formative assessment dovetails nicely with the need for deeper learning and higher-order thinking. Here are some ways that formative assessment can play a strong role in successful implementation of Common Core:

In closing

Formative assessment is a proven strategy for engaging students, eliciting evidence of student learning, and moving students forward to meet their learning targets and personal goals. Hopefully these blog posts will help you implement these minute-to-minute techniques in your school or classroom.


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