Teacher and Leader Thoughts on Classroom Formative Assessment Practices

If you haven’t yet had a chance to watch our recorded webinar – Creating a Classroom Culture of Learning: Key Formative Assessment Practices – take a look. More than 1000 educators have already seen it live or on-demand.

During this webinar, our speaker (and prolific blogger) Kathy Dyer discusses compelling reasons for districts to focus on formative assessment instructional practices, and shares a model for thinking about this work through the frame of four foundational practices: clarifying learning, eliciting evidence, providing feedback and activating learners.

The goal of this post is to share a bit about educator and leader attitudes toward formative assessment practices. Review the responses below to see if they resonate with what you’re focusing on in your own work. Is your experience similar or different? Read on to find out! All data is based on polls from our live webinar audience of 596 educators and leaders around the world, in the following roles:

NWEA Pie Chart 1













Here’s how these educators and leaders responded to four key questions:

Which of the following elements of a classroom culture is a focus in your classrooms? (Multiple responses allowed)

Engagement was the clear winner. In the chat during the webinar, many participants shared that this is an area they are actively working to improve, both in terms of student and teacher engagement.

NWEA Bar Graph 1













(y axis: percentage of respondents who chose this answer; answers may not add up to 100% because multiple responses were allowed for this question)

After watching this webinar, which ONE of the four formative assessment practices do you want to start using or modify now? (Only one answer allowed)

After learning more about the four key formative assessment practices – clarifying learning, eliciting evidence, providing feedback and activating learners – participants overwhelmingly gravitated toward wanting to learn more about and practice techniques focused on activating students as owners of their own learning as well as resources for one another. Considering that engagement was the most popular focus point for the group, this makes perfect sense.

NWEA Pie Chart 2













What structures currently exist at your school or district to support teachers in embedding formative assessment instructional practices into their daily work? (Single response allowed)

PLCs were the most common type of professional community of practice selected, with grade level teams coming in second.

NWEA Pie Chart 3













Which of these is an explicit piece of support provided by leaders to classroom teachers in your school/district? (Multiple responses allowed)

When webinar participants considered the ways in which leaders currently support teachers in implementing formative assessment practices and embedding them into instruction over time, it was interesting to see that supportive accountability was the dominant tactic, but choice (for teachers to start with and use formative practices in ways that best suit their students, subject and grade level) seemed lacking.

NWEA Bar Graph 5













(y axis: percentage of respondents who chose this answer; answers may not add up to 100% because multiple responses were allowed for this question)

Do those responses resonate with what you’re seeing at your school or district? Are you experiencing something different? We’ll continue to share insights from the webinar in future posts, as well as put together additional material focused on student and teacher engagement (since those areas were so popular during the event). In the meantime, we’d LOVE to learn about your own formative assessment insights and a-ha moments on Twitter! Tag @NWEA and use our hashtag #NWEAformative.


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