Introduction

Providing a framework for improving student performance – instead of simply ‘labeling’ learning at periodic intervals – has the greatest capacity to impact student achievement.”
Robert Marzano

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WHAT IS FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT?

Derived from multiple definitions, it generally includes the idea of a systematic on-going process used by teachers and students to:

  • Gather evidence of learning (through multiple strategies)
  • Utilize data to improve teaching and learning
  • Provide meaningful feed-up, feed-back, and feed-forward
  • Engage students in learning and monitoring

ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS

In general, most sources of information on formative assessment include these components:

  • Targets, goals, and expected outcomes are clear and comprehensible
  • Criteria are clear for reaching targets and achieving goals
  • Exemplars and strategies for success are identified
  • Teaching, learning, and assessing are intertwined
  • Built on students current knowledge and skills and identification of next steps
  • Evidence is elicited throughout learning
  • Students are actively involved and informed of progress
  • Requires students to take responsibility for learning
  • Feedback, reflection, self, and peer-assessment are key elements
  • Opportunities for improvement are available
  • A learning culture that supports exploration and growth

As a result it forms, informs, and guides curricular and instructional decisions with an orientation towards progress and success.

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CYCLE OF FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT

  • Standards/Objectives/Goals
    • Pre-assessment
      • Guides Teaching and Learning
        • Assessment During Learning
          • Informs Teaching and Learning
            • Assessment at the End (Summative)
              • Provide Support
                • Redefine Goals and Reset Targets

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“The achievement gains associated with formative assessment have been described as ‘among the largest ever reported for educational interventions'”. OECD

COMPELLING EVIDENCE

  • Ruth Butler (1986) Students given only comments scored on average 30% higher.
  • Sadler (1989) “It is insufficient to simply point out right and wrong answers to students.” “FA can short-circuit the randomness and inefficiency of trial and error learning.”
  • Kluger & DeNisi (1996) “Positive learning outcomes were more likely when feedback focused on the features of the task.”
  • Black and Wiliam (1998) Formative assessment shows an effect size of between .4 and .7 the equivalent of going from the 50th percentile to the 65th.
  • Stiggins (2001) “Very few teachers have been given the opportunity to learn about principles of sound assessment practice.”
  • Ainsworth and Viegut (2006) “ Formative assessment can: determine what standards students already know and to what degree; decide what changes in instruction to make; and inform students about their progress.”
  • National Mathematics Advisory Panel (2008) “FA leads to increased precision in how instructional time is used.”
  • John Hattie (2009) Feedback, as a FA, has an effect size of 1.13. The equivalent of one standard deviation.
  • Marzano (2010) “It is a contradiction to use ‘off the shelf’ formative assessment.”

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A SPECTRUM OF FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT

ON THE SPOT
When students understanding is uncertain
PRE-PLANNED CLASSROOM
Embedded in lesson: For example- routine pre-assessments
COMMON FORMATIVE
Collaboratively developed and assessed by teachers in similar content/grade level

WHEN TO USE IT: With a few suggested strategies

BEFORE LEARNING
Targets/Exemplars
KWL
Post-its
Graffiti Wall
Corners
DURING LEARNING
Grab Bag
Signaling
Graphic Organizer
Bump in the Road
AFTER LEARNING
3-2-1
Exit Slip
Nutshell
Students Generated Questions

RESPONDING TO FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT

EVIDENCE: Prior scores, Standardized scores, Pre-assessment data, Formative actions

TRIGGER: How many students? At what level of mastery?

TARGET: Individual, Group, Whole Class

ADJUSTMENTS to Teaching and Learning:

  • Content
  • Level/Intensity of Instruction
  • Acquisition vs. application strategies
  • Pacing
  • Difficulty
  • Scaffolding and support
  • Differentiate
  • Regroup
  • Individual/small group interventions
  • Guided practice
  • Selected technology

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