Definition: Provides feedback to both teacher instruction and student learning on a specific content before that content is summarily evaluated. Feedback is used to adjust teaching and guide student learning.
Why it matters: Teachers know if their instruction is effective or if they need to adjust instruction prior to summative assessment. Feedback identifies individual students that are in need of additional support/attention. For students, can help them focus on areas of need and guide learning prior to summative assessment. It can foster a cooperative, instead of competitive, learning environment.
Example of use: Informal forms of a formative assessment include asking questions that are not too specific or too broad during instruction. Questions should be connected to specific content of the lesson in a way that builds toward larger goals. Student answers should be explored, not evaluated as wrong or right, and feedback should be in the form of probing or guiding questions. Bad Question: “What year did WWII end?” Better: “How did economics help end WWII?” More formal forms of a formative assessment provide data that can be used in decision-making processes. Examples of data generating formative assessment are ticket out the door, using technology such as Socrative or BlackBoard, and Curriculum Based Measurement (CBM).
Brookhart, S., Moss, C., & Long, B. (2008). Formative Assessment That Empowers. Educational Leadership, 66(3), 52-57.
Dorn, S. (2010). The political dilemmas of formative assessment. Exceptional Children, 76(3), 325-337.
Duckor, B. (2014). Formative Assessment in Seven Good Moves. Educational Leadership, 71(6), 28-32.