Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Focusing on Formative Assessment 10 Important Features

Example of student work that could be used as formative assessment.

NCTE's (2013) Position Statement on Formative Assessment is an excellent resource teachers and administrators might reference when making decisions about formative assessments.

From page 3 in the NCTE document:

"Over 30 years of research suggest formative assessment is a vital curricular component, proven to be highly effective in increasing student learning (Black & Wiliam 1998). Cizek distilled this research, identifying 10 elements across the studies that researchers have noted as important features (Cizek 8).

Formative assessment:

  1. Requires students to take responsibility for their own learning. 
  2. Communicates clear, specific learning goals. 
  3. Focuses on goals that represent valuable educational outcomes with applicability beyond the learning context. 
  4. Identifies the student’s current knowledge/skills and the necessary steps for reaching the desired goals. 
  5. Requires development of plans for attaining the desired goals. 
  6. Encourages students to self-monitor progress toward the learning goals. 
  7. Provides examples of learning goals including, when relevant, the specific grading criteria or rubrics that will be used to evaluate the student’s work. 
  8. Provides frequent assessment, including peer and student self-assessment and assessment embedded within learning activities. 
  9. Includes feedback that is non-evaluative, specific, timely, and related to the learning goals, and that provides opportunities for the student to revise and improve work products and deepen understandings. 
  10. Promotes metacognition and reflection by students on their work. 

Heritage further categorizes formative assessments into three types that all contribute to the learning cycle:

  • “on-the-fly” (those that happen during a lesson), 
  • “planned-for-interaction” (those decided before instruction), and 
  • “curriculum-embedded” (embedded in the curriculum and used to gather data at significant points during the learning  process). 


Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. London: Granada Learning

Cizek, G. J. (2010). An introduction to formative assessment: History, characteristics, and challenges. In H. Andrade & G. Cizek (Eds.), Handbook of formative assessment (pp. 3–17).New York: Routledge.

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