Making Progress Over Time
The New York Formative Assessment Project relied on external evaluation data from the Syracuse Title II B program evaluation, which funded teacher professional development in both formative assessment and mathematics instruction. Syracuse Title IIB Math/Science Partnership evaluation data from Year 2 (most recent data available) indicates that teachers participated in 2,452 hours of direct professional development in formative assessment, and, that formative assessment was integrated into additional trainings in mathematics pedagogy. 53% of participating teachers were also active in a mathematics professional learning community, and scheduled activities in these teams included support of classroom formative assessment practices.
Teachers with more than 60 hours of mathematics professional development reported increased confidence and preparedness in mathematics pedagogy, in particular the use of multiple assessment strategies, formative assessment, and the ability to help students who are struggling with math concepts. Classroom observations of these teachers also showed that they have incorporated more formative assessment techniques into their instruction, such as use of white boards, think/pair/share strategies, higher-level questioning, and quick review techniques such as exit tickets, red/green lights, or thumbs up/thumbs down. Year 2 project evaluation reports that “teachers participating in professional development are now more comfortable using assessment embedded within classroom instruction with a majority using some type of formative assessment every day.”
Members of the New York State Education Department Formative Assessment work group were kept up-to-date on site based work at the pilot site, and were invited to attend district planning and review sessions. At various points in the project NYSED staff worked with Syracuse leaders, math coaches and teachers to explore lessons learned and review strategies for state-level support of formative assessment. These meetings focused on a variety of potential entry points for a state’s support of classroom formative assessment. The NYCC team developed “School and District Readiness factors for formative assessment,” which outlines nine aspects of district readiness to adopt formative assessment in three domains: use of educational data, principles of standards based education, and leadership practices.