Formative Assessment as a Part of Assessment Systems
National Research Council. 2001. Knowing what students know: The science and design of educational assessment. Committee on the Foundations of Assessment. Pelligrino, J., Chudowsky, N., and Glaser, R., editors. Board on Testing and Assessment, Center for Education. Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
An authoritative text on educational assessment grounded in research in cognitive and measurement sciences, this book offers guidance for policy, research and practice that spans classroom and large scale contexts. Most valuable to us and our clients in the Project was the fourteen page executive summary. Its recommendations include recognizing supporting “the development of new systems of multiple assessments that would improve their ability to make decisions about education programs and the allocation of resources” and shifting “the balance of mandates and resources” “from an emphasis on external forms of assessment to an increased emphasis on classroom formative assessment designed to assist learning.” Also among the coverage is the fact that “every assessment, regardless of its purpose, rests of three pillars: cognition, observation, and interpretation.”
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2005). Formative assessment: Improving learning in secondary classrooms. Paris.
Several countries promote formative assessment as a fundamental approach to education reform. The OECD has studied the use of formative assessment in eight educational systems: Australia (Queensland), Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, Italy, New Zealand and Scotland. The study has also brought together reviews covering English, French and German language research literature. This policy brief looks at the results of that study, including policy principles to address barriers to formative assessment and encourage its wider use.
Stiggins, R. (2006, May 30). Balanced assessment systems: Redefining excellence in assessment. Educational Testing Service.
The crux of Stiggins’ argument is that if schools are to become places where all students succeed, rather than sorting mechanisms, educators may attend to the impact assessment has on student motivation. A valid and reliable assessment that yields an accurate result but also causes a student “to give up in hopelessness cannot be regarded as a quality assessment” (p. 2). Stiggins contends that effective assessments must “go beyond merely providing judgments about student performance to providing riche descriptions of student performance” (p.2). Moreover, assessment must be ongoing, not a punctuated, isolated event. Finally, students may be the most important users of data in the educational system. Because student ultimately must decide whether learning is worth the effort and risk of public failure, the “can render their teachers’ instructional decision null and void” (p. 8). Therefore, assessment must meaningfully involve students as decision makers in their own learning.
Stiggins, R. (2004). New assessment beliefs for a new school mission. Phi Delta Kappan, 86(1), 22-27.
This article discusses four commonly held mistaken beliefs about the use of assessment as a school improvement tool and offers “remedies” that can result in more productive beliefs and practices. The beliefs the author proposes are: Supportive classroom assessment environments should accompany high stakes testing. “Students are crucial instructional decision makers whose information needs must be met. The instructional decisions that have the greatest impact are made day to day in the classroom. Teachers must possess and be ready to apply knowledge of sound classroom assessment practice.” The discussion serves as a foundation for the productive implementation of formative assessment practices in schools and classrooms.