Using Formative Assessment in the Classroom
Chappuis, S. (2004). Leading assessment for learning: Using classroom assessment in school improvement. Texas Association of School Administrators Professional Journal – INSIGHT, 18(3), 18-22.
The importance of school leadership to student learning is well accepted, but defining what actually constitutes a good leadership remains difficult. This practitioner-focused article offers practical principles for leadership related specifically to assessment FOR learning. Included is a ten-point framework of leadership knowledge and skill to promote assessment FOR learning, consisting of points such as “the leaders understand the necessity of clear academic achievement targets, aligned classroom-level achievement targets, and their relationship to the development of accurate assessments.” The article also covers examples of what teachers do when teachers use assessment as instruction and promote student involvement. The article advocates for the importance of monitoring and supervision and lists seven things principals will need to assay of teachers in their supervision of teachers. In our Project school principals, in particular, found this article useful.
Council of Chief State School Officers. (2008). Formative assessment: Examples of practice. Washington, DC.
The purpose of this document is to provide examples of CCSSO’s definition of formative assessment in practice, framed by five attributes of effective formative assessment. There are brief examples and counter-examples of formative assessment, and there are extended examples of formative assessment practices illustrating the interconnectedness of the attributes. These examples represent formative assessment practice across a range of grade levels and content areas. Each provides a description of the classroom activities, followed by a brief analysis that relates the actions of the teacher and students to one or more of the five attributes of effective formative assessment.
Heritage, M. (2007). Formative assessment: What do teachers need to know and do?Phi Delta Kappan, 89(2).
Teachers need to command an understanding of four core elements of formative assessment 1) identifying the “gap,” 2) feedback, 3) student involvement, and 4) learning progressions. Heritage describes the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that teachers need to implement and integrate these elements. In our Project these four elements became an essential heuristic for math coaches’ learning about formative assessment practices.
Wiliam, D. (1999). Formative assessment in mathematics, part 1: Rich questioning.Equals: Mathematics and Special Educational Needs 5(2) 15-18.
From the New England Comprehensive Center: ”This short article discusses rich questioning in the mathematics classroom, an important formative assessment strategy. The author reviews several examples of rich questions to check students’ deeper understandings of mathematical ideas and identify their misconceptions. He also discusses how to use these questions and extended teacher-student dialogues and emphasizes the importance of wait time.”
Wiliam, D. (2007) “Content then process: Teacher learning communities in the service of formative assessment” in Reeves, D. ed., Ahead of the curve. The power of assessment to transform teaching and learning. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.
This chapter reasons that improving formative assessment practices is likely to be a more effective and efficient investment than other reforms, such as decreasing class size, changing school structure, or raising teachers content knowledge. Wiliam further reasons that professional development is the only way to improve formative assessment practices and that “building-based teacher learning communities,” are the best professional development vehicle to do so. The second part of the chapter introduces a definition of five key strategies for formative assessment that Wiliam and his colleagues have developed. Wiliam gives examples of each strategy.
Wylie, C., & Lyon, C. (2009). What schools and districts need to know to support teachers’ use of formative assessment. Teachers College Record.
The authors have helped teachers employ formative assessment practices in various districts. This article describes their perspectives on this work. They contend that in addition to working directly with teachers, attention must be given to school and district administrators if formative assessment practices are to take root and grow. At the teacher level, the learning and unlearning for teachers demanded by formative assessment necessitates attention to research on effective professional development. The authors explore research by Linda Darling-Hammond. They also affirm that professional learning communities are one important vehicle to providing the right professional development. However, because “ongoing professional development also puts new demands on the school system” to protect and grow the investments in teachers, school and district administrators need knowledge of both formative assessment and professional development. The authors list elements domain-knowledge for both types.