NORAM - Ebook

Formative Assessment - A Research Summary

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In contrast to summative assessment, which focuses on grades, formative assessment is generally understood to focus on student learning, providing teachers with data to continually tailor instruction to student needs. According to Black & Wiliam (1998), "Assessment becomes formative when the evidence is used to adapt the teaching to meet student needs." Stiggins (2005) defines the dierence as follows: "Summa- tive assessment has referred to tests administered after learning is supposed to have occurred to determine whether it did. Meanwhile, formative assessment is conduct- ed during learning to promote, not merely judge or grade, student success." Similarly, Formative Assessment for Teachers and Students (FAST), a program of the Council of Chief State School Ocers (CCSSO), has defined formative assessment as "a process used by teachers and students that provides feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning to improve students' achievement of intended instructional outcomes" (cited in Popham, 2008). Definitions generally include the concepts of culturally responsive teaching and feedback within a learning context, or "information with which a learner can confirm, add to, overwrite, tune, or restructure information in memory, whether that information is domain knowledge, meta-cogni- tive knowledge, beliefs about self and tasks, or cognitive tactics and strategies" (Hattie & Temperley, 2007). However, some researchers have avoided a standardized definition of formative assessment because the variety of implementation has complicated eective practice (Clark, 2011). Research indicates that formative assessment helps teachers understand what students know and do not know, allowing them to guide student learning with personalized learning pathways. "Assessment becomes formative when the evidence is used to adapt the teaching to meet the student needs." -Black & William (1998) Definition 2

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