One of the most powerful influences on student learning is quality formative assessment. This means students are provided with timely, specific feedback and feed forward while learning takes place, supporting the students learning, helping teachers identify learning gaps and informing the next steps for both students and teachers.
Formative assessment must be thoughtfully planned and effectively woven into task design, activities and day-to-day teaching. Everyone has a role to play – teachers, students, peers and adults outside the classroom all participate in the assessment process. Teachers need to use the day-to-day assessment embedded in their instruction to ensure that their instruction is directed at closing the gap between the outcome that is to be achieved by the student and the student’s present understanding.
It is sometimes difficult for teachers to understand how formative assessment strategies might look in their own practice. We have captured the five formative assessment strategies within classroom settings with teachers who have opened their practice to us. We thank those teachers and students who provided us with a glimpse into the ways that formative assessment is lived out in action.
See Chapter 3 of the Focus on Inquiry resource for more on this.
To determine whether effective formative assessment practices are embedded into the learning process, Galileo researchers worked with teachers during professional learning sessions and observed and analyzed class activity. They assigned ratings to determine the degree to which Wiliam’s (2011) five key strategies of formative assessment were used. The five strategies, and the questions, posed by participating teachers so they could reflect and assess their own work, are summarized below. See the full analysis and rubric on Pg.44 of the Focus on Inquiry report. Also see Chapter 3 of Focus on Inquiry: Assessment Within Discipline-based Inquiry.