Formative assessment has received international attention as an instructional approach that has great potential to improve teaching and learning. The concept has roots in educational evaluation practices and has evolved over time, from a focus on formative evaluation to formative assessment or assessment for learning. Although one singular definition has not emerged among researchers, scholars, and practitioners, shared themes across the sources suggest the emergence of common elements of formative assessment: Formative assessment is a cyclical process that involves interactions among teachers and students. Those interactions include prompting thinking and eliciting information. The information is then gathered and analyzed by both the teacher and the students. Finally, teachers and students provide feedback, and the student makes use of the feedback to either confirm or improve their understandings and/or skills. Research into these common elements will continue to inform our evolving understanding of the formative assessment process. This article first addresses the evolution of formative assessment and the theories that have informed the conceptualization of and research into the formative assessment process. The work of the Assessment Reform Group in the 1990s catapulted formative assessment into the spotlight for teacher education programs, teacher professional development, and educational research primarily due to claims of the impact on student achievement. This article provides often cited, seminal research studies claiming to provide evidence of a link between formative assessment and student achievement. Being central to the formative assessment process, works addressing the role of feedback are explored. The next two sections focus on works that have emerged to support implementation of the formative assessment process in the classroom and works to support the development of balanced assessment systems that include formative assessment at both the classroom and the school system levels. Over time, professional organizations have developed and revised standards to address both uses of assessments, to include formative assessments, in the classroom as well as standards for the development of educator knowledge, skills, and dispositions. The standards provided in this article represent the most referenced standards in the assessment and evaluation field. Finally, national reports from the United States and international reports noted in the final section provide insight into evolving policies and practices and signal the emergence over time of agreement on common elements of the formative assessment process.

Full Text

Published Version
Open DOI Link

Get access to 115M+ research papers

Discover from 40M+ Open access, 2M+ Pre-prints, 9.5M Topics and 32K+ Journals.

Sign Up Now! It's FREE

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call