Why Use Formative Assessment in Learning

Check Out the New Blog The usage of formative assessments in class as a way to guide instruction and to authentically determine student mastery offers many advantages, far beyond higher test scores. According to Chappius & Chappius (2007), although all formative assessment practices have the potential to increase student learning, assessment for learning in the classroom offers a number of distinct benefits:

  • Timeliness of results enables teachers to adjust instruction quickly, while learning is in progress.
  • Students who are assessed are the ones who benefit from the adjustments.
  • Students can use th results to adjust and improve their own learning

In very simple terms, formative assessments, unlike summative assessments, allow the student and educator to form a more detailed understanding of the student’s abilities, which can be used to inform remediation, re-teaching, and instructional strategy.

Notice that students are part of the formative assessment process. With formative assessment, we work with students, we don’t do something to students. We seek to use the data from formative assessments to help the student master the curriculum and help the student identify his/her strengths and weaknesses.

This is a shift in the classic educational paradigm. Formative assessment allows students to concentrate their efforts on specific areas and hence improve overall performance.

Bloom, B. (1984). The search for methods of group instruction as effective as one-to-one tutoring. Educational Leadership, 41(8), 4-17.
Chappius, S. & Chappius, J. (2007). The Best Value in Formative Assessment. Educational Leadership, 65 (4), 14-19.

From Professional Learning Board’s online continuing education course for teachers: Formative Assessment

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