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5 Keys to Comprehensive Assessment: #2 Formative Assessment

Hello Colleagues, Each week, we are focusing on one of the five keys to comprehensive assessment presented by Stanford University Professor Linda Darling-Hammond. The jumping off place for the discussion is a short video featuring Stanford University Professor Linda Darling-Hammond. The first key is meaningful goals and measures. We know students learn more effectively when learning goals are clear. The second key is formative assessment. Regarding formative assessment, Darling-Hammond says, "Assessment should be done early and often and throughout the process." 

When implementing formative assessment, teachers are paying attention to individual students all along the way to determine how well students are understanding the concepts being taught and/or how well they can demonstrate the skills they are learning. This involves, as the teacher in the video puts it, "small check-ins" to see what students know and don't yet know. The information we gather as we assess guides our next steps in teaching, i.e., who needs extra support, does the concept need to be explained differently, are we ready to move on, etc.

Darling-Hammond notes that the research is clear that providing feedback to students and then allowing them to immediately apply that feedback, for instance, in rewriting a paper or redoing a math problem leads to learning gains.

How is formative assessment working for you? What are some concrete examples? What kind of feedback to students has led to student growth in your experience?

Cheers, Susan

Moderator, Assessment CoP