The term, "formative assessment," comes from the conceptual thought that assessment is for practicing learning. In those practice opportunities, students are able to try and take risks with their thinking and understanding. Instructors provide safe opportunities for students to discover meaning, critically analyze concepts and theories, and work collaboratively to build confidences in application. Formative assessment is an active and intentional learning process that partners the teacher and the students to continuously and systematically gather evidence of learning, with the express goal of improving student achievement. (Moss & Brookhart, 2009).
Why do we use Formative Assessment?"Formative assessment is a process used by teachers and students during instruction that provides feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning to improve students' achievement of intended instructional outcomes. Formative assessment is a planned process in which assessment-elicited evidence of students' status is used by teachers to adjust their ongoing instructional procedures or by students to adjust their current learning tactics. James Popham, Transformative Assessment
How can Formative Assessment benefit students? Margaret Heritage advises that structured learning environments to support students' emotional safety are critical to fostering formative assessment opportunities. To learn more, watch her interview here.Margaret Heritage presentation to Michigan Educators
Classroom assessment serves a variety of purposes.Formative assessment (assessment for learning) happens when learning is taking place to determine how and to what degree students are learning. During formative assessment, there are many opportunities for feedback with students to help guide them to deepen their understanding. Formative feedback happens during that learning cycle, offering students to be reflective of meeting learning outcomes and success criteria.
Students can benefit from formative assessment when the instructor:
Communicates the learning outcomes
Activates prior knowledge
Highlights success criteria
Provides ongoing feedback for continuous improvement