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Formative Assessment


What is Formative Assessment?

There are four purposes to formative assessment:

  • to provide feedback for teachers to modify subsequent learning activities and experiences
  • to identify and remediate group or individual deficiencies
  • to move focus away from achieving grades and onto learning processes, in order to increase self efficacy and reduce the negative impact of extrinsic motivation
  • to improve students' metacognitive awareness of how they learn.


Why Formative Assessment?

Many reviews have indicated significant learning gains where formative assessment is used. Marzano states:

"Recall the finding from Black and Wiliam’s (1998) synthesis of more than 250 studies that formative assessments, as opposed to summative ones, produce the more powerful effect on student learning. In his review of the research, Terrance Crooks (1988) reports that effects sizes for summative assessments are consistently lower than effect sizes for formative assessments. In short, it is formative assessment that has a strong research base supporting its impact on learning." (Marzano, 2006, p. 9)

Researchers have concluded that standards-based assessments are an effective way to “prescribe instruction and to ensure that no child is left behind” (Marzano, 2006 p. 13)


What are the benefits of Formative Assessment?

  • Students are more motivated to learn.
  • Students take responsibility for their own learning.
  • Students can become users of assessment alongside the teacher.
  • Students learn valuable lifelong skills such as self-evaluation, self-assessment, and goal setting.

 What does Formative Assessment look like at Sherwood School?