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Formative Assessment in Elementary Schools


Nancy Frey & Douglas Fisher

Although many educators are familiar with the term formative assessment, they often misunderstand what it means. Formative assessment does not refer to a particular type of test or method of evaluating students. What distinguishes formative assessment from other types of assessment is the way in which the data (the information obtained through assessment) is used. In formative assessment, teachers use student data to make decisions about what should be taught next, and the way in which it should be taught.

The six-page (tri-fold), laminated guide, Formative Assessment in Elementary Schools, is an excellent classroom reference tool for elementary school teachers. It provides a concise description of formative assessment and outlines a critical, continuous cycle of questions, consisting of the following:

Feed Up Planning Questions

Checking for Understanding Planning Questions
Quality Feedback Planning Questions
Feed Forward Planning Questions
In addition to relying upon questions to check for student understanding, the guide identifies other ways teachers should allow students to demonstrate learning, including

Through oral language
Through writing
Through projects and performance
Through quizzes and tests
Through commercially prepared benchmark assessments
The guide also explains how teachers can gauge an appropriate level of useful, quality feedback and identifies various formats for delivering this feedback to students. Most importantly, the guide describes how to analyze student data and, on the basis of this analysis, develop an individualized plan for guided instruction that will broaden and deepen the student’s conceptual understanding.

  • ISBN: 978-1935609551
  • Published by: National Professional Resources

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