Formative assessment is the practice of gathering and interpreting information about student learning as it is happening in your classroom. It can involve a variety of methods. Using formative assessment helps you know where students are at in their learning so that you can adapt your teaching to meet their needs.
Formative assessment is effective across a variety of contexts
To understand whether formative assessment is effective across different contexts, AERO conducted a review of 138 studies. The review found that formative assessment is an effective teaching practice across a variety of contexts and for different subgroups of students. Studies conducted across various locations suggest that formative assessment:
has a positive impact on student achievement in mathematics, reading, writing, social science and foreign languages
works for primary and secondary students
benefits students with and without additional learning needs.
Because of this, formative assessment is likely to work in most contexts.
Using the practice
To be effective, formative assessment needs to be implemented well. See below some ‘things to know’ when using the practice.
Snapshots of practice
Formative assessment may look different in different contexts. See below examples of formative assessment in a variety of classrooms and settings.