Thursday, July 25, 2013

formative assessment

I've been reading and thinking about assessment a lot lately. It's such an essential part of the teaching process, and I've been working on ways to improve my formative assessment plan for my own teaching. In doing so, I've read a couple of great resources that you might be interested in that I thought I'd share with you, dear readers.

As a literacy person, I was drawn first to Fisher & Frey's The Formative Assessment Action Plan: Practical Steps to More Successful Teaching and Learning. I know of Fisher & Frey through their literacy work, particularly in content literacy, so I was excited to read about their take on formative assessment. Though these educators come from a literacy background, the text is one that is applicable across disciplines. They have based their action plan on the work of Hattie & Temperley (2007), and their proposed formative assessment system of three components: feed-up, feedback, feed-forward. Each component is guided by a question:

Feed-up: Where am I going?
Feedback: How am I doing?
Feed-forward: Where am I going next?

Essentially, feed-up is helping students establish a purpose to the assingment/assessment, feedback provides students with information about what has been successful or needs work, and feed-forward is using assessment data in order to plan instruction. ASCD has published a study guide for this text, in case you're interested in using it as a part of a PLC or grade-level discussion.

Another text on formative assessment that has been helpful for me this summer as I've re-thought my assessment plans is Embedded Formative Assessment by Dylan Wiliam. Wiliam presents a review of the varied definitions of formative assessment and a historical look at formative assessment processes in schools that is helpful in developing a context for formative assessment. Every chapter provides examples and practical techniques to help teachers rethink their assessment processes.

Finally, I've returned to Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide by Linda Suskie. Though this text is a bigger picture for higher education faculty on assessment, there are some really helpful chapters on a successful assessment culture, organizing an assessment process, and using assessment results effectively.

What are your go-to resources for formative assessment?

Frey, N., & Fisher, D. (2011). The formative assessment action plan: Practical steps to more successful teaching and learning. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Hattie, J., & Temperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77, 81-112.
Suskie, L. (2009). Assessing student learning: A common sense guide (2nd ed.). San Fransisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Wiliam, D. (2011). Embedded formative assessment. Bloomington, IN: Solution-Tree Press.


  1. I saw this cool self-assessment chart and thought it might be helpful for students to use as they are learning new concepts.

  2. There's also this idea about exit slips:

  3. It's such an essential part of the teaching process, and I've been working on ways to improve my formative assessment plan for my own teaching.