Formative Assessment Course Helps Transform Teaching and Learning

High School Students

For many teachers, assessment means giving a test at the end of a unit to measure students’ retention and learning. But such tests represent only a snapshot of learning and do not always help teachers and students see the complete picture. The results typically come too late to change students’ academic outcomes and can leave a handful of critical questions unanswered.

To get a more complete view of student learning, educators are increasingly focusing on formative assessment, a set of practices that enable students and teachers to examine how learning is developing throughout the course of a lesson so they can make any necessary adjustments to teaching and learning activities.

To help teachers learn to implement formative assessment, WestEd specialists developed an interactive online course offered for free to approximately 1,500 K–12 educators beginning in fall 2015. Data show that the course — the largest scale-up of formative assessment professional learning ever attempted in the United States — proved effective in influencing teachers’ classroom practice.

Read the R&D Alert article to learn more.

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