The Association Between Teachers’ Use of Formative Assessment Practices and Students’ Use of Self-Regulated Learning Strategies
In Spring 2019, this REL West study surveyed teachers and students in grades 3–12 in three Arizona districts to better understand the association between teachers’ use of formative assessment practices and students’ use of self-regulated learning strategies. Formative assessment is a set of practices that enable teachers and students to examine how learning is progressing throughout a lesson or related series of lessons, so that teaching and learning activities can be adjusted as needed. Self-regulated learning is a proactive process in which students select an appropriate learning strategy to advance their learning goals.
The survey results indicated:
- Teachers frequently gave students feedback but less frequently provided occasions for students to provide feedback to one another
- Responding students frequently tracked their own progress but less frequently solicited feedback from their teacher or peers.
- Only a small positive association was found between the frequency of teachers’ formative assessment practices and the average number of self-regulated learning strategies that their students used.
- Some of teachers’ least frequently used formative assessment practices—facilitating student peer feedback and self-assessment—had stronger positive associations with the average number of self-regulated learning strategies that their students used than other, more frequently used practices. The more frequently that teachers reported using these practices, the more self-regulated learning strategies their students reported using.
The study findings can help school district leaders in Arizona and elsewhere decide how to systematically roll out formative assessment–centered professional learning opportunities for teachers. The findings could also inform decisions on whether certain formative assessment practices might be more or less emphasized in research or support efforts moving forward—for example, guiding teachers in different grade spans or subject areas toward different formative assessment practices or implementing related trainings schoolwide.
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