Understanding Formative Assessment: Insights from Learning Theory and Measurement Theory
Formative assessment is intended to yield real-time information about if and how students are learning—and what might be impeding their progress. Insights gained from this ongoing classroom assessment process can help teachers shape instruction and guide student efforts as well. The effective use of formative assessment can add balance to assessment systems that, in recent years, have leaned heavily toward assessment for accountability purposes.
This paper, written by former WestEd researchers Elise Trumbull and Andrea Lash, defines formative assessment and includes:
- A description of the key features of formative assessment
- A summary of concepts in learning theory that are central to effective formative assessment
- A summary of concepts in measurement theory that are central to effective formative assessment
- A brief review of research summaries on the effect of formative assessment on student learning
Additional WestEd resources on formative assessment are available online.
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