Formative assessments in secondary schools

Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey describe a four-step approach to successful formative assessment

TEACHERS WHO USE FORMATIVE ASSESSMENTS target their teaching to pupil needs. Teachers who do not use formative assessments rely on guesswork or generic plans, rather than basing their teaching decisions on data. The difference in pupil learning is striking. Simply said, the systematic use of formative assessments results in better learning.

What we know
● Formative assessment systems are based on pupil performance and provide teachers with data about what to teach next.
● Feedback is not effective in isolation; rather it needs to be acted on by both pupils and teachers.
● Checking for understanding, based on a clear purpose, is an important part of a formative assessment system and should not be overlooked.

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June 2011