Elements of Formative Assessment
- Identifying the gap: Process of defining the difference (the “gap”) between what students know and what they need to know. It includes collaboration between teacher and learner to identify learning goals and criteria for achieving them. During this gap analysis, it's the role of the teacher to guide the student through the process of narrowing the gap between current understanding and learning goals.
- Feedback: Rich conversations between the teacher and student provide the teacher with information needed to identify the current status of a student’s learning as well as the specific next steps needed for improvement. Teacher feedback to students must be both constructive and timely to enable students to advance their learning. Student feedback and reflection can inform the teacher of the need to modify instructional approaches.
- Learning progressions: The teacher identifies a learner’s location on the learning continuum and works collaboratively with the student to set a series of smaller goals. Breaking a learning goal into smaller, manageable steps scaffolds students in achieving their goals.
- Involving students: Student self-assessment helps them engage in reflection and builds their metacognitive skills. Giving students a voice in decisions about their own learning increases their motivation and helps them understand how to improve.
Boud 2007, Stiggins 2007, Wiliam 2011