A classroom teacher’s guide to formative assessment

Improving Teaching

I’m working on a guide to formative assessment for classroom teachers.  I want to do two things: first, set out clear principles and introduce the research underpinning them; second, show how these principles work in practice through discussing an extensive range of examples.



Two millstones burden formative assessment; two current trends demand we look at it afresh.

Millstone #1

Effective formative assessment remains rare.  The Assessment Commission Report found that:

Formative classroom assessment was not always being used as an integral part of effective teaching”;

and a focus on National Curriculum Levels in schools meant that:

Instead of using classroom assessments to identify strengths and gaps in pupils’ knowledge and understanding of the programmes of study, some teachers were simply tracking pupils’ progress towards target levels.”

The Carter Review found that:

The most significant improvements [to Initial Teacher Training] are needed for training in assessment…  there are significant gaps in both the capacity…

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