A Descriptive Analysis of State-Supported Formative Assessment Initiatives in New York and Vermont

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) arrived at a consensus definition of formative assessment as “a process used by teachers and students during instruction that provides feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning to improve students’ achievement of intended instructional outcomes” (p. iii). The purpose of this study is to provide insights into how this consensus definition of formative assessment has been put into practice. The study examines two state-supported formative assessment initiatives and describes the primary components of the two initiatives and the strategies that state, district, and school leaders report using to support implementation of each initiative. Data from the study came from publicly available information and interviews with leaders. The findings from this study add to the literature on the strategies two states have used to promote large-scale teacher use of formative assessment (as defined by the CCSSO).

Content Comments 

This report is illuminating in its description of the efforts by Vermont and New York to promote three formative assessment implementation goals: adoption, sustainability, and spread. It discusses both the successes and limitations the states faced in their efforts towards these goals. This report would be very helpful for other states designing formative assessment professional learning programs for their educators.