Productive Formative Assessment Always Requires Local District Preparation

This chapter makes the case for balanced assessment systems and argues that the productive use of assessment for formative and improvement purposes always requires local district action. The authors describe seven essential actions for local districts:

  1. Balance assessment systems,

  2. Continue to refine achievement expectations,

  3. Assure assessment quality,

  4. Help learners be assessors,

  5. Communicate to support and to certify learning,

  6. Motivate students with learning success, and

  7. Provide a foundation of assessment literacy.

Note that this chapter is part of an edited book: Stiggins, R., & Chappuis, S. (2013). Productive formative assessment always requires local district preparation. In R. Lissitz (Ed.), Informing the practice of teaching using formative and interim assessment: A systems approach (pp. 237-247). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. For more information on the book, please visit the publisher's website.

Content Comments 

The chapter largely makes the case for classroom assessment for learning; however, the actions refer equally well to interim assessment. Moreover, in describing balanced assessment system, the chapter’s Table 11.1 succinctly lays out the key issues addressed, and formative and summative applications for classroom assessment, interim assessment, and annual assessment. For example, the table describes for interim assessment the key decisions to be informed, who are the key decision-makers, the information they need, and essential conditions for both formative and summative application. The essential conditions focus on technical quality rather than socio-political support for implementation and use.