Formative Assessment In Action

The Formative Assessment in Action Spotlight aims to provide educators with resources that support learning about the formative assessment process. The spotlight includes one-page excerpts highlighting key ideas in formative assessment, classroom videos that showcase formative assessment in action, and opportunities to deepen learning about formative assessment. Educators can use the opportunities to analyze others' practice with an eye towards incorporating new learning into current instructional routines.  This spotlight can be used in conjunction with the CSAI-Developed Curriculum and Instruction Resource Collection, a series of resources that assist teachers and those who support teachers to plan teaching and learning of College and Career Ready Standards (CCRS) for all students with a focus on formative assessment. 

Learning about the Formative Assessment Process



Video Practice with Formative Assessment

Below are two spotlight sections containing videos about Formative Assessment in Action. The section, Examples of the Elements in Action, showcases video examples of each formative assessment element implemented effectively in the lessons. The next section, Time to Investigate, includes opportunities to review several videos and analyze how each teacher integrates the formative assessment elements into her classroom practice. For every video, there is a brief summary of the content, plus a link to its Video Viewing Protocol. The protocol includes information about the teacher's practice in relation to each element. These are not all encompassing descriptions. They offer a few observations about teacher and student actions intended to provide the seeds for thought and discussion. In each protocol, you can write down notes, including general observations and specific commendations/suggestions. If you'd like more information about formative assessment before you get into the videos, check out the descriptions of the formative assessment elements below.


Examples of the Elements in Action

Watch these videos first. You will see examples of the elements being implemented effectively in a classroom situation. Using the Video Viewing Protocol for each one will deepen your understanding of each element.

See spotlight section >

Time to Investigate

Continue with this spotlight section, where you will have the opportunity to review several videos and analyze the teachers' formative assessment practice. Again, completing each Video Viewing Protocol will help you gain a better insight into the formative assessment process.

See spotlight section >



What is Formative Assessment?

Formative assessment is an on-going assessment process integrated into instruction. In formative assessment, teachers gather and respond to evidence of student learning in relation to the learning goals during the course of instruction. This approach to instruction supports deep learning of CCRS. It is described here in terms of four formative assessment elements.



Learning Goals and Success Criteria

Learning Goals are lesson-sized learning expectations for students (i.e., understandings or skills) and Success Criteria describe how students will demonstrate their learning (i.e., what students say, do, make, or write). Students and teachers use the Success Criteria to determine how close students are to meeting the Learning Goals.

Learn more >


Eliciting and Interpreting Evidence

Eliciting Evidence involves planning learning situations where students can both develop and demonstrate what they know. Teachers collect evidence of learning (e.g., by observing, listening, asking questions, reviewing work) and make inferences (Interpreting Evidence) about student learning progress in relation to the Success Criteria. 

Learn more >


Taking Pedagogical Action

Based on teachers' Interpreting Evidence, they take pedagogical action in the moment, or soon after. This can include providing feedback, redirecting the learning experience, or continuing as planned.

Learn more >




Student Self and Peer Assessment

Students also participate in this process, through assessment. Knowing the Learning Goals, they assess themselves (Self Assessment) and their peers (Peer Assessment) in relation to the Success Criteria. Students then take action based on this assessment. Self and Peer Assessment promotes metacognition, self-directed learning, and further tailors the learning experience to match students where they are.

Learn more >