• Formative assessment is sometimes called assessment for learning--as contrasted with assessment of learning. Unlike summative tests, which measure student achievement, formative assessments help monitor how well students are learning what educators want them to learn.


    Formative assessments provide educators with tools for monitoring student progress in learning the material in a school's program of instruction.


    Formative assessments can be informal or formal. Informal examples include teachers asking oral questions of students during class or giving pop quizzes. Formal examples include various types of benchmark or diagnostic examinations.


    By identifying gaps in student learning, formative assessments can help educators reduce gaps between high-achieving and low-achieving students.


    Educators can use formative assessments to identify gaps in student understanding of class material and help teachers focus instruction on areas in which students need additional help.


    A program of formative assessment can help school systems ensure teachers follow the required curriculum, as well as identify needed areas for curriculum modification.


    Arizona Department of Education: Formative Assessment For Learning

    More Information:

    National Middle School Association: Formative Assessment

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