Formative Assessment in Maths- it is a process!

In this blog post I wanted to share my thoughts on Formative Assessment.

Formative Assessment is literally a ‘golden ticket’ for teachers.

It has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to improve student achievement.

Research has shown that through using formative assessment we can increase achievement by up to one year! In the scheme of all things education-related- that is huge!

So, if formative assessment is so powerful, why aren’t we using it more?

I think this is because we are not using it in the correct way.

Formative assessment is a process- you cannot have a “formative assessment”.

Formative assessment involves teachers using assessments, gaining insights from student responses and then acting to modify their teaching accordingly. Then this process is repeated again and again.

So, to say we are using a formative assessment is inaccurate. Any test can be formative and any test can be summative. It is the process in which you follow that makes it formative (or summative).

If you are thinking… Ange this is just a matter of semantics…it may be…but I think it is really important that we help teachers to see this distinction.

This helps us to look at our maths assessments closely and deeply think about the process we are using around them.

Are we using the data we gather in pre-tests and REALLY using it to drive our teaching? Or are we just simply administering, teaching what we already had planned and then post testing?

This comes back to helping our teachers to understand more about the formative process. Are the assessments we design or are using providing detailed enough information to specifically target our student needs? Do we know exactly what is the ‘next best step’ for each child in the content we are teaching?

It is important to ensure we are taking the time to discuss assessments, discuss the data they provide, and discuss what exactly that means for our maths teaching.

Want to learn more from Dr Ange? Click here to find out more about her “Assessing Place Value in Years 3-6” Mini Course. 


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