What Are Formative Assessments?

Formative assessments provide in-process feedback about student learning so instructional approaches, teaching materials and academic support can be modified to meet the needs of each learner.

They can also identify misconceptions and struggles in a student’s learning and help educators develop comprehensive plans to close those gaps so students can master the academic material more thoroughly.

Assessment as Learning

Assessment is the way that we measure what children and young people know, understand and are able to do. It helps us to track progress, plan next steps and report to parents/carers. It also gives learners a clear idea of what good work looks like, so they can achieve their qualifications or get on in life.

Research shows that formative assessments help students learn more than summative tests. They also make it easier for them to give helpful feedback to each other.

AFL uses a range of forms of assessment to help teachers, learners and parents monitor their learning and identify next steps. These include reports to parents/carers, in writing and in discussions, and the introduction of individual profiles for pupils at P7 and S3.

The most important difference between formative assessment and summative assessment is that the former gives more information throughout the year. It is a better way of supporting learning and is linked to all aspects of the assessment system, from early learning right through to primary, secondary school and college.

Research shows that teachers who use formative assessments can improve their learners’ achievement at double the rate of those who don’t. This is because the feedback they give to their learners often focuses on success criteria that are in their control, rather than on things that they can’t.

Feedback as Learning

Feedback is an important part of formative assessments. It can help students achieve their learning goals, if they understand what they are doing wrong or how they can improve.

It can also help students become more active learners by empowering them to challenge their own understanding and beliefs about their learning. It can help alleviate power-differentials and develop a clearer connection between students and their tutors.

However, feedback can be challenging for students to receive (Shute, 2009; Carless & Winstone, 2019). For example, if a student feels that they are not being listened to or have their concerns not heard, it can be difficult for them to learn from the feedback and use it constructively.

This may be due to a number of factors, including the way that feedback is delivered and framed. The best feedback will be timely, relevant, informative and understandable.

This can be done by discussing what the feedback means to the student, explaining how it was formed, being clear about what is required of them and suggesting alternatives for future work. It can also be helpful to include other stakeholders in the process, such as peer students.

Feedback as Feedback

Feedback is a process that promotes growth and helps individuals perform better. This can be applied to all aspects of life and work, no matter what the subject or level of learning.

Feedback can be provided in a variety of forms, including feedback during formative assessments and summative assessments. In addition, there are many different ways that instructors can provide feedback to their students.

The key to using feedback effectively is to make sure that it’s focused on the student as a person and their learning needs. It also needs to be delivered in a timely manner so that students are given opportunities to respond to the feedback and improve their performance as a result of it.

One of the most important things to remember when providing feedback is to use a friendly approach that makes it clear you are just giving them advice, not judgments. This will help to build a positive rapport between you and your students, making it easier for them to receive the feedback and take it seriously.

In addition to formal feedback, there are other options such as peer and class representation approaches that can be implemented to provide more meaningful and targeted feedback to students. These processes give the instructor a deeper insight into how their students are engaging with the course material and if there are any areas that could be improved to enhance outcome attainment.

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