Formative assessment focuses on improving student performance and classroom instruction.
It is contrasted with summative assessment that focuses on accountability and is often done to label, sort or classify students.
Conditions for successful formative assessment include:
- The student and teacher share a common understanding of what constitutes quality work. That is, they have the same standards for achievement.
- Both student and teacher can compare the student's performance to these standards.
- The student assesses as s/he is working on the task at hand, and upon completion.
- The teacher may assess the completed work or while the work is in progress.
- Following the assessment, teaching and learning activities are adjusted to close the gap between the student's performance and the standard.
- The teacher not only assesses the student's performance, but also provides feedback (guidance) to the student enabling him/her to improve his/her performance.
- The student will use what s/he has learned from the assessment to improve future performances.
- The teacher also assesses the instruction that preceded the performance. The teacher will adjust their instruction based on this assessment.