Implementing Formative Learning and Sound Assessment Practices

Formative learning supports continuous growth and develops students who are the leaders of their own learning. By giving clear and precise feedback on student work and by providing opportunities for students to use the feedback to improve their work, teachers are building student confidence and reinforcing the importance of working hard toward specific goals. In embracing this process, teachers are also sending the message that with effort and determination, goals can be achieved.

To infuse the components of the formative process in classroom learning experiences, teachers can guide their planning by responding to the following questions:

  • How will students be involved in generating the learning criteria? How will students use the criteria to support their learning?
  • How will both students and teachers determine the appropriate learning progression toward mastery of specific concepts and skills?
  • What evidence will be collected to determine student learning?
  • How and when will teachers provide feedback to students? How will the students use this feedback to revise their work? How will teachers use the feedback to revise their instruction?
  • What opportunities will students be given to teach one another? What guidelines and documents will be used to support peer feedback?
  • How will students be provided with multiple opportunities for success?
  • How will students engage in metacognition by reflecting on their learning and creating learning goals and plans of action? How will these plans of action be used daily by both teachers and students?
Formative Learning by Connie Kamm and Kamm Solutions

Understanding the Formative Learning Process

Formative learning is anchored on multiple opportunities for practice and revision. Once students determine the criteria by which their work is being assessed, they engage in a cycle of feedback, revision, reteaching (peers and teachers), and assessment. In formative learning, assessments are merely evidence of the skills, concepts, and content that each student has mastered at a given point in time.

Downloadable Digital Resources

Our team has built the following resources to help you embrace the formative cycle of teaching and learning.


Making Sure They are Learning

This video from Edutopia demonstrates the impact that specific feedback can have on moving learning forward. It also illustrates the benefit of continuous formative assessments for teachers and students.

Austin’s Butterfly: Building Excellence in Student Work

This video posted on Vimeo demonstrates the power of specific feedback to enhance learning and improve performance.This video also demonstrates the impact of multiple opportunities for success on improving student achievement.

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