Formative Assessment: Providing Feedback

I ended part one of my formative assessment blog series sharing the various types of formative assessments with you. If you missed it, you can read it here.  Are you ready to dive a little deeper into formative assessment? If so, read on.

Why use formative assessment?

Watch the video below and listen as this teacher provides her second grade student with oral feedback on his writing. She has gathered information about his understanding by looking at his writing product, which in this case, serves as a formative assessment. She helps him understand where he is going, where he is now and shows him how he can close the gap. She also offers him more opportunity for practice.

This video demonstrates two reasons why you should use formative assessment.

1. It provides feedback to your students.

When you provide feedback to your students, it must involve rich conversations between the both of you. Students need to know:

  • Where am I now?
  • Where am I going?
  • How can I close the gap?

Give your student specific next steps to allow them to advance towards the desired goal. For feedback to be useful, it must be timely, understandable, and descriptive.  

2. It provides information that leads to adjustments in the delivery of your instruction. These adjustments could include:

  • re-teaching
  • using alternative instructional approaches
  • offering more opportunities for practice and reinforcement

Why is feedback so important?

  • According to a 2007 study by Hattie and Timperley, formative assessment with appropriate feedback is the most powerful moderator in the enhancement of achievement.
  • Research in 2004 (Pathey-Chavez, Matsumura, and Valdes) concluded that teacher feedback, given in written annotations and in oral comments in conferencing, is the mechanism to provide the guided practice struggling writers need to apply newly learned skills.

Now that you know why you should teach using formative assessment, stay tuned for my next blog on 8 practical tips you can use in your classroom. In the meantime, on a daily basis, which is more useful-formative or summative assessment data? Why? Please share in the comments below!