Calling all districts interested in formative assessment practice

Earlier this year, we released a study by Education First which sought to better understand how teachers gather a broad range of evidence of student learning, ideally on a daily basis, and use that information to identify learning needs.  In short, we were looking to better understand formative assessment practices from teachers’ perspectives.  The study revealed that:

  • Although teachers regularly use some types of formative assessment strategies, the implementation of their practice is uneven.
  • Teachers report that the support provided by districts for formative assessment is insufficient and they often turn to colleagues for support and advice.
  • Significant barriers to implementing effective formative assessment practice still exist.

The benefits of regular formative assessment practice for student achievement are well documented.  And so … why do teachers find it challenging to successfully implement formative assessment practice at scale?  While the study shed detailed light on how teachers implement formative assessment strategies in the classroom, there is still more work to be done.

Notably, for example, teachers across the study districts disagreed with the following statements:

  • My district or school provides me with adequate training on formative assessment practices
  • My class periods provide enough time to gather and act on formative assessment data.
  • My district’s pacing guides allow time to incorporate formative assessments and changes to my practice if needed.

Figuring out how to give all teachers the time, flexibility and professional development they need to effectively incorporate formative assessment into their regular instructional routine is a critical step in ensuring that students’ learning experiences are tailored to their specific learning needs.

Figuring out how to give all teachers the time, flexibility and professional development they need to effectively incorporate formative assessment into their regular instructional routine is a critical step in ensuring that students’ learning experiences are tailored to their specific learning needs.

A Call to Action

We therefore seek to create a two-year professional learning community (PLC) across these districts to identify, scale and share successful approaches for developing teacher practice in daily classroom formative assessment.  Districts in the PLC will receive support from a strong network of subject matter experts to assist with formative assessment practice development and evaluation, program design and creation, technology implementation as well as other assistance along the way.

We are currently in the process of identifying a limited number of districts that are interested in – or already doing — great work around formative assessment and would like to accelerate their progress with the support of additional resources.  You can find more information about the program here.

If you work with, or know of, a district who would be interested in learning more about this project,
please let us know
. We’d like to talk more about the potential to work together.