The foundation has a long history of making investments to support effective data use in education. To that end, we’ve published a report on the use of formative assessment in classrooms. The purpose of this report is to help us better understand and support teachers in implementing formative assessment in their classrooms on a routine basis.
We worked hand-in-hand with Education First as they led a study in three urban school districts focused on learning more about what exemplary data-driven instructional decision-making looks like in practice. From March through December 2015, Education First researchers collected data in each district using a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods. The study found that:
- Teachers regularly use some types of formative assessment strategies, but the implementation of their practice is uneven
- Teachers across all three districts report that the support provided by districts for formative assessment is insufficient and that they most often turn to their colleagues for support to improve their formative assessment strategies
- Significant barriers to implementing effective formative assessment practice still exist
- Teachers who used formative assessment practices more frequently also reported more use of technology, especially if they had school or district support
These findings give us great insight into how teachers make decisions in the classroom on behalf of their students, and where they need more support doing it.