“Formative assessment is a powerful learning tool that is too seldom, too haphazardly, and too ineffectively used in the United States,” Pendred E. Noyce writes in the introduction to this volume. “The purpose of this book is to delve into why this is so and how it can be changed.”
Formative assessment involves constantly monitoring student understanding through a combination of formal and informal measures. Teachers ask searching questions, listen over the shoulders of students working together on a problem, help students assess their own work, and carefully uncover students’ thinking. They react to what they learn by adjusting their teaching, thereby leading students to greater understanding.
This ongoing analysis and customization isn’t so easy to do. In the press of accountability, teachers often lack the time and confidence to adjust their lessons on a daily basis. They may lack the depth of content knowledge needed to analyze student misconceptions or see at what branch of reasoning the student went wrong. They may face constraints that make it difficult for them to work together on common problems.
New Frontiers in Formative Assessment is for educators who want to tap into the power of formative assessment. It showcases ongoing work that pushes the field of formative assessment forward in key ways. Drawn from a variety of classrooms in terms of age level, subject area, and use of technology, the chapters in this book highlight the importance of context in developing effective formative assessment practices. At the same time, the volume addresses the common elements of a successful formative assessment project—notably, high interest, manageability, impact, and validity—as well as some common barriers to implementation. Taken together, these projects illustrate the journey from assessment of learning to assessment for learning—and ultimately toward assessment as learning.
This is an extraordinary book. The chapters cover practical applications of formative assessment in mathematics, science, and language arts, including the roles of technology and teachers’ professional learning. I found my own thinking about formative assessment constantly being stretched and challenged. Anyone who is involved in education will find something of value in this book. — Dylan Wiliam, professor emeritus, educational assessment, Institute of Education, University of London
New Frontiers in Formative Assessment brings needed attention to little-discussed issues on the testing debate, such as how to make formative assessment an intrinsic part of instruction rather than an interruption, and how an assessment can be ‘for’ rather than ‘of’ learning. It will be immensely helpful to planners and school teacher teams as well as to those who study assessment. — Ellen Guiney, senior advisor, Boston Plan for Excellence
Noyce and Hickey provide a more nuanced and thoughtful treatment of what we know about formative assessment than I have ever seen collected in one volume before. The resulting insights are compelling, exciting, and motivating, and will affect the work I do, starting immediately.” — Susan M. Brookhart, senior research associate, Center for Advancing the Study of Teaching and Learning, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Better use of formative assessment has the power to transform schools by bringing classrooms to life. With a practical orientation, rich examples, and proven experience, this team of writers in math, literacy, and science shows where the cutting edge in formative practices is now and where it is likely to extend in the near future. An excellent and timely contribution. — Jere Confrey, Joseph D. Moore Distinguished Professor, North Carolina State University