Margaret Heritage presents a practical guide to formative assessment as a process of “inquiry and action” essential to twenty-first century learning.
In the wake of the development of the Common Core standards and the effort to develop the appropriate assessments to accompany them, formative assessment has attracted increasing attention from policy makers and practitioners alike. Yet this powerful and promising approach is often applied in ways that fail to capture its potential for improving student learning.
In her book, Margaret Heritage presents a practical guide to formative assessment as a process of “inquiry and action” essential to twenty-first century learning. Heritage’s approach is distinctive in that it is grounded in a “children’s rights” framework—that is, the belief that assessment should be in the best interest of all students, that students should be involved in the decisions that ensue from assessment use, and that opportunities to learn, progress, and succeed will be available to all children equally. Accordingly, she addresses the students’ own role in learning about themselves as learners and examines the classroom as a community of practice. The book also includes chapters on learning progressions and the policy contexts that support formative assessment.
Skillfully interweaving theory and practice, this book promises to be an invaluable resource for teachers, teacher educators, and those interested in the academic and policy aspects of assessment.
[Heritage’s] analysis of formative assessment reflects the real-world, what’s-next thinking of a seasoned practitioner and, at the same time, the carefully documented, thoroughly researched approach of a full-fledged academic. Her readers are fortunate that she could not keep those two worlds apart. — From the foreword by W. James Popham, professor emeritus, University of California, Los Angeles
In this thoughtful book, Margaret Heritage shows that when it is done well, formative assessment is really a set of orientations that the best teachers use all the time. She shows how great teachers constantly place evidence—about what students learned and what they need to do next—at the heart of their practice, helping students achieve more and become better learners. — Dylan Wiliam, emeritus professor of educational assessment, Institute of Education, University of London
Heritage argues for a children’s rights approach that allows students to develop skills in becoming autonomous learners. Guiding the teacher through the use of learning progressions, the collection of evidence, and the process of inquiry, she highlights the power of formative assessment to close the achievement gap for all learners. — Gabriela Cardenas, demonstration teacher, UCLA Lab School
Heritage articulates a practical, theoretically sound approach to assessment. Filled with conceptual insights and compelling examples, this is a handbook of the powerful pedagogy our teachers need and our students deserve. If you care about teaching that fosters a learning culture, read this book. — Robert Linquanti, project director, EL Evaluation and Accountability Support, and senior research associate, WestEd