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Supporting the Achievement of College- and Career-Ready Standards through the Process of Formative Assessment

Author(s)Sandy Chang & Barbara Jones
Publication dateFebruary 2015
publication pdfSupporting the Achievement of College- and Career-Ready Standards through the Process of Formative Assessment

Since its inception, the Formative Assessment for Students and Teachers (FAST) State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS) has promoted formative assessment as an essential component of effective pedagogy. The FAST SCASS believes that formative assessment as a process is critical to student achievement of deeper learning called for in college- and career-ready standards, and to students' acquisition of important 21st century skills such as communication, collaboration, and self-monitoring. When formative assessment is well implemented in U.S. classrooms, teachers have the ongoing information they need to make sure each one of their students makes progress day-by-day in reaching college- and career-ready goals.

The FAST SCASS has identified seven practices of formative assessment that all educators should ensure are well implemented:  

  1. Use learning progressions to clearly articulate how learning develops across standards
  2. Establish clear learning goals for the lesson and associated success criteria
  3. Plan strategies to elicit evidence of learning during the lesson
  4. Interpret the evidence in relation to the lesson learning goals
  5. Decide on appropriate pedagogical action
  6. Involve students in the process through peer and self-assessment
  7. Create and maintain a collaborative classroom culture in which teachers and students collaborate and are partners in learning  

Formative assessment must be seen as a key professional skill for teachers. Policy and professional development are needed to accomplish a broad transformation in teachers' professional skills so they can effectively implement formative assessment as a process in their content area lessons. A policy brief commissioned by the FAST SCASS (Linquanti, 2014) points the way to how this transformation can be led, including through professional learning, teacher preparation and evaluation.  

The stakes for teachers and their students are very high in the current context of education reform. All students must have the opportunity to achieve college- and career-ready standards, and formative assessment is an essential means to accomplishing that goal.

Contact:Adam Petermannadam.petermann@ccsso.org202-336-7076