Current Research/Resources: An Integrated Approach to Defining a System-Level Theory of Action for Formative Assessment (Nov./Dec. 2018)

This report by the Council of Chief State School Officers explores two theories of action for implementing a formative assessment system: an ecological theory of action and a more traditional program-oriented approach. The report discusses the complexities and benefits of implementing an authentic formative assessment system as well as key challenges.

The key challenges are to make sure that those who must implement the system—educators, administrators, and policymakers—share a common definition of formative assessment, have access to discipline-specific resources, have an opportunity to dive deeply into formative assessment practice and learn about its implementation, and gain a belief in the ability of formative assessment to transform learning. The authors posit that the result of implementing a formative assessment system with fidelity can result in increased buy-in from stakeholders, improved teacher and pre-service teacher quality, and increased student achievement. The authors assert that an additional important benefit can be the development of engaged, self-directed life-long learners.

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College- and Career-Readiness Standards & Assessment E-Newsletter