Black, P. & Wiliam, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan 80(2), 139-148.
Black and Wiliam argue that formative assessment is an integral part of classroom instruction and that its implementation can significantly improve student learning outcomes. The authors begin by examining whether or not there is research showing that improvements to formative assessment practices in the classroom raises standards, and they find that students who experience formative assessment strategies, particularly low achievers, demonstrate significant learning gains. Black and Wiliam also provide numerous suggestions on how to improve formative assessment practices in the classroom (e.g., train students in self-assessment, provide specific and reflective feedback, give students the guidance to improve their performance, etc.). The authors conclude with recommendations for changing policy and practice including the four steps to implementation (i.e., learning from development, dissemination, reducing obstacles, and research). Overall, the authors maintain that formative assessment is essential to effective teaching. (Publisher granted permission to post abstract only. Link to article abstract is provided.)
Action for Learning, Formative Assessment