Stiggins, R. (2005). From formative assessment to assessment for learning: A path to success in standards-based schools. Phi Delta Kappan, 87(4), 324- 328.
This article examines the use of formative assessment and how assessment of learning, traditionally used to motivate students, should be changed to assessment for learning to foster the development of effective schools and competence in all students. The author begins by reviewing the history of assessment in schools, emphasizing how students who experienced success thrived in the school setting while those who did not fare as well often lost confidence in their own abilities and eventually gave up and stopped caring about school. Now, the author argues, there is less emphasis on sorting and ranking students and more emphasis on the potential for success in all students which has given way to interest in formative assessment. Furthermore, although summative assessments have received more attention throughout the history of education, formative assessment practices used to provide teachers and students with continuous evidence of learning and mastery are an increasingly popular tool to improve school success. The author maintains that formative assessment practices lead to more frequent testing, effective management of student data, and assessment to guide and support learning (rather than assessment of learning), all of which help meet the shortcomings of large-scale, annual, standardized tests. The author concludes that students' emotional response to assessment results and actions taken in response to results are key to the success of formative assessment practices. Therefore, learning goals should always be clear and students must receive continuous, guided feedback to help maintain a positive response so that students are motivated to continue trying and know the next steps to meet their learning goals.
Multiple Measures, Professional Development, Professional Expertise, Skills and Knowledge