Stiggins, R. (2009, February). Assessment for learning in upper elementary grades. Phi Delta Kappan, 90, 419-421.
Stiggins discusses the benefits of formative assessment in the upper elementary grades. The author argues that children interpret assessment results over time and make inferences about their own ability and performance in school. If they continuously struggle academically, students may develop a negative perception of their own ability, leading to lower motivation and academic self-efficacy. Furthermore, the upper elementary grades represent a critical period for students’ academic self-concept, as students at this level have accumulated sufficient experiences to develop a clear view of themselves as learners. Stiggins maintains that formative assessment can be used to help students develop a strong sense of academic self-efficacy by making them part of the assessment process and teaching them to take assessment results to improve performance. The author presents formative assessment strategies for teachers to use to clearly articulate learning goals to students, to help students know their current level of performance in relation to learning goals, and to help students learn to close the gap between where they are and where they want to be in their learning. Stiggins concludes that making students and teachers partners in the assessment process leads to great benefits to student learning and achievement.
Action for Learning, Formative Assessment