Volante, L., Drake, S., & Beckett, D. (2010). Formative assessment: Bridging the research-practice divide. Education Canada, 50(3). Retrieved February 15, 2011 from http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/formative-assessment-bridging-research-practice-divide
Volante and colleagues examined the assessment practices of K-12 teachers and administrators in Canada over 3 years. The researchers found that despite the research showing the benefits of formative assessment to student learning, most teachers still focus more on summative assessments (i.e., tests, quizzes) and do not consistently incorporate formative assessment into classroom practice. Participating teachers noted numerous barriers to formative assessment practices including a lack of instructional leadership, little teacher training, and resistance from parents and students to different assessment practices. However, Volante and colleagues also found that teachers were aware of the benefits of formative assessment to student learning and school culture, and felt that professional learning communities (PLCs) were the most effective type of professional development to improve assessment practices. The researchers also found that teachers sharing stories of effective formative assessment provided useful examples for other teachers to follow. The authors conclude by discussing additional ways to increase formative assessment practices and transform school assessment culture.
Culture of Collaboration, Formative Assessment, Professional Development