Crossouard, B. (2011). Using formative assessment to support complex learning in conditions of social adversity. Assessment in Education, Principles, Policy, & Practice, 18, 59-72.
Crossouard examines formative assessment practices in primary schools in socially deprived areas of Scotland. The author drew upon in-depth examinations of formative assessment in two classrooms; data collection included review of policy and school documents, video observation, and individual teacher and child interviews. Results indicated that the schools’ formative assessment task design which included open-ended challenge projects to promote teacher-student dialogue in the classroom was effectively implemented. Furthermore, students reported high levels of engagement and agency during these challenge tasks. The author notes that these challenges included written task instructions and success criteria which were integral in promoting formative assessment potential. Differences were seen in teachers’ levels of authority in interactions with children (i.e., quiet observation vs. active, questioning and discussion), and in the teachers’ assessment vocabulary. Crossouard argues that teachers should be given guidance in understanding the power relations of formative assessment practices, and that the success of these practices will depend on the assessment vocabularies that teachers are encouraged to use to support formative assessment practices.
Action for Learning, Formative Assessment, Professional Expertise