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What is Formative Assessment?

Why Use Formative Assessment?

Why all the big push for using formative assessment? Before I answer that, let me first explain my "enlightenment" of formative assessment. I use the word enlightenment not as a point of when I became all knowing, but when it clicked for me. When I think of formative assessment, my best analogy is baseball.  Stay with me.  

For me, the greatest pure hitter in my lifetime was Tony Gwynn. His career long batting average was among the best in the history of the game.  I had the privilege of watching him play many years growing up in San Diego, Ca.  I wanted to be like him. Hit like him. So I looked into what made him so good. Here is what I learned. He was first to arrive at ballpark and last to leave. He evaluated every single at bat after every game. That is an amazing task! He set up his own video camera to record every swing, every hit, every strikeout (fewest among all-time). Ok, so what does all this have to do with formative assessment you ask? Here is it…continual evaluation.  The purpose of formative assessment is to help identify skills one is struggling to acquire. Our job as instructors is to make adjustments along the way to help students achieve. So in essence, if you aren't hitting the ball, you have to evaluate why. Comparatively, if a student is not able to understanding how to properly graph a function in math, you can find out why by using formative assessment tools.  Today we will focus on Formative - an online tool for formative assessment.

Go Formative

First things first, Formative is free, free, free for teachers! That music to my ears! All you need to do is create an account. What are advantage of Formative? Here are some top points:

  • Made by teachers
  • Live feedback
  • Align to standards
  • Differentiate instruction

Easy as 1, 2,3

Let's Dive in


Crooks,, T. (2001). "The Validity of Formative Assessments". British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, University of Leeds, September 13–15, 2001.

Huhta, Ari (2010). "Diagnostic and Formative Assessment". In Spolsky, Bernard and Hult, Francis M. The Handbook of Educational Linguistics. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. pp. 469–482.

"Tony Gwynn Statistics and History |" N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2015.

"Tony Gwynn." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.