Formative assessment


Since I created this slideshow back in 2013, I’ve learned a lot about formative assessment. In particular, I’ve learned that formative assessment (also known as responsive teaching) is not an action or a task but a process. For a good read about formative assessment, I recommend Dylan Wiliam’s book Embedded Formative Assessment.


I had a discussion with the director of my school about formative assessment, and we talked about some misconceptions around its use. I decided to create a presentation with some examples of formative assessment.

Here is the link to the slides if you want to modify them (just make a copy of the slides).




  • Chris Wejr wrote:

    Hey David – thanks for sharing these examples. Also important to keep in mind that many of these can be used for summative as well so it needs to be very clear of the PURPOSE of the assessment: is it to inform the learner? Some may think they are using formative but in fact may be using a series of summatives. A great collection of practical ideas that when used with an effective purpose can have a powerful impact on student learning. Thanks again!

  • David Wees wrote:

    That was the main reason I included my definition of formative assessment on slide two. Otherwise, I agree, these could very well be used summatively.

  • Thanks for sharing, David. I would like to add one comment about formative assessments. I think it is wise to post your objective(s) for the students to see each day. However, I would go a little farther and post the formative assessment along with the objective. For example:
    By the end of this lesson, you will be able to: Identify ways in which a character’s beliefs influence their actions, AND you will demonstrate that by completing an exit ticket articulating one thing the character believes and the action that tells us that.

    I could expect something like: Marty believes it is important to be honest because he admitted he broke the window even though nobody saw him and he could have walked away.

    Letting the students know how they will be assessed also points out the importance of the objectives and lets the students know that the objective drive the lesson and are not just something to be posted by a mandate from the principal. Formative assessments are quick and easy ways to know which students understood and which need a revisit to the lesson.

  • David Wees wrote:

    I think that for some exploration lessons, giving away the objective of the lesson too early "spoils the surprise" and kills any inquiry. I found this a few times when I was mandated to post the objective each day, so I stopped doing it. Now, when the class and I summarize the discovery of the day, we make the objective of the class clear.

    For classes without an element of discovery/exploration, I agree.

  • […] David’s entire list can be found here. […]

  • David, thanks for sharing – are you OK with me to use this (under the CC conditions) with my PG students both as a resource for the classroom but also as a starting place for discussions.

    For example the proto-discussion between you and Barbara above is an interesting example – should we share outcomes? and if we do how specific. I agree that in the case of exploratory / investigating inquiry having a defined outcome “you will produce…” or “you will complete…” could be very limiting but I think I would argue you should always share the assessment criteria even if these are broad so students know how they are going to be assessed? Thoughts?

  • David Wees wrote:

    Hi Paul,

    Please feel free to share the resource above with your student as you like. I have a desire to modify the resource at some point, but what I’ll probably do is make a copy of the original and post it below on this same page.


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