What is Formative Assessment?
Formative Assessments simply monitor student understanding of a learning objective throughout the learning process.
Often the word assessment strikes fear in both teachers and students alike. We typically think of assessments as a test given at the end of a unit to measure student mastery. Frequently the stakes are high with pass and fail grades. Students who have not mastered objectives at the end of a unit are provide with little or no remediation. Teachers feel frustrated, knowing their students have not mastered an objective, but are forced to move on to the next lesson. These assessments give us information about our students, but offer little support to increasing student success.
On the other hand, formative assessments are quick check points given throughout the learning process. The goal is to monitor student learning, adjust instruction, and to help ensure students are on the right track to achieve their goals.