One Definition of Formative Assessment
Front Cover
Front Cover


Popham, W. J. (2008). Transformative assessment. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

"Formative assessment is a planned process in which assessment-elicited evidence
of students' status is used by teachers to adjust their ongoing instructional procedures
or by students to adjust their current learning tactics" (p. 6).

Key Points

  • Planned process
    • Not a test but a process
    • Completed by teachers, learners or both
    • Teacher has a goal of what they want to learn from the assessment results
    • Formal and/or informal assessment

  • Assessment-Elicited Evidence
    • Adjustments are based on evidence (data) of current level of mastery
    • Assessment procedure (comment marking, exit cards, game, graphic organizer, simulation, peer/self assessment, quiz/test, project, portfolio, etc.) is designed to produce the evidence

  • Teachers adjust instruction
    • Evidence is used to make adjustments to ongoing instruction

  • Learners adjust learning tactics (21st Century Skill)
    • Evidence is used to change methods they are applying while trying to learn

  • Implementation Options
    • To make an immediate instructional adjustment
    • To make a near-future instructional adjustment
    • To make a last-chance instructional adjustment
    • To make a learning tactic adjustment
    • To promote a classroom climate shift

Source: Popham, J. W. (2009, 2011)

Enhancing Assessment with Technology


Milnes (2006) describes the following reasons for enhancing formative assessment with technology. He recommends using technology to:

  • to provide "feed information back to students in ways that enable the students to learn better

  • eliminated the drudgery of assessment

  • assessing students more accurately, efficiently, and quickly

  • make evaluating student skills unobtrusive and easy

  • individualized assessment

  • immediate nature of the assessment

  • create virtual real-time picture of which students need helps, where they need it, and how the teachers can help them best

  • easy of tabulation and re-organization of the data (data mining)

Grimm (April 2, 2010) describes the following reason for enhancing formative assessment with technology.

  • enables teachers to embed assessment into instruction and provide immediate feedback.

Items to Keep in Mind When Enhancing Formative Assessment with Technology

  • Decide what you want to learn from the assessments

  • Set goals - have long-terms goals and assess regularly

  • Explain the purposes of the activity to students

  • Keep assessments anonymous (depend on author). Do not grade assessments

  • Present your results to class

  • Focus on areas where students are falling behind.


Research Based

Consistent formative assessment can increase achievement, especially for low achievers