I like this from James Popham:

Remember, if a test fails to supply evidence that???s used to alter what???s going on in class???either by teachers or by students???and such evidence doesn???t arrive until the relevant instructional segment is over (or almost over), then that test should not be regarded as a formative assessment. Formative assessment should be regarded not as a particular test but, rather, as a process that???s dependent on its impact on the instructional decisions made by teachers and/or the learning decisions made by students.

I like the focus on formative assessment being a PROCESS not a one-off that does nothing to inform subsequent leaning and teaching. I believe some of the testing and assessment we are calling formative is not TIMELY enough to be formative.
In this definition some of the the best formative assessment may well be the well-informed judgment of the teacher made on the fly in the classroom ….

2 Responses to “Definition of Formative Assessment”
  1. Good point about timeliness.

    Not sure if I can agree about the well-informed judgment of the teacher made on the fly being the best formative assessment. Seen too many teachers that don’t focus on what is supposed to be taught.


  2. It appears to me that Gilbert did not understand Caroll very well. From my own understanding of Caroll's definition of formative assessment, formative assessment can only be said to be the best after a well- infomed judgement of the teacher.  Here, Caroll is refering only to the teachers who take their time to judge their teaching and how much their students have learnt. Concurring with Gilbert, yes there are many teachers who do not base their teaching on the set objectives. This may be as a result of the instructional materials they are using. This can be commonly seen with teachers of  French as a foreign language, where some authors introduce many topics in a unit. take for instance in situation where the textbook they are using include other activities outside the set objectives, the teacher who is not skillful in lesson planning will abandon the objectives he has set to follow the activities in the textbook. To avoid deviation from set objectives, teachers are advised to consult other books that treated the topic to be taught. Ogbonna

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