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Formative Assessment

**Heritage, M. (2011, Spring). Formative assessment: An enabler of learning. Better: Evidenced-based Education, 18-19. Available at

This article advocates for the use of formative assessment as a routine tool for improving student learning, not as a mere test or instrument. The purpose of formative assessment is to have both students and teachers work together in more active roles that allow them to gradually improve student understanding and skills throughout a lesson. This style of assessment is inherently different than others that typically evaluate a student’s learningafter a period of teaching. Overall, the author argues that the success of formative assessment is reliant both upon the ability of the teacher to create a supportive classroom environment centered on feedback and upon the inherent skill set and content knowledge of the teacher. 

Heritage, M. (2010). Formative assessment and next-generation assessment systems: Are we losing an opportunity?Washington, D.C.: The Council of Chief State School Officers.  Available at

This brief reviews existing research on and outlines various definitions of formative assessment. Heritage argues that despite what we know of formative assessments, there is danger of overlooking the benefits they can bring to teaching and learning if they are viewed solely as a measurement instrument rather than a practice that is integrated into the classroom. Presenting an overview of the learning process and the ways in which formative assessments work with different theories of learning, the author concludes with a discussion of the roles of formative assessment in the measurement and learning paradigms and within the wider context of educational change.

**This document is considered a priority reading.