HOW OUTCOMES INFORM INSTRUCTION AND EDUCATIONAL PRACTICES Assessment is the use of a variety of procedures to collect information about learning and instruction. Formative and summative assessment represent two classifications of assessment, each with a distinct purpose. Formative assessment is commonly referred to as assessment for learning, in which the focus is on monitoring student response to and progress with instruction. Formative assessment provides immediate feedback to both the teacher and student regarding the learning process. Summative assessment is commonly referred to as assessment of learning, in which the focus is on determining what the student has learned at the end of a unit of instruction or at the end of a grade level (e.g., through grade-level, standardized assessments). Summative assessment helps determine to what extent the instructional and learning goals have been met. Formative and summative assessment contribute in different ways to the larger goals of the assessment process. PROCEDURES USED IN FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT
Formative assessment includes a variety of procedures such as observation, feedback, and journaling. However, there are some general principles that constitute effective formative assessment. Key requirements for successful formative assessment include the use of quality assessment tools and the subsequent use of the information derived from these assessments to improve instruction. The defining characteristic of formative assessment is its interactive or cyclical nature (Sadler, 1988). At the classroom level, for example, teachers collect information about a student's learning, make corresponding adjustments in their instruction, and continue to collect information. Formative assessment can result in significant learning gains but only when the assessment results are used to inform the instructional and learning process (Black & William, 1998). This condition requires the collection, analysis of, and response to information about student progress. The most common procedures of formative assessment include the following. Feedback. A teacher provides oral or written feedback to student discussion or work. For example, a teacher responds orally to a question asked in class; provides a written comment in a response or reflective journal; or provides feedback on student work. Curriculum-based measurement (CBM). This set of standardized measures is used to determine student progress and performance (Deno, 2001). An example is the use of oral reading fluency (the number of words a student can read correctly during a timed reading of a passage) as an indicator of a student's overall reading ability (Fuchs et al., 2001). Self-assessment. Students reflect on and monitor their progress. This activity may be performed in conjunction with a CBM, in relation to predetermined academic and behavioral goals, or with learning contracts. Observation. A teacher observes and records a student's level of engagement, academic and/or affective behavior; develops a plan of action to support that student; implements the plan; and continues to record observations to determine its effectiveness. Portfolios. A growth portfolio can be used to create a record of student growth in a number of areas. For example, a teacher may use writing portfolios to collect evidence of a student's progress in developing writing skills. PROCEDURES USED IN SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT
Summative assessment also employs a variety of tools and methods for obtaining information about what has been learned. In this way, summative assessment provides information at the student, classroom, and school levels. Defining characteristics of effective summative assessment include a clear alignment between assessment, curriculum, and instruction, as well as the use of assessments that are both valid and reliable. When objectives are clearly specified and connected to instruction, summative assessment provides information about a student's achievement...
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