Formative assessment ensures students are learning successfully, as we constantly review data regarding students’ learning performance and our implementation and modification of instructional strategies to improve student achievement.

What does good assessment practices look like? Cale Birk argues that schools need to be places where students are inspired to try instead of where students spend their time cowering in fear of failure. Bill Ferriter claims that we need to create buildings that take a mastery — instead of performance — orientation to learning outcomes. Mindshift also tackles this issue by stating the difference between mastery and performance orientiations to learning, is the difference between the kind of learning that students experience in summer camps and the kind of learning in today’s high-stakes classrooms. According to Mindshift, in summer camps, students learn for the sake of learning.  Every day is an opportunity to explore, to think, and to experiment without  worrying if you are correct or will experience failure. 

In the words of Rick Stiggins, hitting targets is not half as important
as being willing to continue shooting in mastery-driven learning environments.

Dean Shareski has uploaded several videos about assessment to help teachers develop a positive learning culture.

  • Assessment Success Stories – Dean interviews people who detail effective assessment experiences in their professional lives.
  • Student Involved Assessment – This 2004 video is still relevant as educators delve into providing effective formative assessment. The video features various students and teachers talking about assessment for learning.
  • Rethinking Assessment  – Jill Tressel looks at ways teachers are using student involvement and assessment for learning as a new approach to helping students.

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