The Power of Formative Assessment

  • Cathy Box


This chapter describes the concept and aim of formative assessment, how it is realized in the classroom, and how teachers and students can use it to improve instruction and build student agency. Formative assessment has great potential to raise student achievement and instill, develop, and support metacognition in students, yet educators are often uncertain about methods and means of implementation. Findings from the learning sciences reveal flaws in the instructivist approach to instruction and support the use of formative assessment in a learner-centered, constructivist environment. However, instructionism persists, driven by cultural norms and undergirded by behaviorist theories of practice. Of those who have adopted formative assessment practices, some have distorted its use to conform to their pre-existing behaviorist theories about learners and learning, resulting in conformative assessment or “criteria compliance.” Others have adopted formative assessment as a disparate set of strategies stacked on top of an already bulging curriculum—diluting or negating its effectiveness. When implemented correctly in a learner-centered, constructivist environment however, it has great potential to equip and empower students in their own learning and raise student achievement, even on high-stakes, standardized tests.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cathy Box
    • 1
  1. 1.Lubbock Christian UniversityLubbockUSA

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