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Article  February 1, 2017

Formative assessment and elementary school student academic achievement: A review of the evidence

SRI Authors Mary M. Klute

Citation

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Klute, M., Apthorp, H., Harlacher, J., & Reale, M. (2017). Formative assessment and elementary school student academic achievement: A review of the evidence (REL 2017–259). U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Central.

Abstract

Formative assessment is a process that engages teachers and students in gathering and using information about what students are learning. This comprehensive and systematic review identifies 22 rigorous studies of the effectiveness of formative assessment interventions among elementary students. Results of the study indicate that, overall, formative assessment has a positive effect on student achievement. On average, across the studies, students who participated in formative assessment performed better on measures of academic achievement than those who did not. Formative assessment interventions in mathematics had larger effects, on average, than formative assessment interventions in reading or writing. Both student-directed formative assessment and formative assessment directed by other agents, such as a teacher or a computer program, appear to be effective for mathematics. Other-directed formative assessment interventions appear to be more effective for reading than student-directed formative assessment interventions.

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