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Formative Assessment Illustrations & Examples

"A curriculum committed to independent learning is built upon the premise that inquiry, rather than mere transmission of knowledge, is the basis of teaching and learning . . . This shift from knowledge transmission to inquiry as a primary goal of schools has important implications for assessment . . . Inquiry changes the role of assessment and the roles of the participants. Within an inquiry framework, assessment is the exploration of how the educational environment and the participants in the educational community support education as a process for learning to become independent thinkers and problem solvers."

---NCTE/IRA Standards for the Assessment of Reading and Writing, Revised Edition

Strategy Guides
Making the Reading Process Visible through Performance Assessment (6-12)
Effective differentiation begins with purposeful assessment. In this strategy guide, you’ll learn how to construct an authentic performance-based reading assessment that will give you access to students’ thinking before, during, and after reading.

Exit Slips (K-12)
This strategy guide introduces the concept of using Exit Slips in the classroom to help students reflect on what they have learned and express what or how they are thinking about the new information. Exit Slips easily incorporate writing into the content area classroom and require students to think critically.

Using the Think-Pair-Share Technique (K-12)
In this strategy guide, you will learn how to organize students and classroom topics to encourage a high degree of classroom participation and assist students in developing a conceptual understanding of a topic through the use of the Think-Pair-Share technique.

Socratic Seminars (6-12)
This strategy guide explains Socratic seminars and offers practical methods for applying the approach in your classroom to help students investigate multiple perspectives in a text.

Tracking and Supporting Student Learning with Kidwatching (K-8)
In this strategy guide, you’ll learn how to use kidwatching to track and support student learning. Teachers observe and take notes on students’ understanding of skills and concepts and then use the observations to determine effective strategies for future instruction.

Online Learning

On Demand Web Seminars

Self-Paced Online Investigation

Using Evidence to Guide Teaching and Learning

Facilitated Online Courses

Using Evidence to Guide Teaching and Learning



Assessment books as purposeful observation and investigation for and of student learning:

Assessment books that



NCTE JournalsVoices from the Middle

Themed issue, "The Faces of Intervention," December 2011

Language Arts

  • "Assessment through Conversation," January 2002
    by Danling Fu and Linda Leonard Lamme
    Conversations with parents, teachers, and children around portfolios provide a more complete picture of a child's growth and understanding than standardized test scores ever can.
  • "Language Play as Response Discourse," January 1999
    Lynda Holmes illustrates how studying fourth-grade students'
    language-play response discourses and sharing students' patterns
    of thinking with them can lead to authentic assessment.

Council Chronicle
"Formative Assessment: Helping Students Grow," March 2007
What do class discussions, quick writes, reader response journals, quizzes, and writing conferences all have in common? They are all examples of the wide range of classroom-based activities that teachers use to measure how well their students are learning.

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NCTE - The National Council of Teachers Of English

A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts