Formative assessment is a multistep instructional process focused on specific learning targets. Research shows that this process, effectively implemented, can lead to achievement gains, particularly for lower performing students.
Formative assessment is a process used by teachers and students during instruction that provides feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning to improve students’ achievement of intended instructional outcomes.– CCSSO
Another benefit of formative assessment is that it can foster motivation to learn.
It is unfair to students to count toward their course grades the work they’ve produced before they have reached the level of proficiency needed to move on. After all, the DMV doesn’t include information on a candidate’s first performance behind the wheel of a driving instructor’s car when deciding whether to award a driver’s license.
Usually, evidence gathered during instruction should not be graded. It should be analyzed to determine learning gaps and inform subsequent instructional activity. This removes the tension and focus on a score so often associated with testing.
At the same time, the work students are expected to do for formative purposes should give them a good indication of the kind of tasks they will be asked to perform later, when the work will be graded. And that should happen when the student is ready and confident that he or she has a good handle on the desired learning outcomes.