The key to understanding true formative assessment and implementing it effectively is ongoing professional development where there is time for collaboration and share out among teachers. It has been found that the “workshop here workshop there” model causes a significant amount of frustration among staff members since there is not enough preparation time to be able to understand and integrate the assessment methods presented.
Well-designed professional development sessions focusing on formative assessment must have an understanding of the concept of assessment literacy. To begin to design formative assessment for your classes, you must first define the strategies needed to create them: what the students already know, where they need to go in their learning, and what steps are necessary to push them forward. Once you understand the strategies, then there is a clear picture of what needs to be created and how to drive instruction based on the data gathered from these informal assessments.
When teachers strategically plan what they will formatively assess their students on during the instructional period there is a significant and positive impact on both student academic performance and the efficient use of instructional time.