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Improving Formative Assessment Practice to Empower Student Learning

Supercharge your formative assessment skills and watch student learning soar with this book’s proven method. Includes case studies, examples, and a companion website with tools and templates.

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Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12, Elementary, Secondary
  • ISBN: 9781412997010
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2012
  • Page Count: 160
  • Publication date: December 26, 2012

Price: $39.95

Price: $39.95
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Supercharge your formative assessment skills and watch student learning soar!

Teachers routinely ask and answer a series of three questions with and for students: Where are my students headed? Where are they right now? How can I close the gap between where they are and where I want them to be? This text suggests that teachers also ask these parallel questions of themselves:

  • Where am I going?
  • What can formative assessment practice look like?
  • Where am I currently in my formative assessment practice?
  • How do I close the gap?

Readers are then encouraged to select a specific aspect of formative assessment to investigate, explore relevant personal practice relevant to that aspect, implement necessary changes, reflect on those changes, and continue the change process.

This practical guide can be used by individual teachers or collaboratively as a study guide for a learning community. The authors describe an effective four-step process for improving teachers' formative assessment practices that provides opportunities to reflect, consider alternative instructional approaches, and apply what they have learned. Case studies provide examples of formative assessment in practice, along with examples of teacher-implemented changes. A companion website includes an array of tools and templates for organizing, gathering, and systematically using information to strengthen formative assessment skills.

This practical guide can be used by individual teachers or collaboratively as a study guide for a learning community. Case studies provide examples of formative assessment in practice, along with examples of teachers implementing changes in their practice. A companion website includes an array of tools and templates for organizing, gathering, and systematically using information to strengthen formative assessment skills.

Key features

  • Sets forth a four-step, cycle-within-a-cycle process (see Figure 1.2) where the reader is encouraged to select a theme to investigate, explore personal practice relevant to that theme, implement changes where needed and then reflect on changes, and continue the change process when ready.
  • Offers real-world examples from a variety of grades and subject areas of teachers using formative assessment in their classrooms as they go through the process of changing practice.
  • Provides an array of online tools such as templates for organizing, gathering, and systematically using information to serve your formative-assessment development needs on a companion website
  • Clearly outlines objectives and big ideas. The authors begin each chapter with a clearly stated objective and close each chapter with a summary of the big idea. This presentation method serves both to focus each chapter and to reinforce knowledge/skill development.
  • Each chapter concludes with a set of questions to help teachers think more deeply about the chapter's main ideas.




E. Caroline Wylie photo

E. Caroline Wylie

E. Caroline Wylie is a research scientist at Educational Testing Service. She holds a undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics and Physics, a postgraduate certificate in teaching mathematics and information technology and a doctorate in educational assessment, all from Queen’s University, Belfast.

Her current research addresses issues of the use of formative assessment to improve classroom teaching and learning. She has been involved in projects that are focused on the creation of effective, scaleable and sustainable teacher professional development. Related research projects have focused on the formative use of diagnostic questions for classroom-based assessment, and the impact that the sustained use of such questions have on classroom instruction and student learning. Current work includes an investigation of how learning progressions can be used to support formative assessment in mathematics. Several of these projects have been supported by large grants, for which she been the principal investigator or co- principal investigator.

Previous work at ETS includes serving as the lead ETS developer of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certificates for middle and high school science teachers and elementary school art teachers.

Arlen R. Gullickson photo

Arlen R. Gullickson

Arlen R. Gullickson, Ph.D., is professor emeritus at Western Michigan University. He served as The Evaluation Center director from 2002 to 2007 and as its Chief of Staff of from 1991-2002. Dr. Gullickson chaired the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation from 1998 to 2008 during which time the Committee developed The Student Evaluation Standards (2002), revised The Personnel Evaluation Standards, Second Edition (2007), and was engaged in revising The Program Evaluation Standards, Second Edition (1994) for the 3rd edition published in 2010. He has worked extensively in education as a secondary math and science teacher, professor of educational research and evaluation, and in the conduct of federally funded research and evaluation projects. In 2011 he stepped down from directing an NSF funded Advanced Technological Education evaluation resource center (EvaluATE) to become its co-director. He has received several major service awards including: the Western Michigan University’s Distinguished Service Award (2002), the American Evaluation Association’s Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Evaluation Practice (2007), and the Consortium for Research on Educational Accountability and Teacher Evaluation’s Jason Millman Scholar award (2oo8). Although his primary work emphasis for the past 20 years has focused on program evaluation, he maintains a strong interest in classroom evaluation practices. He has authored numerous journal articles, book chapters and book materials. With Peter Airasian he authored the Teacher Self-Evaluation Tool Kit (1997) which presaged many of the ideas presented in this book.
Katharine E. Cummings photo

Katharine E. Cummings

Dr. Cummings earned a Ph.D. in Secondary Education with an emphasis in teacher preparation at the University of Illinois in 1989. Prior to that time, she was a high school teacher and counselor in Fargo, North Dakota. Cummings directed the secondary education program at North Dakota State University before moving to Western Michigan University in 1999. She has coordinated the School/University Partnership Team at WMU and was co-coordinator of the CITE Collaborative with Kalamazoo Public Schools in 2002-03. Currently, Cummings serves as the associate dean of the College of Education and Human Development at WMU and provides technical assistance in the assessment of student learning for academic and student services programs. Her research interests include the assessment of candidates in teacher education, the use of benchmarking to build assessment skills in preservice and in-service teachers, and program evaluation in higher education. Nationally, she has served as a member of the NCATE Board of Examiners and on the Association of Teacher Educators’ Commission on Teacher Induction and Retention.
Paula E. Egelson photo

Paula E. Egelson

Dr. Paula Egelson is the director of leadership research at the Southern Regional Education Board in Atlanta. She was formerly the director of the Center for Partnerships to Improve Education at the College of Charleston (SC).

Dr. Egelson has an undergraduate degree in child development, a master’s degree in reading education, and a doctorate in educational leadership. She has worked as a community organizer, a school improvement and literacy program director for a federally-funded educational lab, a K-8 classroom teacher, and as a reading specialist. Dr. Egelson has served as the principal investigator for several large literacy grants. She has a background in research and has developed teacher evaluation, literacy, high school performance assessment, class-size reduction, school improvement and English language learners products for PreK-12 educators.
Lindsay Akers Noakes photo

Lindsay Akers Noakes

Ms. Noakes is an Assessment for Learning research fellow in The Evaluation Center and a doctoral student in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Evaluation at Western Michigan University. In this capacity, she is involved with the evaluation of numerous education programs in schools and communities. She is actively engaged in Assessment for Learning research and works toward helping educators implement research-based student assessment and evaluation practices in a variety of contexts.

Ms. Noakes holds a Master’s in Mathematics Education and has been involved in numerous educational reform projects and committees. As a classroom teacher for ten years, she has worked with students in grades 5 through 12 specializing in instruction for gifted and talented students. Lindsay currently focuses on work with preservice teachers.

Kelley M. Norman photo

Kelley M. Norman

Ms. Norman is an instructional coach working with math and science teachers for Topeka, Kansas, Public Schools. She has a Bachelor of Elementary Education and English Literature from Washburn University. Her teaching experience includes 4th grade and 6th grade math. Ms. Norman serves on her district's committee for curriculum and assessment and is particularly passionate about the creation, administration, and analysis of formative assessments for the purpose of increasing student achievement in her district. Kelley has been actively involved in the formative assessment work we engaged in through the NSF grant.
Sally A. Veeder photo

Sally A. Veeder

Prior to her retirement from Western Michigan University in September 2010, Ms. Veeder served as assistant director of the WMU Evaluation Center for more than 26 years. Included in her many duties (supervising staff, serving as a member of several project staff projects, signing off on the proposals and reports developed by staff members, approving travel and other expenses, etc.) was proofreading/editing the many proposals, reports, correspondence, and books that were developed/written by Center staff members. In addition, she collected and wrote the information/contributions of Evaluation Center staff for the bimonthly University newsletter (PRISM). She twice served as an officer of the University’s Administrative Professional Association and received quarterly and annual WMU Support Staff Awards. In addition, she served on the staff of the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation during the periods that Daniel Stufflebeam and Arlen Gullickson served as the chair of that committee. Two books were written during those periods, and Ms. Veeder edited both: The Student Evaluation Standards: How to Improve Evaluations of Students and The Personnel Evaluation Standards: How to Assess Systems for Evaluating Educators.
Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of Web Tools



About the Authors


Who Is This Book For?

Special Features of This Book

Chapter Highlights

1. Introduction to Improving Formative Assessment Practice

Formative and Summative Assessment

Evaluation and Formative Assessment

Evaluation and Professional Development

The Self-Evaluation Process

Overview of the Chapters

2. Examining Formative Assessment

Formative Assessment in Practice

Understanding Formative Assessment

The Impact of Formative Assessment on Learning

Formative Assessment Characteristics Used in the “How-To Guide”

Summary: The Big Idea of Chapter 2

Questions for Individual Consideration

Questions for Consideration as a Learning Community

3. Getting Started on Your Self-Evaluation Journey

Beginning the Self-Evaluation Process

Developing Familiarity with Formative Assessment

Am I Ready to Engage in This Process?

Summary: The Big Idea of Chapter 3

4. A Targeted Look at One Area

Personal Reflection on Strengths and Areas for Improvement

Collecting Evidence of Practice

Assessing Quality of Information

Selecting an Area for Improvement


Summary: The Big Idea for Chapter 4

5. Support for Making Changes to Practice

The Cycle-Within-The-Cycle: Act, Reflect, Revise

Sources of Support

How Will I Know When I am Ready to Choose a New Target or Characteristic?

Summary: The Big Idea of Chapter 5

6. Self-Evaluation of Changes to Practice

Chain of Evidence

Collecting Evidence of Effects

Sources of Evidence

Additional Considerations

Summing Up

Summary: The Big Idea of Chapter 6

7. Putting It All Together




Price: $39.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.

Related Resources

  • Access to companion resources is available with the purchase of this book.