If we define “formative assessments” as those that impact instruction, I am hard-pressed to decide what is not a formative assessment! This year, my PLC teachers have developed a targeted, proactive system of reteach and retest. Students cannot retest if they have not had a new learning experience, and a student cannot keep a grade lower than an 80. While we all agree that our students are learning more than they would have under previous policies, we do not agree that our current grades truly reflect our students’ current knowledge.
Shawn Cornally posts on his blog about his school’s transition to Standards-Based Grading. It seems similar to the practices my PLC has stumbled into. I am beginning to believe that all of the assessments we are doing this year should be classified as formative, and we need to develop a set of summative assessments that students take when they have proven readiness. Mr. Cornally mentions that he gives some of these summative assessments every Thursday to keep students aware of a timetable even if there are no deadlines for completing learning.