Districts increase formative testing to generate real-time data, reduce high-stakes exams
Educators in a school district that conducts well-designed formative assessments should be able to accurately predict how students will perform on midterms, finals and high-stakes exams.
A growing number of experts and administrators insist that if a district excels at formative assessment, its students shouldn’t have to sit through so many high-stakes tests.
Formative assessments shift focus to a students’ growth and away from a single year-end grade or test score—when it’s too late to intervene, says Michael Horn, an assessment expert and co-founder of Clayton Christensen Institute, a think tank with a focus on education.
“The future is more frequent, smaller, less obtrusive assessments that are more helpful for learning,” Horn says. “We know that tests are important, but more useful testing leads to better understanding of what learning we ought to be doing next.”