The Role, Purpose and Power of Assessment FOR Learning in an Assessment System – Margaret Heritage

Assessment Learning Network, February 13, 2017

Featured Presentation

The purpose of formative assessment is to inform ongoing teaching and learning in everyday classroom practice rather than to measure it or sum it up. In this presentation, formative assessment will be considered within the framework of a comprehensive assessment system as a means to ensure the learning needs of all students are continuously and consistently addressed. The presentation will explore what formative assessment is, what it is not, and why educators and other stakeholders should care about it; the distinctive yet complementary roles of teachers and students in formative assessment and how these are operationalized in the classroom; and the optimal classroom culture for formative assessment. The presentation will also consider the status of formative assessment implementation in the United States. Drawing on cross-national policy contexts, the presentation will also address how formative assessment can be promoted through policy and professional learning.


Framing Questions

  1. How does the use of formative assessment practices improve students’ learning?
  2. Why do students need to be partners in the assessment process?
  3. How do assessment practices in the U.S. compare to those in other countries?
Event Resources

Presentation Video

The Role, Purpose and Power of Assessment FOR Learning in an Assessment System

Presenter: Margaret Heritage

Margaret Heritage is an independent consultant in education and a senior advisor to WestEd. Previously, she spent 22 years at UCLA, first as principal of the laboratory school of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, and then as an Assistant Director at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing. Before joining UCLA, Heritage worked for many years in schools in the United Kingdom. She was a member of the faculty in the Department of Education at the University of Warwick, England, and has taught in the Departments of Education at UCLA and Stanford University. Her work is published in peer-reviewed journals, edited books, and practitioner journals.

Learning Moments

How do you define formative assessment?
What impact would formative assessment best practices have on student learning if they were used widely across the state?
Why do students need to be partners in the assessment process?
How do assessment practices in the US compare to those in other countries?
With so many players in the system, how can any one person begin to change system-wide assessment practices from their own individual role?
What is one message that you would like to leave with the educational professions of Michigan?
Give us an example of good formative assessment practice at work in a classroom you've visited.
What learning conditions need to be in place in order for formative assessment practices to work well?

Learning Points

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