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Exploring elementary teachers' implementation of formative assessment practices for reading

Irving Richardson, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The purpose of the study was to determine whether or not elementary classroom teachers’ exploration of an integrated theoretical model of formative assessment would change participants’ understandings of formative assessment and whether or not participants would apply this newly-acquired knowledge to their classroom assessment practices. After exploring elements of formative assessment in a collaborative study group, participants applied new understandings to their classroom assessment practices. The model of formative assessment explored by the study group included these elements: the articulation of clear learning outcomes, the alignment of instruction and assessment to learning outcomes; the providing of feedback to students and using feedback to plan future instruction; and the involvement of students in classroom assessment practices. Previous research on formative assessment has demonstrated the importance of individual elements of formative assessment. This case study provided teachers with an integrated theoretical model that included all of the elements of formative assessment identified in the research literature and used this model as the basis for professional development to change teachers’ classroom practice. Data were gathered through surveys, study group transcripts, participant reflections, classroom observations, interviews with students and documents from individual classrooms. Data were analyzed using a constant comparative method in an effort to identify categories and themes that emerged for changes in teachers’ understandings and classroom practices for each of the elements of formative assessment. Results of the study indicate that the collaborative study group changed teachers’ understandings of the elements of formative assessment, the important relationships among the elements and the teachers’ classroom formative assessment practices. The collaborative study group also provided participants with a supportive environment in which to share their experiences as they attempted to implement new assessment practices in their classrooms.

Subject Area

Literacy|Reading instruction|Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

Richardson, Irving, "Exploring elementary teachers' implementation of formative assessment practices for reading" (2010). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3409838.