Archive for the ‘Historical’ Category.

Formative Assessment – Bloom's Contribution

Benjamin S. Bloom, yes the guy who brought us Bloom’s Taxonomy, played a big role in the science of formative assessment.

Much of his research was on the study of educational objectives and educational assessment. Bloom’s taxonomy can help teachers better prepare objectives and derive appropriate assessments.

Bloom’s Mastery Learning methodology encourages teachers to first organize the concepts and skills they want students to learn into short units. After delivering instruction on the unit, teachers administer an assessment based on the unit’s learning goals. Bloom recommended calling this a formative assessment.

Bloom borrowed the expression “formative assessment” from Scriven (1967). Scriven had used the terms summative and formative to differentiate different types of evaluations.

Bloom, Hasting and Madaus produced the Handbook of Formative and Summative Evaluation in 1971. According to the handbood formative assessment helps students and teachers identify specifically what has been learned well to that point and what has not.

The following article covers Mastery Learning quite well.

Formative Assessment – Inside the Black Box

Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards Through Classroom
Assessment by Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam

This article constitutes an important milestone in the history of formative assessment.

Following an extensive survey of research litterature, Black and William’s concluded that formative assessment was one of the best ways of raising standards.

“The main plank of our argument is that standards
can be raised only by changes that are put into direct effect by teachers and pupils in classrooms.  There is a body of firm evidence that formative assessment is an essential component of classroom work and that its development can raise standards of achievement. We know of no other way of raising standards for which such a strong prima facie case can be made. Our plea is that national and state policy makers will grasp this opportunity and take the lead in this direction.”

Our definition of formative assessment is greatly influenced by the following sentence from that article.

“assessment becomes formative assessment when the
evidence is actually used to adapt the teaching to meet student needs”

The article can be found at: