Formative Assessment

Project Contact

Pam Robertson

Project Details

The Assessment Research Centre has a strong research culture, international reputation, and theoretical base in the use of formative assessment to improve teaching and learning. The Centre regularly works with educators and education systems to support the implementation of best-practice use of formative assessment in classrooms. While many understandings of formative assessment exist, the Centre views formative assessment as any assessment that is used to inform teaching in order to promote and facilitate learning. As a process, formative assessment involves an ongoing cycle of gathering or generating evidence of what students know, can do and understand, then interpreting and using that evidence to inform teaching that helps students to progress in their learning. This requires educators to interpret a variety of sources of assessment evidence, generated in various learning contexts, in order to make fair and balanced judgements in relation to a learning continuum or progression and thereby identify learning goals for each student. Feedback is a key element in formative assessment, enabling educators to inform students of their progress during their learning, thereby supporting and fostering long-term growth.

The Centre has completed a range of major projects, both nationally and internationally, focused on formative assessment. Highlights include:

  • The Guide to Formative Assessment Rubrics and professional learning activities

    The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, in collaboration with the Assessment Research Centre, has developed the Guide to Formative Assessment Rubrics.

    The primary purpose of the Guide is to provide advice to teachers about how to develop formative assessment rubrics in order to decide what students know and can do, and what they are ready to learn next, with a focus on articulating the progression of learning using a level of granularity that supports students to progress. Accompanying the Guide are nine professional learning modules that schools and teachers can work through independently.

    Access the guide and modules.
  • Formative Assessment projects in the Philippines

A multi-phase study to investigate and enhance formative assessment practices in Philippine classrooms has been conducted by the Assessment Curriculum and Technology Research Centre (ACTRC), a partnership between the Assessment Research Centre, University of Melbourne and the University of the Philippines, supported by the Australian Government. As part of broader educational reforms in the Philippines, an assessment framework that includes formative approaches to assessment has been introduced. This shift in approach encourages teachers to use a mixture of formal and informal assessment data to improve student learning. The goal of the policy is to help teachers recognise relevant intervention practices that will improve student learning outcomes. ACTRC has conducted observational studies to examine formative assessment practices in Philippine classrooms and has subsequently developed professional development modules with the Philippines Department of Education to support teachers to improve their use of formative assessment in the classroom.

Links to Formative Assessment projects in the Philippines: