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Formative Assessment and Digital Library FAQs


Formative Assessment

  1. What is formative assessment?

    Formative assessment is a deliberate process used by teachers with students during instruction that provides actionable feedback that is used to adjust teaching and learning strategies to improve students’ attainment of learning targets and goals. Formative assessment is a process, not a test.

  2. What are the components of the formative assessment process?

    The components, or attributes, are: (1) clarify intended learning; (2) elicit evidence; (3) interpret evidence; and (4) act on evidence.

  3. What is an example of the formative assessment process?

    The formative assessment process involves any teaching or learning strategy that effectively completes one or more of the formative assessment attributes. The formative assessment process has four attributes:

    Attribute 1: Clarify intended learning. The teacher identifies the instructional goal, communicates the goal to students, and provides the criteria by which learning will be assessed so each student and the teacher knows whether the student is successfully progressing toward the goal.

    Attribute 2: Elicit evidence. After a period of instruction, the teacher checks for students’ understanding. This could be the first draft of an essay, a ticket out the door, an answer to a question on a white board, pair-and-share observations, or a paragraph on how to solve a mathematics problem.

    Attribute 3: Interpret evidence. The teacher and each student interpret the evidence and reflect on the student’s progress toward the learning goal.

    Attribute 4: Act on evidence. The teacher makes adjustments to the ongoing instructional activities, while students also adjust their procedures for learning. The teacher and students continue to use strategies that work and eliminate strategies that are not effective.

    Formative assessment is a process, not a test.

  4. What role does the formative assessment process play in the Smarter Balanced Assessment System?
    The formative assessment process is used for learning. When educators use the formative assessment process, they can achieve a clear understanding of where their students are in the learning progression. Using assessment for learning will benefit the assessment of all students’ learning. Formative assessment, therefore, is a tool that supports the Smarter Balanced goal of providing instructional strategies that support the achievement results of the summative and interim assessments.

Digital Library

  1. What is the Smarter Balanced Digital Library?

    It is an instructional, professional development library with tools to guide teachers in identifying and using the best resources for their students’ needs. It is composed of exemplar resources for instructional practices and professional learning. The resources assist teachers in using the formative assessment process. All resources are vetted using the Digital Library Quality Criteria, ensuring instruction that addresses all students’ needs.

  2. What are the Quality Criteria?

    Members of the State Network of Educators (SNE) use the Quality Criteria to vet resources submitted to the Digital Library. These criteria include alignment with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), incorporation of high-level formative assessment practices, learning modalities, student engagement, high-quality instruction, and media/technology.

  3. What resources are included in the Digital Library?

    Resources contained in the Digital Library include best practices for CCSS classroom instruction for all grade levels, demonstration videos, and research-based formative assessment tools and practices.

  4. Who may contribute to the Digital Library?

    SNE members in all Smarter Balanced states contribute resources to the Digital Library. Using the Quality Criteria, they also review resources submitted by fellow SNE members.

  5. How does the Digital Library support formative assessment and the Smarter Balanced Assessment System?

    Every resource available in the Digital Library must contain at least one attribute of the formative assessment process. Using the Digital Library’s formative assessment resources, educators can improve their students’ attainment of the CCSS, on which the Smarter Balanced assessments are based.

  6. What is the registration process?

    Registration of K–12 educators for the Digital Library is the responsibility of the designated California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) coordinator for each LEA. LEA CAASPP coordinators received the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium User Provisioning Guide for the Digital Library in May 2014. The guide provides instructions for uploading user account information. K–12 educators must contact their LEA CAASPP coordinator to set up a user account.

  7. Does the Digital Library include test items?

    No, the Digital library does not provide assessment items. Further, it is not a learning management system in which educators register for training or receive credit by completing courses. Note also that it is not a library for the general public nor a site to freely post resources. It is designed by educators for educators.

  8. Which non-public school (NPS) staff members are permitted to have access to the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments and Digital Library?

    Eligible NPS staff are educators at the NPS, whether in-state or out-of-state, who provide direct instruction to California public school students. Access to the interim assessments and Digital Library must be restricted to eligible staff. LEA CAASPP coordinators are responsible for ensuring access is restricted to eligible NPS staff.

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress | caaspp@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Friday, March 10, 2017
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