Formative assessment is an integral part of the following initiatives in Iowa Schools:
Within the standards for AIW, special emphasis is placed on cognitive complexity, or teaching for understanding. Formative assessments are used to determine the progress of students toward deeper levels of understanding. “Research on authentic intellectual work throughout the United States indicated that in grades 3 – 12, across the subjects of mathematics, social studies, language arts, science, and regardless of race, gender, or social class, students who experienced higher levels of instruction and assessment that promoted authentic intellectual work showed higher achievement than students who experienced lower levels of instruction and assessment aimed toward authentic intellectual work.” Newmann, Fred M., Bruce King, and Dana Carmichael. Authentic Instruction and Assessment. Prepared for the Iowa Department of Education, 2007.
CGI provides a framework for assessing students’ thinking. CGI teachers use formative assessments and learn how to use what their children currently understand to plan instructional activities for these students. CGI incorporates the three critical criteria for authentic intellectual work, construction of knowledge, disciplined inquiry, and value of achievement beyond school.
ECR is a K-12 program designed to provide research-based content and the facilitation needed for improving instruction in order to accelerate the achievement of all students. The initiative provides teachers with professional development in the five components of reading, reading strategies, using data to drive instructional decisions, and the use of classroom-based assessments for frequent, ongoing monitoring of student progress.
The ESC initiative states clearly that teaching for understanding emphasizes problem-based instructional tasks and meaningful distributed practice with emphasis on the three criteria critical to significant intellectual accomplishment – construction of knowledge, disciplined inquiry, and the value of achievement beyond school. ESC provides professional development to mathematics educators in formative assessment strategies and how to base instructional decisions on student understanding.
Our Kids is a professional development program for teachers of English language learners. The program provides teachers with the opportunity to learn strategies, including formative assessments, to effectively help students learn both English and content in the classroom.