Some Thoughts on “Proximal” Formative Assessment of Student Learning
by Frederick Erickson — 2007
One of the basic problems in relating educational evaluation and educational practice is that the two activities often take place on radically differing time scales. It is not only a matter of aims—that evaluation of local educational practice as conducted by external researchers (or by the use of instruments designed by external researchers, as in the case of formal testing) may be done “summatively” for purposes of external accountability, and so the information collected may not directly inform the local conduct of instruction and school administration. It is also a matter of timeliness, in that whatever information is collected from a local site of practice may not be analyzed and communicated back to the site in time for frontline service providers to do anything about it, that is, in time for teachers to adapt their ongoing instruction in light of the information provided by the assessment.
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