IntelAssessing Projects : Using Assessment to Improve Teaching and Learning

Purposes of Assessment | Types of Assessment | Assess Thinking | Successful Assessment

Project Design

Formative Assessment

Overview and Benefits

Try It

Assessment Plans

Assessment Strategies


Assessing Projects (CD)

Assessing Projects* (online)

Differentiated Instruction

Meeting Learners’ Needs
Developing Self-Directed Learners

Case Studies in Differentiation

Intermediate Phase Case Study
Senior Phase Case Study
FET Phase Case Study


What Research Says about Formative Assessment
Integrating formative assessment into teaching and learning challenges both teachers and learners. Is it worth it? Research provides a definitive answer: Yes, it is.

In 1998, Black and Wiliam reviewed 21 research studies and about 580 articles or chapters on the impact of formative assessment on learner achievement. They found that “innovations that include strengthening the practice of formative assessment produce significant and often substantial learning gains” (p. 9). In their analysis, they found an effect size between 0.4 and 0.7, a number that exceeds the impact of most educational interventions.

Stiggins (2004) confirmed this conclusion by concluding that effective classroom assessment can have an impact of an increase of a full standard deviation on learner test scores, a result that is comparable to the results of one-on-one tutoring. While formative assessment improves the learning of all learners from all phases (Black et al., 2003), studies show that low achievers who need the extra help benefit the most (Black & Wiliam, 1998).

Formative assessment does not, however, on its own improve learning, any more than weighing a pig fattens it. Learners grow as learners when the information collected from formative assessments is used constructively to meet their individual needs and to help them become independent learners.

Learners enter today’s classrooms from a variety of backgrounds with a wide range of abilities and interests. Formative assessment helps teachers meet the individual needs of their learners through differentiated instruction.

Developing the skills necessary for lifelong learning is critical for success in the 21st Century. By using formative assessments strategically, learners develop the skills to become self-directed learners.