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A review was carried out by Black and Wiliam (1998a) of over 250 articles concerned with formative assessment, the aim being to see if there was any evidence of formative assessment improving pupil performance.  There were three main conclusions of the review

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that there was strong evidence to suggest that standards could be raised by adopting this method

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that teachers use of formative assessment needed improvement

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that there was some evidence of the activities that teachers could be used to improve formative assessment

The results of the review were published in the booklet Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment (Black and Wiliam 1998b).   The authors recognised that teachers will not start using formative assessment just because the research says that it is good and works, they are too busy for that, they need practical ways in which it can be easily included into their day to day teaching.   

To attempt to provide the help that teachers could actually use the research project (KMOFAP) set up.  It involved 24 science and maths teachers, who were given training and practical help on how they could implement formative assessment in their classroom.   Working inside the black box: Assessment for learning in the classroom (Black et al 2002) documented the findings of this project.

 The results were good and the pupils involved showed improvements of almost a GCSE grade or if taken across a whole school it would mean that a school in the lower percentile of the national performance tables would improve to well above national average. (More)

Assessment for Learning has recently been adopted as part of the KS3 strategy for whole school training to support improvement. (More)

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Last modified: 08/12/04