The Student Role in Formative Assessment: How I Know Practitioner Guide

Download the “Formative Assessment: The Student Role” Practitioner Guide

One of the key distinguishers of formative assessment lies in the relationship between a student and teacher in the shared ownership of assessing what students know and are able to do.

In fact, the definition of formative assessment crafted by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) points specifically points to that role:

Formative assessment is a planned ongoing process used by all students and teachers during learning and teaching to elicit and use evidence of student learning to improve student understanding of intended disciplinary learning outcomes, and support students to become more self-directed learners.

~ CCSSO Formative Assessment for Students and Teachers State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards (FAST SCASS).

It is critical that students understand their role in a formative assessment classroom environment. Student behaviors include: engaging with learning goals, developing success criteria, providing feedback to peers, receiving feedback from teachers and peers, and more.

Thanks to the How I Know: Designing Meaningful Formative Assessment Practice project, an initiative of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, resources to help teachers and students are being made publicly available both here – and on the How I Know website.

The How I Know Practitioner Guide “Formative Assessment: The Student Role” outlines:

  • Definitions of Formative Assessment
  • Dimensions of Formative Assessment
  • Student Actions

Download Here

This guide has been designed as a tool to enhance formative assessment in a learner friendly format to be easily posted within a classroom. It is student-centered and places each learner at the “wheel” as they check and connect on what they are learning and doing.

It is organized around the ten dimensions of formative assessment, as outlined by FAST SCASS, and outlined in the publication Using the Formative Assessment Rubrics, Reflection and Observation Tools to Support Professional Reflection on Practice (FARROP).

The infographic content is adapted from Using the Formative Assessment Rubrics, Reflection and Observation Tools to Support Professional Reflection on Practice (Wylie and Lyon, 2016). It draws on information from the FARROP rubrics for each of the ten dimensions of formative assessment. Special thanks to Nancy Gerzon and the WestEd team for their contributions.

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation invites all to join in the journey to understand how students know and to visit the project website, which you can check out by clicking here.

For more, see:

This post is a part of a series focused on the “How I Know: Designing Meaningful Formative Assessment” initiative sponsored by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. See the How I Know website ( and join the conversation on Twitter using #HowIKnow or #FormativeAssessment.

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