Formative Assessment

The rising educator finds ways to spur student growth through the creative, knowledgeable usage of formative assessment strategies.
Made by Educators Rising
Earn Graduate Credit
Graduate-level credit is available for this micro-credential. You can apply for credit through one of our university partners after successfully completing the micro-credential.
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

The rising educator measures student growth and plans appropriately by strategically selecting, using, and reflecting on a variety of formative assessment tools while teaching. The rising educator uses evidence of student learning to improve teaching and learning by individualizing next steps accordingly.

Method Components

Researcher Laura Greenstein sums up a professional consensus on formative assessment, which is rooted in three significant concepts:

  1. Formative assessment is focused on students.
  2. Formative assessment is instructionally informative.
  3. Formative assessment is based on outcomes.

Frequent opportunities for teachers to identify student progress and provide feedback are at the heart of formative assessment. Formative assessments are used to capture snapshots of students' knowledge or skill at particular moments. There are many ways that teachers generate these snapshots of how their students are doing to track their progress.

Some aspects of effective formative assessment strategies include:

  • Use questions as assessments and as feedback that moves learning forward.
  • Involve students in thinking about their learning.
  • Plan to assess learning during and between lessons (short-cycle formative assessment).
  • Provide immediate feedback.
  • Look for patterns in student work and plan future instruction based on the results.

How Can Rising Educators Use Formative Assessment Effectively?

This micro-credential focuses on minute-to-minute, short-cycle formative assessment. While teaching, rising educators will provide immediate, targeted instructional support to students during a learning experience. Essentially, they take snapshots of where their students are, and use that data to make choices about how to help their students move forward.

Rising educators should:

  1. Clarify and share learning intentions and criteria for success
  2. Engineer tasks and discussions that elicit evidence of student learning
  3. Provide feedback that moves learners forward
  4. Activate students as learning partners for one another
  5. Activate students as owners of their learning

Suggested Activities

It is recommended that the lesson or learning experience you will spotlight for this micro-credential submission take place with a group of learners with whom you have worked for a sustained period. This way, you can draw upon the relationships and rapport you have cultivated with the learners.

The featured lesson or learning experience in the micro-credential submission should be planned for least one or two days in advance of its implementation. This submission includes a video of you using formative assessment strategies while working with a small group of students.

Here are some examples of questions you should consider when planning this micro-credential submission:

  • What is the goal of the lesson or learning experience?
  • How do I know that this goal aligns with the curriculum or program for the learners?
  • What do I know about my learners? How have past activities, experiences, and assessments reflected their performance?
  • How can I use what I know about my learners while planning to ensure that the content and activities of the lesson or learning experience are engaging and that they support learning?
  • What formative assessment strategies will I use during the lesson?

It is recommended that you prepare, deliver, videotape, and reflect on more than one lesson, learning experience, or small-group interaction before selecting and submitting the lesson plan and video excerpt of the plan in action that best represent skilled practice in using formative assessment.

You are strongly encouraged to write a first draft of “Part 3: Reflection” within one day of teaching and videotaping the lesson. Capturing fresh memories and insights is important, and it mirrors how skilled educators have to move quickly to reflect on teaching experiences and immediately move forward.

Educators Rising Standards Alignment

This micro-credential is aligned to the following Educators Rising Standards:

II. Learning About Students
III. Building Content Knowledge
IV. Engaging in Responsive Planning
V. Implementing Instruction
VI. Using Assessment and Data
VII. Engaging in Reflective Practice

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998, October). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2), 139-148.
  • Heritage, M. (2007, October). Formative assessment: What do teachers need to know and do? Phi Delta Kappan, 89(2), 140-145.
  • Marzano, R. J. (2010). Formative assessment and standards-based grading. Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research.
  • Moss, C. M., & Brookhart, S. M. (2009). Advancing formative assessment in every classroom: A guide for instructional leaders. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
    This highly recommended book describes common misconceptions and mindsets that limit the effectiveness of formative assessment and provides suggested strategies and best practices.


  • Greenstein, L. (2010). The fundamentals of formative assessment. In What teachers really need to know about formative assessment. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Retrieved from
  • Marzano, R. J. (2006). The case for classroom assessment. In Classroom assessment & grading that work. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Retrieved from
  • Wiggins, G. (2012, September). Seven keys to effective feedback. Educational Leadership, 70(1), 10-16. Retrieved from,
  • Wiliam, D., and Leohy, S. (2015). Embedding formative assessment. West Palm Beach: Learning Sciences International.
    This book includes practical strategies, tips for success, and common errors when implementing formative assessment.

Example Unit and Lesson Plans

Sample Videos of Formative Assessment in Action

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

To complete the application for this micro-credential, the rising educator will complete the Educators Rising Formative Assessment submission form. To earn the micro-credential, the rising educator must earn a score of “Highly Skilled” or “Commendable” on all components of the Part 1, 2, and 3 rubrics. If the rising educator does not earn the micro-credential, he/she is encouraged to reflect on where the submission fell short, address those areas successfully per the rubric, and resubmit. Remember to download the Educators Rising Formative Assessment submission form for compiling your submission here:

Part 1. Overview Questions

  • Instructional Context Overview: Complete the questionnaire provided in the submission form.

Part 2. Artifacts

  • Lesson Plan

    Submit the fully developed lesson plan that you created for the lesson featured in the video. It is recommended that you develop this in a separate document and then paste it into the submission form for this micro-credential.

    The lesson plan must include:
    • A clear goal and objective
    • Alignment to relevant learning standards
    • Essential questions
    • A clear progression of strategically selected activities in the lesson that will maximize engagement of all learners
    • A plan to assess learners’ understanding of the content of the lesson
    • A plan to collect relevant data from the lesson to make informed decisions on next steps
  • Teaching Video (4-6 minutes)

    Submit an unedited video, no shorter than four minutes and no longer than six minutes in length, of you implementing formative assessment strategies while working with a small group (no fewer than two and no more than six students). The video must clearly show you implementing formative assessment strategies as an educator, and the spoken words in the small group must be clearly audible.

    To maintain student privacy, we recommend pasting the link to an unlisted YouTube video of your teaching in the submission form. The video will be used by Educators Rising exclusively to score your micro-credential submission, and it will not be shared publicly.

Part 3: Reflection

Compose a reflective essay using the following guiding questions (500-word maximum; use the provided submission form).

  • What did you learn from implementing the formative assessment strategies in the lesson? How did you gain those insights? Be specific.
  • How did your implementation of the formative assessment strategies fit with your expectations when you were planning the lesson? Were there any surprises?
  • Based on what you learned from the formative assessment strategies you used in the lesson, what are your next steps to support learners’ growth?
  • If you could go back and redo this lesson, what, if anything, would you do differently and why?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
Requirements for Formative Assessment
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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