The Micro-feedback Formative Assessment
process (MFA) described within this book integrates effective formative feedback, assessment,
action research and professional learning communities at their highest impact
levels. The pivotal elements of IMPACT within each endeavor are carefully
orchestrated to shift from a data emphasis that ascertains “what” a student is
able to do (raw score, performance level, percentile, etc.) to a discrete learning
target within a standard or progression.
The timely evidence produced begins to pinpoint
“why” a student is struggling, not just “that” s/he is struggling. Once
the point of struggle is determined, focused instruction can be directed specifically
to the identified learning need. As pivotal elements within a progression of
learning are understood, many accompanying elements also become apparent to the
learner… resulting in significant gains in performance. As we move to Common
Core Standards, this approach will bring formative assessment to life and shed
light on how to work with students to address whatever learning needs become
apparent from both standardized and local assessment results. Student growth
data becomes clear as the practice becomes second nature!
process is doable within current work demands, taps into areas of curricular
interest to educators and provides immediate feedback useful for instructional
Testimonial by Curriculum Coordinator Murphy
School District began working with micro-feedback formative assessments in
September of 2008. We had attempted several “quick fixes” to raise student
achievement in math, and our scores remained dismal. The work was focused on
the elementary math program. We began by teaching staff how to write an
informative formative assessment; and how to use the data from that assessment
to adjust lessons…and we saw student achievement begin to climb! Next we made tough
decisions on what was important to emphasize in student learning [power
standard])…and we saw our scores climb again!
This past year the teachers worked on a logical sequence for teaching
math concepts and skills [learning progressions]. We saw the best June standardized scores that
we have ever seen. Working with this
process has been the best thing that has happened in math in our district! Students and teachers are saying they enjoy
math, and parents are very pleased with the results!”
Testimonial by Principal Allen
“We began using the MFA process at our school last year
in grades 3 and 4 as part of a federal grant.
Within a brief 4 week period, it was evident that this initiative would
change the way the grade level teachers looked at data and provided instruction
and intervention. Through this, we redesigned our PLCs, administered PRE- POST-
and formative assessments, monitored academic achievement with a micro-feedback
focus and used live data to drive instruction.
The teachers saw great results in student achievement (soaring levels of
proficiency on the place value and fractions progressions). Additionally, our students were excited to
see the immediate results when presented in graph form—and excitement for
learning Math increased overnight.
Seeing immediate results, teachers are committed to the effective MFA
practices guided through the non-negotiables.
Stay tuned. We’re investing in
this process as a central component of our work. Our achievement outcomes are destined to
progress in ways not seen before.”