Insight 101: Formative Assessment

Updated 4 days ago by Sarah

Formative assessment is your ongoing, day-to-day monitoring of pupils' learning. The goal is to monitor learning in a way that generates regular feedback, which can be used to inform teaching and learning.

Good formative assessment ranges from the probing question put to a pupil as they think something through; quick recap questions at the opening of a lesson; scrutiny of the natural work of pupils; right through to formal tests...

Formative assessment is intended to inform teaching and learning. There is no intrinsic value in recording formative assessment; what matters is that it is acted on.

Final report of the Commission on Assessment without Levels (p.5-6)

Ideally, your formative assessment should be a low stakes way of determining what your pupils can and can't do, so you can help them identify what their strengths are and what they need to work on. This type of assessment should enable you to spot and address problem areas quickly.

An Introduction to Formative Assessment in Insight

You don't have to record formative assessments in a tracking system, but most schools find it useful to have a centralised record of what pupils can and can't do.

In Insight, you can do this by making assessments against objective statements, or what you might think of as KPIs, targets, criteria or learning outcomes.

Your formative assessment should go hand-in-hand with your curriculum and how you teach it, so you can completely customise your objectives in Insight. You can use an entirely bespoke set of statements, or start with a pre-loaded bank of KPIs and adjust them to suit.

By default, you can make four assessments against your objectives:

The number and terminology of these assessments can be customised to fit your school's assessment policy.

As you start recording assessments, visual overviews will give you immediate feedback on how pupils are doing and how well a group has grasped a particular objective.

Sorting options are also available to help you identify strengths and problem areas.

Insight can also show summary data points, to give you a snapshot of how pupils are doing. By default, Insight shows each pupil's Average Depth and % Secured, which tell you their average for all assessments made in the year so far, and how many of the year's objectives they've secured:

There are various types of summary available, so these can be changed (or turned off completely) to give you the feedback that you find most helpful for informing teaching and learning.

If you're one of the many schools who have pupils working below (or above) their year group, it's straightforward to look at and assess the objectives from any year. Gaps in learning are easy to spot, and you can see instantly if a teacher has judged a pupil to be working out of year:

Further Reading

Next Fundamentals Guide:


How did we do?