Education Endowment Foundation:Embedding Formative Assessment

Embedding Formative Assessment

Implementation cost
Evidence strength
Impact (months)
Independent Evaluator
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A project to test a professional development programme, which enables schools to embed formative assessment practices.
Pupils: 25000 Schools: 140 Grant: £489,602
Key Stage: 1 Duration: 3 year(s) 3 month(s) Type of Trial: Effectiveness Trial
Completed Jul 2018

Embedding Formative Assessment is a professional development programme which aims to improve pupil outcomes by embedding the use of formative assessment strategies across a school. Schools receive detailed resource packs to run monthly workshops, known as Teacher Learning Communities, and teachers conduct structured peer observations focusing on the use of formative assessment strategies.

The programme builds on existing evidence that formative assessment can improve students’ learning. Many schools already prioritise formative assessment, but often report that it can be challenging to implement. EEF funded this evaluation as it offers a scalable approach to supporting schools to deliver the approach.

Students in the Embedding Formative Assessment schools made the equivalent of two months’ additional progress, with attainment measured using Attainment 8 GCSE scores. This result has a very high security rating.

The headline finding, combined with further analyses and the implementation and process evaluation, provides good evidence of the effectiveness of Embedding Formative Assessment. EEF will now explore how to support more schools to use the programme.

  1. Students in the Embedding Formative Assessment schools made the equivalent of two additional months’ progress in their Attainment 8 GCSE score, using the standard EEF conversion from pupil scores to months progress. This result has a very high security rating.
  2. The project found no evidence that Embedding Formative Assessment improved English or Maths GCSE attainment specifically.
  3. The additional progress made by children in the lowest third for prior attainment was greater than that made by children in the highest third. These results are less robust and have a lower security rating than the overall findings because of the smaller number of pupils.
  4. Teachers were positive about the Teacher Learning Communities. They felt that these improved their practice by allowing valuable dialogue between teachers, and encouraged experimentation with formative assessment strategies.
  5. The process evaluation indicated it may take more time for improvements in teaching practices and pupil learning strategies to feed fully into pupil attainment. Many teachers thought that younger students were more receptive to the intervention than their older and more exam-minded peers.
ImpactThe size of the difference between pupils in this trial and other pupils
SecurityHow confident are we in this result?
Attainment 8
Months' progress
Attainment 8 (FSM)
Months' progress