Formative assessment is an ongoing cycle. It gives you valuable insight into how pupils learn and the many ways you can help them reach their goals. Improving outcomes would be impossible without it. So what steps can you take to put formative assessment at the heart of teaching and learning, right across your school?

These top tips will streamline your workload, open up new conversations and give your formative assessment maximum impact!


  1. Do it in the classroom
    Assessment should be something that embeds seamlessly into the process of learning, rather than an extra task on the ‘to do’ list. Assessing children in the classroom while they learn can have a direct and immediate impact. It will also save you time, as you won’t be putting off assessment until later!
  2. Use technology
    Recording assessment on tablets and desktop computers is much faster than filling out paper forms. You can save paper, and save time. Technology will also give you more options for recording and storing evidence, and makes it easier to share your assessments with others.
  3. Use a framework to ensure progress
    A clear framework will make it easier for you to see each child’s next steps, and to set appropriate targets. Curricular targets can then be set to move pupils on in their learning as opposed to setting a general target score.
  4. Track pupil progress
    Done regularly, this will highlight gaps in learning and pupils who are falling behind as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to track and compare groups of children who have similar needs or who are vulnerable. This will help you to plan interventions and target your lesson plans.
  5. Match it to your curriculum
    Formative assessment is about helping you to teach, and pupils to learn. So only assess the things that tell you something useful. The most relevant formative assessment will highlight the areas of your curriculum that are strong, and those that need more coverage or resources.
  6. Record evidence
    Evidence is important to back up your judgements and to share for moderation purposes. This could include examples of pupils’ work, photos, videos and sound recordings. Parents also love to see their child’s achievements, so multi-media evidence is a great way to engage them.
  7. Be clear on your progress measures
    Do all of your staff agree on what ‘on track’ and ‘exceeding’ mean? Making sure that there is shared understanding helps maintain smooth progression between year groups. Regular moderation that’s backed up with evidence will help.
  8. Make it easy to share
    There are many people who might ask to see your formative assessment alongside your summative data: Ofsted, Senior Leaders, Governors and Local Authority. Would you be able to find and show them what they’re looking for quickly and easily? This is another area where using technology may help.
  9. Communicate with pupils
    Do your pupils understand what’s expected from them and how they can achieve it? Giving children very clear descriptions of their next steps will help to motivate them along the way. These descriptions could be linked to specific learning resources that support each goal.
  10. Link formative assessment to everything you do
    Your formative assessment will have maximum impact across the school if you can link all of these ten tips together. A good tracker should help you do this. Classroom Monitor is an online system that makes it easy to record formative assessment, make sense of the data, and gives you perfect reports to share. Find out more here. Contact us for a free consultation.