In FaSMEd, formative assessment is conceived as:
“the process used by teachers and students to recognize and respond to student learning in order to enhance that learning during the learning” (Bell & Cowie, 2001, p.540).
Formative assessment has more recently been referred to as assessment for learning in contrast to summative assessment which is referred to as assessment of learning.
Teachers and students gather information about students’ current levels of understanding and use this to decide what to do next. As such, “assessment can be considered formative only if it results in action by the teacher and students to enhance student learning.” (Bell & Cowie 2001, p.539).
Formative assessment can take place at any stage of teaching, such as, for example, during a whole-class introduction or individual or group work. Formative assessment can be done not only by the teacher but also by students themselves and by their peers.