Idaho Formative Assessment Program Project Cohort II Beginning, Seeking Applicants

James Popham is coming to Idaho! As part of the Idaho Formative Assessment Program Project, Popham will speak to Idaho educators about the importance of formative assessment in the kick-off event June 10th in Boise. From eastern Oregon, where Popham was a classroom teacher of English and Social Studies, to the national stage, he has become a leader in the assessment arena focusing most often on what teachers need to know and do in the classroom to enhance instruction with sound assessment practices. James Popham has written numerous books on assessment including, Classroom Assessment: What Teachers Need to Know, now in its 7th edition.

With the Digital Library due to be released next month, there is a renewed interest in formative assessment as part of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System. While some think of formative as items or tests, it is actually a process that involves four important attributes: clarify intended learning, elicit evidence, interpret evidence, and act on evidence. When used together, these attributes have shown improvement in student achievement. The following video goes into greater explanation of these attributes:

Cohort II of the Idaho ‘Project’ is currently open to districts seeking a deep dive into strengthening formative assessment practice with job-embedded professional development. Letters of intent to participate are due May 8th. The content, developed by Margaret Heritage and the North-Central Comprehensive Center at Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL), is rich, current and provides an easy to use, yet flexible structure for implementation. Modules in the program focus on learning progressions, goals, success criteria, eliciting and interpreting evidence, as well as creating a culture of learning in which students build confidence, feel safe, motivated to learn, and use metacognition, an important 21st Century Learning skill. This project will allow integration with other professional development on core standards and Response to Intervention (RTI)/Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). We also include Schoolnet in one of the modules and show how to use the assessment component for formative assessment prompts, questioning, tasks and projects.

Cohort II districts begin the project with the June kick-off event. Current districts in the project will continue to participate during the 2014-2015 school year.

“As a result of their involvement, teachers have been thoughtfully incorporating formative assessments to a greater extent and have broadened their view of formative assessment as a means to guide instruction. Teachers are viewing student work through a new lens and are looking for evidence of learning as a guide for instruction and future learning. We want to thank the SDE for this opportunity and look forward to another year in the project.” Lori Craney, Principal, Indian Hills Elementary, Pocatello/Chubbuck School District.

Those interested in more information about the Idaho Formative Assessment Project should contact Nancy Thomas Price, Coordinator of Formative and Interim Assessment at or 208-332-6988.