Using Formative Assessment to Close Achievement Gaps

Scalable strategies to meet every math learner where they are

Increasingly, education experts, researchers, and even newly enacted legislation support the use of ongoing, rigorous formative assessment to better engage students and provide critical insights into student thinking. The goal is to monitor progress toward a learning objective and collect feedback that can be used to improve instruction and student learning—in the moment. Effective math formative assessment provides continuous data that changes what both the teacher and the learner are doing.

According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), formative assessment “produces greater increases in student achievement and is cheaper than other efforts to boost achievement, including reducing class sizes and increasing teachers’ content knowledge.” And, now that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is law, district administrators are under increasing pressure to educate teachers and equip them with the resources they need to effectively collect and use formative data to help close achievement gaps. Innovative educational technology like DreamBox can help.

For example, DreamBox automatically collects more than 48,000 data points per student per hour, tracking each student interaction and evaluating the strategies used to solve problems. It then immediately adjusts the lesson and the level of difficulty, scaffolding, sequencing, number of hints, and pacing as appropriate.

Continuous, in-the-moment feedback like the kind DreamBox delivers empowers educators to intervene earlier in the learning process, rather than wait for a student to fail. This preventive, data-driven approach to teaching helps educators personalize learning for each student, make better use of classroom time, and ultimately raise achievement for everyone.

If you’re an administrator looking to implement formative assessment strategies in your district, DreamBox has packaged our most popular resources on the topic—including a white paper, on-demand webinar, and infosheet—to help you get started. Access the Essential Assessment Toolkit for District Administrators now to get up to speed on the research and evidence behind today’s formative assessment initiatives, and to get a behind-the-scenes look at how DreamBox measures student proficiency against Common Core Standards.

Kristen Ramaley

Kristen Ramaley

Sr Marketing Manager at DreamBox Learning
Kristen is a strong believer in the idea that every student learns differently and has spent the past 8 years working in edtech exploring different approaches to teaching and learning. When she is not behind a computer engaging with educators, she can be found hiking in the mountain passes surrounding her native city of Seattle, or on her paddle board with her furry companion Isla.
Kristen Ramaley