Demonstration Teachers Contribute to New Book on Formative Assessment

Inquiry based lessons by UCLA Lab School Demonstration Teachers Olivia Lozano and Christopher Wilson are featured in the new book Formative Assessment in the Disciplines: Framing a Continuum of Professional Learning, by Margaret Heritage (UCLA Lab School Principal 1994-2002) and E. Caroline Wylie.

Formative assessment is the ongoing process of collecting information about what students know or don’t know, and adjusting instruction to meet their needs. Different from giving tests or quizzes only at the end of a lesson, it allows for re-teaching what students don’t know or for providing greater challenge when they’re ready for more. It can help teachers move children toward complex and critical thinking by looking closely at students’ progress and building on their understanding.

“Contributing to this book meshed well with the research we have been doing on documentation and formative assessment at UCLA Lab School for the past three years,” said Wilson. “This was a great opportunity to apply that work and share it with other educators. It was also gratifying to be able to share some of the inquiry work our students are doing.”

The book explores how formative assessment is embedded in learning in mathematics, science, English language arts, and social studies. Through real-life classroom vignettes, the authors show how teachers develop and hone their knowledge and skills assessment over different phases of professional expertise.

The vignette from Wilson’s class, for example, paints a picture of how he and his Intermediate Level students (equivalent of third and fourth grades) explored the universal idea of “Waves of Change” to address C3 Social Science Standards and the California History Social Science Framework. It includes guiding questions and a discussion of primary sources that addresses the ideas of change, movement, patterns, perspectives and connection.

Formative Assessment in the Disciplines is available through Harvard Education Press and major retailers.